Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Human Resource Management(For Batch of 2003 and Earlier) - 1

Q.1 a) What is the impact of globalization and liberalization on industries in our country?

Answer 1(a)

During the mid 1980s, the Congress Government headed by Rajiv Gandhi made a move to change the policies regarding business, licenses, and permits, as also its attitude towards multinational companies (MNCs) operating in India. However, it was only during the succeeding government of Narasimha Rao government that a strategy was actually formulated in this direction and marketed both in India and abroad. The strategy aimed to bring the Indian economy into the mainstream of the global economy, and at the same time allow a whiff of competition and growth to Indian business. This it was hoped would bring a new dimension to the concepts of quality, productivity, and growth.

In evitably, the winds of liberalization that swept through the nation opened a variable Pandora box, with far-reaching implications for hu7man resources management. It bought in a new era of technology, quality consciousness and competition which compelled Indian business to wake up from its somnambulism and reassess its assumptions for dealing with the complete-or-perish’ situation.

India has proven world that despite its chaotic political scenario, imbalance wealth distribution, redundant bureaucracy, past baggage of Nehruvian socialism, and its sundry other problem, it can implement sustainable economic restructuring in the world’s most populous democracy. India has the potential, but the strong economic performance of recent years requires continuing efforts to deepen it and make it work.

Since foreign entrants in India have distinct advantage in terms of state-of—art technology R&D.

Strong brand equity, Indian companies will be ringlet carefully quality system, capital and challenged to shape out. On the other hand, multinational companies (MNCs) have to settle down and be accepted by the domestic consumer, which is not always an easy process. Das gives guidelines to Indian companies for pursuing a winning strategy in the face of global competition.

The after math of liberalization and globalization has made Indian companies conscious of competition and quality and acquire a totally global mindset. According to Gurucharan Das they need to:

1. Focus on a single area of competence and not haplessly diversity
2. Initially concentrate on the domestic market and then leverage their economies of scable overseas
3. Be able to capitalize on global trade
4. Not ignore quality even when they are pursuing a low cost strategy
5. Be able to overcome their historic phobia for investing in product development.

Synergy between industry and government in an emerging country such as India is a major requirement. Several factors from which private enterprise was barred, till the recent past have been opened up. Simultaneously the domestic industry is reforming itself to meet the challenges of opportunity and competition from multinationals. The latter being a fresh entrant in Indian business has an advantage of designing its systems and procedure according to the challenged environment. Established Indian organizations however will have considerable baggage to carry, in terms of systems and also manpower.

Although India has significantly progressed due to the structural adjustment program, a lot remains to be achieved. A free market economy demand a transparent set of laws and quick disposal of litigation-something that the archaic Indian judicial system is ill-equipped to cope with.

The conflict between labor and capital had formed the basis of unionization in India. The unions demanded protection of labor against capital. With the introduction of technology and competition, the very existence of their jobs had become a major area of concern for the workers. Today due to restructuring programmed, in the short run job loss is quite significant in May industries.

Liberalization has not liberated poor in villages from the clutches of the moneylender. The rural poor are now perhaps even more under the grip of corrupt petards than say years ago.

Although there is little doubt that liberalization and globalization will generally lead to a buoyant economy, one needs to be watchful of the intense pain that change can cause to the affected sections of society during the crucial transition period.

Q1 (b) What is the effect of competition on Human Resource Management?

Answer 1 (b).

As a result of domestic and international competition, human resource management is being given a key role. Some of the effects in HRM are highlighted below:

· With manpower costs going up, and the need to bring product prices down to meet competition, manpower productivity has become a central issue in organizations. HR professionals will have to play a crucial role to fulfill this need.
· Another area of intervention would be in the case of joint ventures where professionals will have to predict and manage culture-fir policies. Companies are focusing on people with right profiles as also those who are capable.
· There is increasing emphasis on training and retraining to tap talent.
· Companies are showing increasing willingness to retain talent and redeploys manpower necessary.
· In some industry, India employees are being sought after abroad. This coupled with competition for employees among Indian companies, has led to an alarming attrition rate for some companies. To meet ambitious career aspirations and salary expectations, HR department are usually industry wise benchmarking for salary revisions.
· Employee compensation is being linked and programmers are becoming more focused, responsive and are also constantly reviewed against the external environment.
· Globalization has resulted in an influx of foreign managers to India.
· Corporate restructuring and redefining of roles are areas also focus

Q2 (a) What is Performance Appraisal? What are the objectives of the Performance Appraisal System?

