What is Human Resource Management (HRM)?


By: Site Engineer, Staff

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The main purpose of a personnel department must be to recruit staff of the right caliber and to keep them in employment subsequently. High labor turnover is bad in many ways and is expensive. The recruitment of the type of staff who will fill positions in the office can never be regarded as an easy affair. Much is spent on training the right type of staff for the specialized office work. All the same, management spends much on advertising and summing experts to interview prospective workers. It is not uncommon to see qualified staff as a result of training but the experience in the job may be lacking. All different sources of staff should be known and used, according to the kind of staff required.

Sources of Staff

  • Local offices of the Department of Employment (usually unskilled labor).
  • Youth Employment office (Careers Officers).
  • Professional institutions for qualified professional staff.
  • Personal callers and written applications.
  • Advertisements in local and national newspapers as well as trade and professional journals.
  • Use of previous applications when no vacancies existed.
  • Introduction by existing members of staff perhaps of friends and relatives (some firms are proud of having large numbers of the same family employed with them).


This usually takes place based on:

  • A written application (perhaps an application form).
  • An interview (to assess character and personality).
  • A test (to assess aptitude or working ability).
  • References (not required for all staff although applications may be asked for names of previous employers).

Often, too many staff are engaged on the strength of an interview, and while these have the all-important quality of assessing personality (the right kind of personality is required in all applicants), it is suggested that an occupational test which tests the ability of the applicant to do the job is most valuable. The test of whether good quality candidates are obtained, and insufficient numbers. The company’s whole personnel policy may be involved, for recruitment is facilitated by good policies of training, pay, and promotion.


To select the best out of the many qualified applicants for limited vacant positions management may resort to testing. Many kinds of tests can be used namely, Intelligent Test, Aptitude Test, Occupational Test, Psychological Test, and Medical Test.

  • Intelligent Test: Aims at measuring the mental and the reasoning ability of the applicant.
  • Aptitude Test: Aims at determining the like way an applicant can cope with the job he is hired to do.
  • Occupational Test: Aims at measuring the degree of proficiency in a given type of work.
  • Psychological Test: Aims at measuring a personality trait
  • Medical Test: Aims at determining the physical fitness of the applicant in the performance of the job. That is, where the job involves physical qualities it can only be known by medical tests.

Quality Rating

In deciding the applicant to be engaged the job itself has to be considered. The job has to be analyzed in terms of what has to be done. Quality rating a means of defining jobs in terms of the human characteristics or qualities necessary; the work can be considered under technical, physical/personal, intellectual, emotional and volitional characteristics.

While interviewing applicants the necessary qualities are used in assessing the applicants. However, we cannot regard quality rating as being correct because some of the qualities can only best be assessed when the worker has started work and is watched closely by the immediate superior. However, the quality rating is best adopted when the applicants are interviewed by members of aboard. This makes for uniform assessment. When an applicant leaves the interview room, marks awarded by members are compared.

The quality rating can still be used for the appraisal of the serving staff. It reveals the type of training that is needed for a worker’s efficiency-trying to improve his personal qualities. Also, it can be used in recording the progress of the worker while on the job.

The format below can be used in quality rating:

Technical Qualities

The following should be considered and scored.

  • Job experience
  • Familiarity with the work
  • Accounting etc
  • Education received
  • Knowledge of the business organization
  • Management/administration

Physical/Personal Qualities

  • Physical health and strength
  • Appearance-whether pleasing
  • Hearting and sight
  • Speech i.e. whether he can communicate extensively well
  • Neatness
  • Ability to use his hands.

Intellectual Qualities

  • Ability to concentrate on the matter in hand
  • Memory or ability to remember accurately
  • Mental alertness
  • Interest in the surrounding
  • Initiative and the ability to create new ideas or arrange new ideas

Emotional Qualities

  • Alertness and liveliness
  • Sensitivity to outside impressions
  • Acceptability to be able to mix with others and get along with them

Volitional Qualities

In assessing the candidate for all the above-enumerated qualities, the following ratings could be used:

  • Much above average
  • Above average
  • Average
  • Below average
  • Much below average.


This means bringing the job seeker before a panel of experts to determine through questioning whether he is suitable for the post or not. This method seems to be the most important means of selecting workers, it is always better for the interviewers to plan for the interview quite in advance since the time spent with the job seeker is rather short.

