Human resource management has undergone numerous changes over the last couple of years in terms of its application, development, and a role in organizational success. Various factors have influenced its development as an organizational concept and a scholarly discipline.
Organizational leaders are having a hard time managing human resources in the 21st Century due to factors such as the high rate of globalization, technological advancements, and increased competition due to innovation (Goldsmith, 2003).
Such factors have influenced the functions of human resource management in the 21st Century because organizations deal with a more dynamic workforce, workplace environment, organizational structure, and new change management strategies.
Organizations are undergoing a transition phase that has increased pressure on leaders to ensure effective human resource management that matches the demand for change. The pressure endured by organizational leaders also stems from the acknowledgment that employees form part of an organization’s resources and thus deserve better treatment.
Human resource management in the 21st Century appreciates the value of employees and the role they play in giving an organization a competitive advantage in the market (Goldsmith, 2003). The demands of the contemporary workforce are higher and more costly, thus organizations need to improve their operational strategies in order to meet those demands and keep their workforce intact for a long time.
Human resource management in the 21st Century presents many challenges and opportunities to organizations. Organizational leaders ought to be aggressive and open-minded in order to counter challenges and exploit opportunities fully (Goldsmith, 2003). This report will discuss the concept of human resource management in the 21st century by describing its current trends and future prospects.
Studies have shown that strategic human resource management plays a crucial role in providing organizations with competitive advantage in the market. However, with current rate of technological development, globalization, and cultural transformation, organizations should develop and improve human resource management process.
I chose this topic because the 21st Century has introduced new dynamics in organizational and human resource development that are likely to impact on human resource management within organizations (Goldsmith, 2003). By increasing knowledge on this topic, I hope to gain understanding with regard to traditional and contemporary approaches to human resource management.
In addition, I also want to understand various challenges and opportunities that the contemporary approach to human resource management will bring to organizations. Human resource management experts argue that organizations should emphasize improvement of human assets over fixed assets.
The reason for this is that developments witnessed in the 21st Century have made it easier for organizations to exploit human capital. Over the last couple of years, numerous trends related to the contemporary approach to human resource management have emerged (Goldsmith, 2003).
Trends in human resource management in the 21st Century
In the 21st Century, strategic human resource management remains the key element to attainment of organizational success. It has taken a general direction towards increasing the value of employees to an organization. In addition, it has contributed to the development of better strategies for attracting and retaining people within organizations.
One of the main objectives of human resource management is to ensure quantifiable return on investments involved in building a workforce (Goldsmith, 2003). As organizational leaders strive to achieve this objective, eight notable trends have emerged among various organizations. The first trend has developed along the challenge of organizations yearning to be employers of choice.
This is a current trend because the inception of the human resource management concept has prompted organizations to apply various strategies in a bid to attract skilled and experienced individuals into their workforce.
The human resource department should apply effective strategies that meet the demands of employees. Proper management of employee welfare helps organizations to attract qualified people into their workforce and thus maintain its competitiveness.
The second trend involves the desire by organizations to outdo each other in creating the most skilled workforce (Goldsmith, 2003). This trend involves another challenge faced by the human resource department by using the organizational culture to attract and retain the most skillful individuals in the workforce. Employee retention ranks among the top objectives of human resource management.
The reason for this is that organizations often invest numerous resources in increasing the capacity of their employees through training. Employees should utilize their knowledge after training to help their organizations in achieving success. On the other hand, organizations should ensure that all employee demands are met in order to reduce the turnover rate. This is also a current trend because organizations train their employees all the time.
Another trend in human resource management involves the need for organizations to mentor leaders through participation and the use of technology (Goldsmith, 2003). Most of the people entering the job market in the 21st century have a lot of information and knowledge to share with organizations. Therefore, human resource managers are finding it a challenge not to accommodate them when they can add value to the decision-making process.
This trend focuses more on the future than the present. As more technological advancements are anticipated in the future, human resource departments are preparing themselves by making future-oriented development strategies.
Another human resource trend that has emerged in the 21st Century is the acknowledgment of employees as assets that can generate profit (Goldsmith, 2003). For a very long time, human resource management did not appreciate employees with regard to their value in the attainment of organizational success. In the 21st Century, human assets are the difference between successful and unsuccessful organizations.