Answer2 (a)

Performance appraisal can be defined as a formal exercise conducted by an organization to evaluate its employees in terms of the contribution made by them towards achieving organizational objectives or there personal strengths and weaknesses and in terms of the attributes that he has shown in achieving the objectives of the organization.

Objectives of the Performance Appraisal

The basic objectives of Personal Appraisal are as follows:
1. It enables each employee to understand his role and responsibility of the job that is being done by him/her.
2. To make each employee aware about his own strengths and weaknesses with respect to his role in the organization.
3. It identifies the developmental needs of the employee of the organization.
4. It tends to improve the relationship between the superior and subordinate through realization that each is dependent on each other.
5. It serves as a mechanism for improving the communication between the subordinate and the superior. The subordinate is well aware of the expectations of their superiors.
6. It provides an opportunity for the employees for their self-evaluation and goal setting.
7. It enables every employee to internalize the norms and values of the organizations so that an organizational identity and commitment is developed throughout the organization.
8. It prepares its employees for higher jobs by continuously reinforcing development of behavior and qualities for their high level positions.
9. It tends to motivate its employees and create a healthy environment in which the employees feel free to work.
10. It helps in a variety of personnel decision by generating relevant data on each employee periodically.

So performance appraisal can be treated as a tool, which can help the employee and the organization to work together in a more cordial manner towards the achievement of the organizational goals. Its acts a force which tends to motivate the employees of the organization to work towards the attainment of the organizational and personal goals.

Q2 (b) Explain the concept of 360-degree appraisal. How is this concept used in industry to appraise the employees?

Answer2 (b)

360-degree appraisal is basically Multi Rater Appraisal and feedback system, where a number of assesses an individual assesses including superior, subordinates, peers, and internal and external customers. The assessment is made on questionnaire specially designed to measure behaviors considered as critical for performance. The concerned persons do the appraisal anonymously and officials of the HRD department collect the assessment. The assessment is consolidated and feedback profiles are prepared and given to the participants after a workshop or directly by his boss or the HRD department in performance review discussion session.

Objective of 360-degree feedback

1. It provides an insight into the strong and weak areas of the candidates in terms of effective performance of roles, activities, style, traits, qualities, and competence impact on others.
2. It helps in identifying the developmental needs and preparing development plans more objectively in relation to current or future roles and performance improvement for an individual or a group.
3. It helps in data generating to serve as a more objective basis for rewards and other personnel decisions.
4. It acts as a basis for performance linked pay or performance rewards.
5. Alignment of individual and group goals with organizational vision, values and goals.

360-Degree Feedback
The whole process of conducting 360-Degree feedback process in any organization could last anywhere from one and a half to about 3 months from the start, depending of course on the coverage of people and the geographical spread of the organization’s unit.

Five phases that make up the process of the Feedback exercise are:

1. Participants Orientation and modality of the exercise: this phase lays the foundation of the whole exercise in the organization. Some very important issues that are discussed and clarified in this phase are as follows:
ü Purpose of 360-degree feedback.
ü How is it going to be administered?
ü Who are going to rate or provide feedbacks?
ü Who will analyze the data?
ü Is it a part of the performance appraisal.
ü Does the organization own the data generated and could corporate decisions be taken on this basis?
ü Validity of the data generated and raters rating.

Also discussed and clarified are the issues related to choosing the raters, guidelines for the process, type of work related people who are eligible to give the feedback and also the anonymity maintained during the whole exercise.

2. Questionnaire distribution: All participants are to submit a list of appraisal by which they would like to assess. Guidelines, if any, for choosing assessors would depend on factors such as size of the company and the work culture therein. There are companies where the HR department lists out the rater by choosing randomly from the participant’s list of work related employees. Each rater receives an envelops having the following:
ü Letter from the administrator: it includes brief description regarding the exercise regarding the exercise, name of the participant nominated for the workshop and a request for feedback, which would help enhance effectiveness of the participant.
ü Letter from the participant soliciting feedback: contains his/her direct request to the rater explaining the exercise and to whom the questionnaires are being given
ü Self-addressed envelop from the administrator: contains a note of thanks from the participant’s side and reinforcement or anonymity.
ü Questionnaires

3. Monitoring and Follow Up: this phase follows the distribution of questionnaires to all assessors. Since the whole exercise is done on an anonymous basis, it is difficult to closely monitor on who has sent the feedback and who has not sent. All the questionnaires are being processed in a central place of the administrator. And then these questionnaires are being processed for the name of the participant, the working relationship of the rater and hence for each participant, a schedule is being kept regarding the feedback the assessor is getting.