Having employed the available means of letting people know of existing vacant posts, the management receives an application. Each application is considered on its merit to determine whether the applicant qualifies for an interview or not. The applicants are short-listed for an interview if they so qualify. Before applicants are shortlisted the following procedure may be adopted. Firstly, a decision about whether the man or woman wanted is taken. Secondly, applications of those outside the desired age and experience are eliminated. Thirdly, the style adopted in writing the application is considered and lastly the shortlisting is made, it may be advisable to invite all that applied for a job if the number is small. All the same, it is always good to write to thank all applicants not selected for an interview after the positions might have been filled.

When conducting the interview many things must be taken into consideration. The interviewers must decide on what to know from the applicant. The agreement must be reached by the panel of interviewers on the method of assessing applicants. Marks are awarded to each applicant depending on how he answers questions put to him/her. The interviewer is advised not to record in the presence of the applicant the marks he is awarded as this may affect his/her disposition in the interview room.

The duration of an interview must be determined before an applicant is called in. Depending on the level the interview is being considered for, the time spent with him should not be too long. Only in senior appointments should interview last more than half an hour and not more than one hour as many experts are supposed to interview him.

The interview room must be well prepared for the purpose. The room should be well lit and attractive so that candidates are at ease. As much as possible, the interview should be conducted in a room where telephone calls will not disturb the candidates. Each candidate should be provided with a comfortable chair which is on a level with those of the members of the panel conducting the interview.

In conducting the interview friendliness should be combined with a business-like approach. It should be borne in mind that the interview is not meant to show how knowledgeable the manager is but to ascertain the suitability of the candidates. Bearing this in mind questions asked would enable the candidates to express themselves at length and freely too.

While the interviewers want to learn about the candidates, the candidates also want to learn about the job and the executive or manager. Efforts should be made to let the candidates know about the work they want to do, for it is never appreciated when a worker is employed only to be seen leaving because of some dissatisfaction. In short, the candidates should be told about the job conditions of service and promotional prospects. They should feel free to ask questions at any point at all.

Result of Interview

When the interview has come to an end, notes and scores made by the interviewers are compared. From these, the candidates to be engaged are selected, bearing in mind their personalities, abilities to do the job and disposition during the interview. The interviewers must be convinced that those selected are those that can fit in happily in the employment. Finally, the selected candidates are written and appointed.

Job Grading

Before staff can be successfully placed in the organization, it is necessary to know the different jobs and the personal requirements of those jobs (job analysis). To this end, many firms have found it to be of great advantage to introduce a system, of-job-grading. One of the biggest accessory manufacturers in the car industry claimed in the late 1960s to have eighty-five percent of its employees covered by its job grading scheme, which entails the assessment of every job (not of worker) and the awarding of a weighted number of points to the following common factors:

  • Skill: Education and experience
  • Responsibility: Initiative, dependability, and accuracy, cost responsibility.
  • Mental Requirements: Planning and coordinating; cooperation and control.
  • Physical Requirements: mental fatigue; physical fatigue,
  • Working conditions.

Advantages of Job Grading

  • All jobs of equal responsibility and importance in all departments are put on the same footing (avoids wage disputes).
  • Ensures that a fair wage or salary is paid for each job, to commensurate with duties and responsibilities.
  • Ensures that a wage level at least is as good as those of other competing employers are paid.
  • Helps in the recruitment of staff as well as with subsequent training and promotion.


Training has been described as the adapting or molding of a person to increase his fitness for a specific activity. The full meaning of training is more than just education which is concerned with imparting knowledge; because training involves experience in doing a job as well as education.

Training is important, because:

  • It assists the recruitment of staff and ensures a better quality of the applicant. It enhances the reputation of the firm.
  • It improves the morale of the staff.
  • It increases loyalty and adaptability of staff.
  • It leads to greater efficiency of the whole concern.
  • A decreased labor turnover means saving in the costs of recruitment and of the training staff.

Kinds of Training

A company should give attention to the training of its entire staff, according to requirements:

  • Induction Training: For new staff, to ensure they have the right impression of the concern (particularly important for school-leavers), and to improve their attitude towards the employer.
  • Job Training: Aimed at teaching the technical details of a particular task so that correct working methods are used and so that workers become efficient in the shortest time.
  • Supervisory Training: Concerned with the preparation of workers for the control of others, so that management policy can be properly interpreted and implemented. (A most important aspect of training, and one not generally given sufficient attention.)
  • Management Training: The planned training of staff to take up managerial positions which may fall vacant in the future.
  • Executive Development: The training in management techniques and the development of personal abilities to existing members of management.