Organizational leaders should develop strategies that prioritize the demands and happiness of their employees. Studies have shown that a happy and satisfied workforce plays a crucial role in organizational stability, prolonged success, and developing a competitive advantage. Thinking on a global scale while complying with demands in the local market has also emerged as a trend in regard to human resource management.
Organizational challenges and demands of the 21st Century are different (Goldsmith, 2003). Organizations are finding the need to expand their thinking scope in terms of developing strategies that will help their employees raise their organizations to international standards.
Another emerging human resource management trend involves the need for organizations to ensure high flexibility and adaptability with the 21st Century dynamics of organizational success. Human resource management should ensure that employees in an organization have an open-minded approach in their work (Goldsmith, 2003). This allows them to be highly flexible in case the need for more work arises as a way of gaining competitive advantage.
Human resource management should allow organizations to improve their capacity to adapt to change in an effective manner. It is unprofessional for organizational leaders to develop policies and fail to implement them on time. This is very important in helping organizations manage important elements such as a change in a manner that does not compromise their stability, competitiveness, and employee retention strategies.
Other notable trends that have emerged include creating teams with a value of business partners and embracing technology as the main element for change in achieving human resource management objectives (Goldsmith, 2003).
Human resource management since inception
Human resource management has undergone a number of changes that have culminated into the present model of the 21st Century. Initially, human resource managers were referred to as personnel managers. This was back in the mid-1970s, when technological advancements were in their initial stages.
Appointment into managerial positions was dependent on one’s ability to relate with others. Individuals with outgoing personalities would easily qualify for positions of operational managers even when they lacked essential leadership skills and competencies. People believed that managing people was easier compared to other managerial jobs in an organization (Goldsmith, 2003).
The main work of personnel managers was to maintain records on the number of people enlisted to work for an organization, their duties, and compensation packages. Personnel managers were also involved in the recruitment and selection of employees.
Personnel managers also evaluated employees on their performances in relation to achieving organizational goals. This means that the role of the human resource department was limited in terms of influencing the decision-making process for organizational processes.
The human resource department was considered as one of the cost centers in an organization because it was not generating any revenue. This perception of human resource management influenced the value of employees to an organization because they were considered a liability (Goldsmith, 2003). Many organizations have invested most of their resources in acquiring fixed assets and ignored the importance of having a stable human asset base.
Human resource management in the 21st Century
Fast forward into the 21st century and the concept of human resource management has had numerous changes. There is a lot of professionalism in the contemporary application of human resource management in terms of dealing with employee welfare and engaging them in organizational processes. Studies have also shown that there is a better implementation of the recruitment and selection process.
Unlike in the past, human resource management in the 21st Century entails employees working in teams and involving themselves in the decision-making process (Goldsmith, 2003). The 21st Century welcomed a new era that values employees and acknowledges them for their contribution to organizational success.
Human resource management in the 21st Century is employee driven because organizations have realized the value of having a happy and satisfied workforce. Human resource departments in organizations have transformed from being cost centers into productivity hubs.
One of the main challenges faced by organizational leaders in the contemporary business environment is the need to remain highly competitive and successful for as long as possible (Goldsmith, 2003). Human resource management in the 21st Century focuses a lot on increasing the productivity of an organization by providing employees with the best working conditions. Good workplace environment enables employees to give their maximum output.
Achieving maximum productivity is very important for the success of human resource management in the 21st Century. Achieving maximum productivity entails two elements of human resource management. The two elements are efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency refers to the ratio of the output to the input of any system. This element seeks to ensure that all the things are done in an organization apply in the right manner.
On the other hand, effectiveness refers to the quality of being able to bring about a product (Goldsmith, 2003). This element focuses on ensuring that an organization focuses on doing the right things in order to reduce the cost of production. Human resources in an organization play a crucial role in improving its efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity in the end.
The level of technological advancements in the 21st Century has helped in increasing the productivity of organizations. Studies have shown that efficiency and effectiveness in an organization help to increase productivity. Human resource managers in the contemporary business environment are using technology to increase their productivity.
Technology helps to compliment the effectiveness and efficiency of an organization’s workforce (Goldsmith, 2003). Technological devices such as personal computers, smart phones, iPad, and tablets have made it easier for human resource managers to work from anywhere. This helps to increase productivity because managers have a chance to input more hours into their work even when they are not in the office.
