A company must ensure it adopts transparent and credible recruitment programs to ensure it employs qualified and experienced employees. This essay examines how Rio Tinto (an Australian based mining company) manages its human resource section.
Human resource refers to all efforts (intellectual and manual) employed by people to ensure a production process is successful. People are drivers of change and other development aspects and this means their contributions to the success of a company cannot be ignored (Cleary 21). Human resource management refers to all deliberate steps taken to ensure a company has a robust human resource. These activities include recruiting, training, motivating and retaining workers.
Rio Tinto is an Australian multinational company that engages in mining of metals. This company was previously owned by the Spanish government until 1873 when a group of international investors purchased it. It has undergone various transformations including acquisitions and mergers and diversification of its products and services (Altman 11). This was a metal mining company but has now expanded its activities to include refining of ores (iron and bauxite).
A survey conducted in 2011 showed that this company has about 70,000 workers in its Australian and other subsidiary companies located in different parts of the world. In addition, its 2012 revenue index showed that it generates about $ 50.967 billion and its operating income was $1.153 billion in addition to generating $ 3.004 billion the same year.
However, this company is highly criticized by environmentalists for degrading the environment through its mining processes especially in its Grasberg mine located in Indonesia. Human right groups have also criticized this company regarding its attempts to stop workers from joining various unions (Russell 41). In addition, the company is ranked poorly in terms of working conditions and other social corporate responsibilities.
This company acknowledges the importance of recognizing and working with local communities to ensure it maximizes their abilities as workers and providers of basic resources like land and labor. The Aboriginal society is one of the marginalized groups in the world that face extinction due to modernization (Mathis 85). They have attracted a lot of global attention in various issues including land ownership. They have a very strong attachment to their ancestral land and this makes it necessary to approach any land related issue with a lot of caution.
This company relies on natural resources (mineral ores) as its basic raw material. Unfortunately, this resource is located in Australia in the region occupied by the Aboriginal community (Attorney 55). This means there must be an effective strategy to ensure the local community is not affected by the process of mining. This necessitated the need to have various stakeholders to ensure there is a smooth process of acquiring the resource from this local community.
Rio Tinto is the first stakeholder in this process since it is the initiator of all other activities. This company requires raw materials to enable it to run its operations. It has developed various plans to ensure its activities run smoothly. First, it has invested in machinery, human resource and finance to ensure it has all the requirements to conduct its operations (Noe 55). Secondly, the government also has a stake in the operations of this company to ensure that it abides by the rules set to regulate mining.
These rules include tax generation, environmental conservation, human resource management and compliance to legal business activities. In addition, the Australian government (local and national) ensures this company complies with all regulations meant to promote healthy business activities (Muller 25). The third stakeholder is the local community which comprises of the Aboriginals.
This community has a strong attachment with their ancestral lands and this means that the company must consult with all traditional leaders to ensure the local community understands and supports the mining process. Lastly, non governmental groups are also important in monitoring how this company contributes to progress human life and the society (Taylor 13). They ensure the company does not violate human rights or interfere with the environment.
Effects of Employment and Education Outcomes
This company faced a lot of local and international criticism because it ignored the local community regarding employment. Most employees came from other countries including Canada and this became a very serious challenge that affected this company. This put the managers at crossroads regarding offering jobs to the local population. The company required professionals to handle various processes (Gammage 43). However, there was a high illiteracy level among this population and this offered a serious challenge to this company.
International and local companies must ensure that the local population is given the first priority in terms of jobs. This is one of the legal corporate requirements that companies must fulfill before commencing their operations. Therefore, this company was forced to recruit people from the Aboriginal community to ensure the local population participates in various activities of this company.
However, there were various structural adjustments that were put in place to ensure this community becomes an important part of the company. The company established various programs to ensure all employees were qualified to handle various tasks. The first approach was to establish links with higher institutions of learning like universities where they sponsored Aboriginal students to pursue different courses.
It is necessary to note that this company offered various employment opportunities ranging from clerical to field jobs (Noe 67). In addition, it was forced to offer jobs that did not require experience or academic qualifications to accommodate the local population. This was an urgent measure taken to ensure the company absorbs the large number of unemployed people in the local community.
