Pundits and gurus of HR articulate many theories of how HRM must perform and position itself within the organisation. The developments of the HR field in Sri Lanka have been such that, progress has been most encouraging. Yet, if one were to look at the tapestry of work life in Sri Lanka, many organisations need a lot of support in developing HR practices.
Buzz words such as HR audits and health checks are commonly used within the industry, yet rarely used within organisation. The agenda of an organisation oscillates depending on the crucial matters of the day and often negates to instil the important values and practices.
For example, in certain industries that have a mammoth growth, the HR departments are preoccupied with recruitment; others that have union issues are preoccupied with IR related activities; and others which are transforming the business are more interested in training and development.
As much as this is totally acceptable, if one fails to ask fundamental questions like ‘does the company have a procedure for recognising and developing talent?’ or ‘is the skill inventory of the staff updated?’ then the organisation does not have a proper HR system in place.
The inventory of questions given below is a simple test to know how far off we are in installing a proper HR system. While all organisations may not need every item, it’s worth having a look at or pondering on what’s next to do.
The questions are starting blocks and must be customised to suit the size and type of the industry. The questions are simple and only provide a support for the HR professionals to re-visit one’s processes to see if there is anything they can do to help the organisation grow or perform better.
1. How does the company define issues in the following categories?
1.1 Assesses changes in the internal and external environment.
1.2 Define issues in the relevant business terms in relation to HR management.
1.3 Address issues of the business by HR strategy alignment.
2. How does the company implement a shared vision concept?
3. How is the HR strategy of the business linked to the business strategy?
4. Articulate the HR strategy in relation to the corporate plan.
1. What are the staffing issues the organisation may have?
2. What are the formal methods used to look after the resourcing of the organisation?
3. Outline the process and planning.
4. How does one maintain the ‘talent pool’ in the organisation, e.g. competency matrix?
5. Outline the recruiting and selection methodology.
1. Does the organisation have a performance management system?
2. How does the organisation ensure empowerment of its staff – e.g. cascading KPIs that are measured?
3. Are the job descriptions seen by the staff as being relevant and useful?
4. What are the objectives of your performance evaluation scheme, e.g. pay for performance?
5. What is the career management policy of the organisation - e.g. is it documented and followed?
1. Does the organisation practice a performance based pay system? If not, do you think changing a fixed pay system encourages performance better?
2. Does the incentive scheme based pay encourage the people more than the performance based pay?
3. How does one pay bonuses?
4. What are the incentive schemes at the plant?
5. What competitive advantage does one have at the zone in terms of compensation and its management?
Learning and development
1. Does the organisation have a formal succession planning process?
2. Does the company carry a skill inventory for at least the critical skills?
3. What steps have you taken to maintain and develop the managerial skills within the company?
4. Does the organisation have a formal training and development plan through a TNA (training needs analysis)?
5. Does the organisation believe in soft skill training?
Effective employee relations
1. What are the employee communications systems available at the company?
2. How can you demonstrate employee participation/ involvement in the company?
3. How many employee suggestions have been formally adopted within the organisation in the last six months?
4. The does organisation have polices pertaining to employee relations.
5. Has the organisation appointed an employee relationship officer? What are his/her duties?
Effective industrial relations
1. Does the organisation carryout collective bargaining?
2. Does the organisation have a formal disciplinary procedure? Does it work – e.g. when was the last time the company employed its services?
3. Does the organisation have a formal grievance procedure?
4. How would you demonstrate a participative approach to people management within the firm?
5. How many industrial relations issues would you have in a given quarter - e.g. labour cases?
1. Does the organisation have a health and safety procedure? Who audits the premises on and checks on the procedures?
2. Does the organising have an employee welfare benefit scheme within the organisation?
3. Does the origination have recreation or sports facility?
4. How does the organisation check on food/canteen quality?
5. Does the canteen maintain minimum standard – e.g. HACCP?
HR information system
1. Does the organisation use IT as a strategy in HR management?
2. Does the organisation conduct re-engineering processes in the context of a HR information system?
3. In what manner have you customised HR activities through software applications?
Many more categories and areas for discussion can be formulated. The end intention is for organisation to begin to examine their processes and start to develop their HR practices.
(The writer – B.Bus (Mgt) (HRM), MBA, MAHRP, NLP Master Practitioner, BELBIN – is Immediate Past President and EXCO Member of the Association of Human Resource Professionals.)