Methods of Training

Methods will vary according to the kind of training involved.

  • Induction: By internal lectures, films, tours of the factory.
  • Job Training: By internal company run schools, or at technical colleges, perhaps by part-time or by the supervisors.
  • Supervisory Training: By training within industry, that is, courses run by the Training Centers at the company premises (this consists of the use of discussions and case study methods more than formal lecturing).
  • Management Training: By part-time or by sandwich courses, or by subsidized evening study for examinations for one of the professional qualifications.
  • Executive Management: By part-time or by sandwich courses or by subsidized evening study for examinations for one of the professional qualifications.
  • Executive Development: By short residential courses at special management colleges or certain technical colleges.

Training Policy

Essentials of a good training policy are:

  • All staff should have the opportunity for training appropriate to their jobs and positions.
  • Training should aim not only at improving workers in their present jobs but in preparing them for higher posts in the future.
  • The best methods should be chosen if training is to be effective half-hearted training can be bad for morale.
  • The right number of staff should be trained for promotion- too many trained staff for higher posts will mean a high labor turnover but too few wills means a death of staff fitted for promotion.
  • Training should be related to promotion policy it is useless training staff and then appointing outside applicants to the higher posts.
  • The cost of training should be related to the company’s finances.
  • Training should be related to the recruitment of staff to salaries and overall personnel policy. If the promotion cannot be offered to those fitted for promotion, some other rewards might be given instead.

Problems of Recruitment and Training

These are:

  • To find individuals most suited for the work required of them.
  • Not to recruit those of too great ability (it is impossible to promote all staff), nor too little ability which may lead to inefficiency.
  • Having recruited the staff, to offer means of inducing them to stay in the business and reduce labor turnover.
  • To maintain good morale often dependent on choosing a staff of good personality.
  • To dismiss employees subsequently found not to be of the required caliber.
  • Having recruited staff, to assess their potential ability and to make the best use of it in the company’s interests.
  • To provide training for the right staff, in the right proportions.

Conditions of Service

It is advisable to give every employee 3 brochures or another statement of the company’s conditions of service, and ideally, to get them to sign that they accept employment on those conditions.

Such booklet will not only fix conditions of the contract of service but will also give the new employee information about welfare training, promotion, etc., the information contained in such a book will include:

  • Tea breaks and canteen facilities.
  • Hours of work including starting and finishing times.
  • Time recording procedure.
  • Method of payment (particularly important if bonus schemes used).
  • Pay during sickness and holidays (if any).
  • Details of pension schemes and eligibility.
  • Disciplinary offenses and punishments.
  • Deductions for lateness.
  • Overall and tool facilities.
  • First aid and fire precautions.


As an aspect of personnel, promotion should be linked to recruitment, training and wages and salary policies.

Promotion is important because it can ensure continuity of management, and is probably the greatest of incentives to workers.

  • The ability should regularly assess using regular staff reporting and assessment of a worker’s progress while he is working. Promotion should also be offered as an incentive to those who qualify or who train themselves or take the opportunity of training offered for higher posts.
  • Promotion should not be on seniority or length of service alone; ability can mean technical ability, but for many positions, some managerial ability and qualities of leadership are also essential, e.g. supervisory posts.
  • Good promotion policy is probably one based on internal promotion whenever possible. Certain posts requiring special skills and knowledge may have to be filled by bringing in outside candidates, but if training policy is sound and if there is good recruitment, then the promotion of existing staff should always be possible.
  • The ability should be regularly assessed using regular staff reporting and assessment of a worker’s progress while he is working. Promotion should also be offered as an incentive to those who qualify or who train themselves or take the opportunity of training offered for higher posts.

Promotion or External Appointment

Employers must weigh at the relative advantages of each method.

Advantages of Internal Promotion

  • Reduces labor turnover.
  • Increase staff morale.
  • Recognizes the value of experience in the business and length of service.
  • Existing employees are known – their faults as well as their virtues.

Advantages of External Appointment

  • Brings in a fresh viewpoint on business problems.
  • Keeps workers “on their toes” and encourages them to study and train for promotion.
  • It is a method of appointing the best person for the job.
  • Gives an opportunity of engaging qualified and specialized men who need the minimum of training.


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