There was no time to train or educate the local population on various operation procedures since pressure was mounting on this company to offer immediate employment to the local population or close the company. The company had no alternative but to recruit those that were willing and ready to start working in various departments.
Moreover, it was forced to develop measures that will ensure these people were equipped with basic operational skills that were necessary in its operations (Stone 50). The formation of training programs was necessitated by the high level of illiteracy among the Aboriginals.
The company could not make use of their skills since they were neither educated nor experienced in industrial operations. People without work experience are offered trainee roles to ensure they learn while working at the company (Muller 27). This ensured the company accommodated most of the Aboriginals through its apprenticeship programs. In addition, it was forced to widen its human resource department especially regarding training its employees.
Even though, this company was forced to incur unnecessary expenses in recruiting and training the Aboriginals it managed to employ workers who had necessary skills to perform various roles (Perrault 78). There were short term challenges but this had no impacts on the future of this company.
Companies that train their employees have higher chances of improving their performance compared to those that hire workers because of experience. Rio Tinto managed to train its workers and impart them with necessary skills that were essential in managing various activities.
Importance of HR Functions on Indigenous Employment Programs
The human resource department plays significant roles in developing employment programs. This company has an active human resource department because the local community forms a significant portion of the work force. This department plays important roles in indigenous employment programs in the following ways.
First, it identifies positions that must be filled in various departments through conducting needs assessment tests (Hughes 54). These tests are usually done when a company expands its operations or when it experiences operational and managerial challenges. It can also be done to establish ways of enhancing employee performance. They can also be done when a company adopts new technology or when it decides to change its production processes.
Secondly, it develops recruitment procedures that help in selecting qualified candidates to fill the vacant positions announced. This is usually based on job descriptions that define the nature of work to be done and the skills required to perform these roles (Mathis 83).
However, this company offers this department limited choices regarding job description as a guide for conducting an effective recruitment program. The community offers this company limited choices regarding recruitment procedures (Armstrong 12). This has forced this company to employ workers without basing any consideration on their levels of education or work experience. Later, it must train them and ensure they gain relevant skills before they start working.
In addition, this department ensures that all recruits are taken through an elaborate orientation process to enable them to familiarize with the procedures and staff of this company. This is an important role of the human resource department to ensure the Aboriginals learn various processes involved in mining. In addition, it helps them to identify the roles played by different workers and the relationships between various sections.
Lastly, it develops programs that will ensure workers develop their skills while working and also widen their knowledge regarding this company. There are various programs developed to reward employees that are committed, hard working and responsible in their duties (Lane 17).
This includes increasing their salaries, promoting them to senior positions and sponsoring them to higher institutions of learning. The roles stated above helps this company to have an effective and value based work force since employees are offered training that is relevant to the operations of this company (Noe 69). The short term losses of these programs are less than the long term benefits accrued by having employees that have been trained to handle specific duties.
Human Resource and Strategic Challenges
All companies are exposed to different operational and managerial challenges that affect their operations. Mining is a risky investment and this means this company must have a very active and responsible human resource department. The greatest challenge is associated with providing good working conditions to employees working in sites. The company experiences significant challenges associated with accidents during mining. However, it has various insurance covers to safeguard its workers and investments against losses.
In addition, mining results in environmental pollution (noise, water, air and land) due to the methods used in various operations. This explains the presence of criticisms from environmental management groups and the local community regarding the role of this company in pollution (Mascarenhas 40).
Even though, it is practically impossible to eliminate pollution during mining this company has developed various corporate social responsibilities to ensure it shares its profits with the society. This includes offering employment, training and participating in community awareness programs.
The human resource department is the engine of an organization since it integrates all other production activities. An effective work force ensures all policies, objectives, goals, missions and visions are transferred from theory to practice. Human beings can develop very good plans to manage various issues.
However, there are various issues that determine the effectiveness of employees. Rio Tinto has managed to integrate its human resource department with the demands of the Australian government, Aboriginal community and other groups. This has enabled it to maintain a good public image and generate revenues from mining.
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