Human resource managers should have the essential skills and competences for the effective use of technology. It will also ensure that their organizations embrace and adapt technology in an effective manner. One of the challenges that the human resource department experience in the 21st Century involves technology. Employees have to be trained on how to use various forms of technology in their work (Goldsmith, 2003).
Human resource management keeps on changing and organizations need to invest a lot in having a highly skilled workforce. In addition, human resource managers have the challenge to ensure that they retain their best employees by meeting their demands and matching their professional ambitions. It will also be very challenging for human resource managers in the 21st Century because the workforce will become more diverse as the world grows.
Diversity in the workforce is very good for organizational success and stability. It helps to boost an organization’s competitive ability as well as increasing its chances of achieving higher productivity (Goldsmith, 2003). This means that the role of the human resource departments in organizations will keep changing as the Century pushes on.
Studies have established that human resource management is more dynamic in the 21st Century compared to the mid-1970s. Organizations have had a transition from the traditional approach of managing human resources into a more strategic approach that values employees as organizational assets.
The 21st Century approach to human resource management focuses more on adding the value of employees by promoting their competences, skills, abilities, and job experience. The best way that organizations can cope with the challenges of human resource management in the 21st Century is by adapting an employee-oriented approach to strategic management (Goldsmith, 2003).
Organizations should adopt a more inclusive approach to human resource management that will allow employees to contribute towards organizational processes. In the past employees fulfilled only the duties and responsibilities under their job descriptions. However, human resource management in the 21st Century entails building a workforce capable of handling all organizational processes.
As the century progresses on, the role of human resource management in an organization will change to involve more responsibilities for employees. Therefore, organizations should prepare themselves for the shifting process by taking a number of essential steps. The steps should prepare the workforce for change as well as increase the ability of organizations to remain stable and competitive.
The first step is to ensure the provision of reliable and effective human resource leadership (Goldsmith, 2003). Effective leadership plays an important role in ensuring that organizations manage the transition phases of human resource management in the 21st Century in a successful way.
The leadership should reorient the expectations of employees over the next couple of years to involve an increased demand for diversity and increased competences. Other steps include delivering value through organizational processes, planning with an orientation towards the future, as well as ensuring creativity and flexibility.
Human resource management has a bright future in the 21st Century. This will depend on the ability of organizations to focus on rewarding and maintaining their employees (Goldsmith, 2003). The best way to reward employees is by giving them a good workplace environment, a good compensation package, as well as incentives and benefits.
Considering the concept of occupational health and safety can help organizational leaders in providing their employees with a good workplace environment. The best way to maintain employees apart from rewarding them is by matching their ambitions and adhering to the professional code of human resource management.
The focus of human resource management in the 21st Century should be to achieve organizational success through the workforce. Studies have also shown that organizations can increase productivity by investing in their workforce (Goldsmith, 2003).
The human resource department in an organization should apply effective strategies that will lower the rate of employee absenteeism and turnover in order to achieve prolonged success. Organizational leaders will also have to prepare themselves to deal with the challenge of handling high rates of interdependence in the workforce.
Since the 21st Century approach to human resource management promotes the spirit of teamwork, organizational departments are likely to have very close relations. Organizational leaders should also prepare themselves to manage a higher and quicker flow of information. The human resource department acts as the information bank for organizations in terms of getting information on the right individuals for an organization’s workforce.
It also feeds the other organizational departments with employee information. As an organization grows, the flow of information grows bigger on a daily basis (Goldsmith, 2003). The 21st Century will present organizations with numerous challenges and opportunities concerning the use of human resources to achieve success.
Human resource management has undergone numerous changes over the last couple of years in terms of its application, development, and role in organizational success. Human resource management in the 21st Century appreciates the value of employees and the role they play in giving an organization a competitive advantage. Over the last couple of years, a number of trends with regard to human resource management have emerged.
Human resource management in the 21st Century involves employees working in teams and getting involved in the decision-making process. This approach to human resource management focuses more on adding the value of employees by promoting their competences, skills, abilities, and job experience.
The 21st Century welcomed a new era that valuing employees and acknowledges their efforts towards achieving organizational success. Human resource management keeps on changing, and organizations need to invest a lot in having a highly skilled workforce. The 21st Century will present organizations with numerous challenges and opportunities regarding human resource management.
Goldsmith, M. (2003). Managing Human Resources in the 21st Century: From Core Concepts to Strategic Choice. New York: South-Western College Publishers.