4. Data Feeding and Reports: as the questionnaires are being received the data is being feeded in the computer in its raw form. There is a pre-set format that on basis of the questionnaires and the individual data sheet would contain only the raw scores of all his assessors arranged in order of categories of superiors, subordinates, colleagues etc. and as the data is feeded he formulas are being applied.

5. Work shop: basically a two day workshop is conducted which stretches to three or more days since two days are taken up for distributing the reports and its analysis in a phased manner while the remaining period is used for individual counseling with the administrator. The two main issues that are stressed through out the workshop are as follows:
ü Openness to feedbacks.
ü Development attitudes.

Each question in the workshop is being ranked keeping in mind its relative importance to the job of the participant. The activity not only help in getting a better understanding of what each question measures, but also helps them later on in terms of pointing out specific areas needing more attention.

So with the help of all these five phases 360-degree the concept of 360-degree is used in the industry.

Q3 (a) What is Performance Counseling? Explain the process involved in Performance Counseling.

Answer3 (a)

Performance Counseling refers to the help provided by a superior to its subordinates in objectively analyzing their performance. It focuses on the analysis of performance and identification of training and developing needs for bringing about further improvement. The major benefits of performance counseling that can help an employee are as follows:
v It helps the employees to know their strengths and weaknesses.
v It helps in improving the professional and interpersonal relation between the superior and the subordinates.
v It tends to set goals and formulate action plans for future improvement.
v It helps the employees in generating various solutions for different problems.
v It provides a supportive and empathetic atmosphere in which the employee feels encouraged to discuss his suggestions, tensions, conflicts etc.

Process involved in Performance Counseling

The basic process involved in Performance Counseling is that the superior should pay careful attention to the ideas and feeling of the subordinate and should listen to all the suggestions and ideas that are being given by the employees. He should be able to encourage his employees to be more open towards the new ideas and should feel free to talk to the manager about their tensions and conflicts. This requires both patience and skills on the part of the superior, who is doing the performance counseling. Questions play a very important role in performance counseling as it can help in gathering more information and stimulating thinking. By asking questions the manager will be able to know more about the employee and will be able to help him in solving different tensions and conflicts that are being faced by him. But not all the questions lead to facilitate healthy communication.
The manager should be able to make the employee know about his strengths and weaknesses and should help him in overcoming his weaknesses and should be able to convert his weaknesses into his strengths. The employee should be able to improve the relationship between the superior and the subordinates. With the help of the performance counseling the manager should be able to provide his employee with an environment in which he is free to talk about the different tensions, conflicts and problems.
The performance counseling process also includes the setting of goals and formulating the action plans for the achievement of goals and generating the alternative solutions for different problem faced while working for an organization.

Process involved in performance counseling

For repeated but relatively minor incidents of substandard performance, misconduct, or rule violations, corrective counseling and discipline should be progressive. The normal sequence of action is: (1) Initial discussion; (2) Oral Warning; (3) Written Reprimand; (4) Suspension; (5) Discharge. Depending on the severity of the case, the action may begin at any of these steps. Any action involving suspension or discharge requires prior review by the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources or his/her designated representative.

Initial Discussion:
Normally, initial disciplinary action should be in the form of an oral discussion, especially for minor rule violations. If it appears that an employee has failed to perform his/her work or conduct him/herself according to requirements, the supervisor should first talk to the employee about the matter and informally inquire further into the situation. If facts indicate that the employee may have been at fault, the supervisor should discuss the matter with him/her and the expectations of the supervisor or steps needed for improvement. The supervisor should always seek to ascertain the employee's comments regarding the incident, behavior, or poor performance.

Oral Warning:
If the initial discussion fails to produce the desired results, an oral warning is normally the next step. With an oral warning, the supervisor should again discuss the matter with the employee. If the supervisor wishes, he/she may call on another person to be present as a witness, preferably another supervisor. The employee should understand the gravity of the situation. With an oral warning, the employee is put on notice that disciplinary action will be forthcoming if there is a repeated violation or if the situation does not improve. Supervisors should maintain a complete and accurate written notation of the warning.

