There are a number of critical Recent Trends affecting the employment relationship that further affect how organisations need to manage their employees. Some of these Recent Trends pertain to changes taking place in the external environment of the organisation; others pertain to some of the ways organisations are responding internally to such Recent Trends. The term ‘environment of business’ refers to the aggregate of conditions, events and influences that surround and affect it. The prevailing trends have significantly change the way HRM works. The recent trends in HRM can be identified under technological impact, economic challenges and workforce diversity.
In the present competitive world, technological breakthroughs can dramatically influence an organisation’s service markets, suppliers, distributors, competitors, customers, manufacturing processes, marketing practices and competitive position. Technological advances can open up new markets, result in a proliferation of new and improved products, change the relative cost position in an industry and render existing products and services obsolete. Technological advancements can create new competitive advantages that are more powerful than existing ones. Recent technological advances, as we all know, in computers, lasers, robots, satellite networks, fibre optics, biometrics, cloning and other related areas have paved the way for significant operational improvements in an organisation. It shows changing Recent Trends in HRM.
1. New skills required: As new technologies are developed and implemented, there is an urgent need to upgrade existing employee skills and knowledge. It requires continuous modernization and Upgradation in the skill sets of employees as well as hiring employees with required skills and qualifications. Thus, giving thrust to ongoing recruitment and training process from HR department. 2. Downsizing: New Technologies have decimated many lower-end jobs with frustrating regularity. Increased automation has reduced employee head counts everywhere. The pressure to remain cost-effective has also compelled many a firm to go lean, cutting down extra fat at each managerial level. The wave of merger and acquisition activity, in recent times, has often left the new, combined companies to downsize operations ruthlessly. 3. Collaborative work: Technological change has resulted in hierarchical distinctions being blurred and more collaborative teamwork where managers, technicians and analysts work together on projects. Team-based incentive plans have also made it necessary for all classes of employees to work in close coordination with each other. Here, E -HRM helps in working of teamwork by delegating HR functions to respective members through the help of networking. 4. Telecommuting: The rapid advances in technology have led to the relocation of work from the office to the home. Telecommuting has become the order of the day -where employees work at home, usually with computers and use phones and the Internet to transmit letters, data and completed work to the home office. 5. Internet and Intranet Revolution: In HR, internets and intranets are being used to handle training, benefits administration, performance management and outplacement functions, in recent times. The cumulative impact of new technology is so dramatic that at a broader level, organisations are changing the way they do HRM.
Technology, to cut short a long argument, is changing the face of HRM-altering the methods of collecting employment information, speeding up the processing of that data, and improving the process of internal and external communication. It is also impacting the way the jobs are being processed with a view to achieving operational efficiency. In this race to cut down costs, improve productivity levels and enhance customer satisfaction — organisations should be careful enough to introduce new technologies in a phased manner, taking employee concerns into account. Increased global competition, of course, is compelling most organisations to restructure, re-engineer work processes, introduce total quality management and build flexibility into work schedules in order to remain competitive and cost-effective.
Nowadays the world is shrinking in all major respects. People, goods, capital and information are moving around the globe as never before. Companies are trying to become global players just to survive; let alone prosper. Coca -cola, a leader in this respect, derives roughly 80 percent of its profits from foreign sales. IBM, Mobil, Citicorp, Motorola, Gillette to earn more than half of their revenues from operations outside the USA. International borders have been ruthlessly ignored or thoroughly discounted when it comes to serving business interests. Today’s’ managers in big firms are quite comfortable transacting business in multiple languages and cultures. In the new global marketplace, HR managers are required to play challenging roles and create a competitive advantage for the firm. Competitive advantage refers to the ability of an organisation to formulate strategies to exploit profitable opportunities, thereby maximising its return on investment. To this end, global firms are continually reorganising their operations and refocusing their energies around their crucial areas of competence.
Handling workforce diversity is a major task of HRM today. Diversity in the field of HRM can be defined as the situation that arises when employees differ from each other in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, education, etc. Workforce diversity means that organisations are becoming more heterogeneous in terms of age, gender, race, ethnicity, etc.
The composition of the workforce is changing in India. Young, skilled and knowledgeable employees are occupying positions of importance. At the same time, thanks to the opening up of the private sector, employees are no more fascinated by secure, less-paying, routine and standardised jobs offered by the public sector and other government-owned and controlled organisations. Organisations now cannot discriminate on the basis of age. They must listen to their experienced employees, to draw from their expertise and initiate programmes that meet these needs.
Diversity issues in Indian companies are somewhat peculiar owing to differences in social ethos, religious origins, cultural differences and regional origins. Certain sections of society enjoy a preferential treatment, guaranteed by the Constitution, right at the entry level itself. The policy of statutory job reservation for SCs and STs has been extended for another ten years, starting from the year 2000 through a government notification, in all public sector undertakings.
Changes in Employee Roles and their Values: The changing structure of the workforce has led to the introduction of new values in organisations.
Among these move towards
(a) Emphasis on quality of life rather than quantity;
(b) Equity and justice for the employees over economic efficiency;
(c) Pluralism and diversity over uniformity and centralism;
(d) Participation over authority;
(e) Personal convictions over dogma; and
(f) The individual over the organisation. Alienation from the job, increasing counterproductive behaviour, raising expectations and changing ideals of employees are some of the other factors responsible for the changing values and roles of human force.
In recent years, however, the work ethic has declined in favour of a more existential view of life. Work is regarded as only one alternative among many as a means for becoming a whole person in order to do one’s own thing. Family activities, leisure, avocations and assignments in government and schools are all equally viable means through which a person can find meaning and become self-actualized. Further, employees are seeking a greater balance between their work lives and their personal lives, more leisure time and greater flexibility in scheduling time away from work. Managing International Workforce: Managing people in international settings requires human resources to address a broader range of functional areas. It requires more involvement in the employee’s personal life. The firm should establish different human resource management systems for different geographic locations. It must closely watch the moves made by external constituencies including foreign governments, political and religious groups. A host of other issues relating to employee compensation, health, safety, welfare etc., need to be monitored carefully. Employees on international assignments represent valuable assets and hence need to the managed systematically and strategically so that they can easily adapt, survive and flourish in diverse cultures and environments.
The important global pressures impacting HR practices in MNCs have grown in number, variety and complexity in recent times — thanks to the changes in information technology, a dismantling of tariffs, differentiated labour laws, cultural and language barriers, bargaining practices etc. Getting the right people with requisite skills, motivating them to accept the challenges in a foreign locale and extending family support through cultural orientation, language training and education assistance have become truly demanding.