Written Reprimand:
Before a Written Reprimand is issued, the employee should be allowed to respond (preferably in writing) to the charges of misconduct currently made against him/her. If it is then determined that a Written Reprimand is appropriate, the Written Reprimand should involve both a formal interview with the employee by the supervisor and an official memorandum to the employee emphasizing the negative effect of the employee's conduct or work performance on his/her record and opportunities for advancement. If the immediate supervisor does not have the authority to discharge, then such an interview should be conducted by or with the permission of the department official who does have discharge authority. A written reprimand should include: names of everyone involved, dates, description of incident or unsatisfactory performance, witnesses (if any), and action taken. Reference should be made to dates and results of prior oral warning(s), or other written reprimand(s), if any. Also included should be action that will be taken if satisfactory improvement does not occur. Additionally, this document should provide the employee with information relevant to their right to appeal the action under the Complaint and Grievance Policy (9.03) of the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual. A copy of this policy should be attached to the reprimand. The reprimanding official should sign the reprimand. It should also bear or request the employee's comments, if any, and his/her signature. The employee should be informed that his/her signature indicates receipt of a copy of the reprimand letter, but not necessarily mean that he/she agrees with its contents. If the employee refuses to or is unable to sign the reprimand, a witness, preferably another supervisor should verify that the employee has received a copy of the reprimand. A copy of the letter of reprimand should be sent to Human Resource Services, Employee Relations division. Written Reprimands will be removed from an employee’s permanent file, and placed in a confidential file in Human Resource Services, if requested by both the employee and the supervisor and the employee has performed satisfactory work for a twelve (12) month period from the date of the last reprimand letter. In unusual circumstances, the department official may request the reprimand be removed from the file prior to the end of the twelve-month period. The reprimand will remain a part of the employee’s record.

" Suspension" means the interruption (without compensation) of the active employment status pending an investigation and decision as to the extent of disciplinary action; or suspension may be disciplinary action in itself. A supervisor with authority to discharge has authority to suspend without pay, either as a disciplinary measure or to permit investigation of alleged charges. Before suspension action is taken the immediate supervisor must discuss the situation with his/her supervisor, the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources or his/her designated representative and the employee and allow the employee to respond (preferably in writing) to the charges. If suspension is warranted, the employee should be presented with a written document which indicates he/she is being suspended, the number of days suspended, and the reasons for the suspension. Suspension involves removal from the payroll for a specified period of time, or in some cases, indefinitely. To suspend (dock) an employee from payroll, the supervisor who has discharge authority must forward a written memo to Payroll. The memo should stipulate the name of the employee being suspended, his/her social security number, and the number of days suspended and that the employee is "being suspended as disciplinary action for violation of a major work rule. A Payroll Authorization Form HRM-6 should be completed to remove the employee from the payroll.

Discharge or Release:
In cases other than serious offenses, release from employment should be used as a last resort. When it becomes necessary to release an employee, the record he/she has established, in effect, will have released the employee. The supervisor/manager who has the authority to employ also has the authority to discharge. Since the most extreme disciplinary measure is discharge, before the discharge the supervisor or management official who initiates this action must review with the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources or his/her designated representative, the procedure that has been followed. This review will assure that the case for dismissal has been objectively investigated and is both justified and properly documented. Regular non-probationary staff that is being considered for discharge for major rule violations shall be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations (preferably in writing) prior to the decision to discharge. This may be accomplished in a meeting with the employee or by providing the employee a written letter for his or her response. If after reviewing the response, and discharge is in order, an employee should be presented with a letter indicating discharge, the reasons for the discharge, and the date of the discharge. As with every step outlined in this policy, the manager must allow for and seek to ascertain the employee's comments regarding the situation. Since discharge requires prior consultation and approval, it should not be done "on-the-spot.” If the management official feels it is improper to leave the employee on duty until such approval can be obtained, he/she should consult with Human Resource Services to see if indefinite suspension or administrative leave is appropriate. This also allows time for any necessary investigation.

Immediate Suspension:
In extremely serious cases involving unruly behavior, violence or imminent threat to personal safety or property, the supervisor and/or Police Department may determine the need for immediate arrest or removal from Health Science Center property of an employee. This may include collecting all Health Science Center property from the employee. This should be considered an immediate suspension and may warrant proceeding with the discharge process above.

So to conclude we can say that the process of Performance Counseling includes all the motivational factors that can help the employees to work freely towards the achievement of the organizational goals.

Q3 (b) What are the objectives of Potential Appraisal?

Answer 3(b)

The objectives of potential appraisal are:
To assess an individual in terms of the highest level of work the individual will be able to handle comfortably and successfully in future without being over-stretched.
To assist the organization in discharging its responsibility of selecting and developing managers for the future to ensure continuous growth of the organization.

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