Human Resource Development and the Future Challenges

Faiez Hassan Seyal | Article Published in “Pakistan Management Review” Fourth Quarter, 1990

Statement of the Problem

Only a decade ago, the term management was scarcely cognizable except in its initial connotation of arranging items methodically. Now the Management Community is pulsating with a new vigor, widely known, alive, searched and researched. Times are changing with an irreversible vehemence as if everyone is heading for a new millennium. The last quarter of this century was an era of challenges. It was more so in human terms.

South Asia, like others, is also facing this multi-dimensional renaissance. To where this new current will lead us? Will social attention and energy be utilized for better economic, geo-political, socio-cultural and technological management? The experts in this field are still in a dilemma how to foster economic growth, poverty alleviation and social development. There are limits to the socioeconomic role that governments can play. Times are ripe that we should comprehend the gravity of the situation.

The relationship between the world of ideas and the world of action is far from being unambiguous. In the developing economies like Pakistan—having a traditional agrarian base, the task of managing organization is much more complex. However the pioneers of Management Economics did much to sustain faith in the possibilities of socioeconomic progress. Highly innovative measures such as improvement in the external economic environments, efficient policy framework, greater mobilization and more efficient utilization of human resources are the current pointers to this direction.

We in Pakistan are still facing serious state of affairs: Literacy rate dwindling down to 23% from 27% in 1947. Population explosion at 4%, drug-menace, sham-theocracy, and an “over-night richness syndrome”.

Our organizational scene is further tilting to frustration when we come across people from every strata of life, lacking will to change or inclination to learn. They display a tendency to shirk work. They are epitomes of polarized thinking and lacking fair play systems and integrity of professionalism.

Let us take the bull by the horns. There are no short-cuts. The contemporary competitive race needs swift action. “Complete Transformation” is the order of the Day, for any type of dynamic organization. This paper talks about the future needs in the human resources development field and suggests some strategies to deal with some of the critical questions in this field.

What is Human Resource Development (HRD)?

Before we define HRD, it will be practical to define the term “Manage­ment” first, because this concept will be much easy to understand with the knowledge about the term “management”. There are as many definitions of management as there are books on the subject. Frederick (1903) has defined management as “knowing exactly what you want men to do and then seeing that they do it in the best and cheapest way”[1]. However, the process of management itself is not as easy as this definition. The more relevant definition was given by Griffin[2] in 1984. He said “Management is the process of planning organizing, leading and controlling an organization’s human, financial, physical, and informa­tion resources to achieve organizational goals in an efficient and effective manner. By this definition we can define a manager as a person whose basic activities are a part of the management process or in easy word who plans, organizes, leads, and control all the four resources.

From the management definition above we conclude the definition of Human Resource Management as “the process of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling an organization’s human resources to achieve organizational goals in an efficient and effective manner”.

The Institute of Personnel Management in England has published the following definition.[3] “Personnel management is that part of management con­cerned with people at work and with their relationship within an enterprise. Its aim is to bring together and develop into an effective organization the men and women who make up an enterprise and, having regard for the well-being of the individual and of working groups to enable them to make their best contribution to its success”.[4]

In easy words, human resources management is concerned with human resources planning, recruiting, selection, training and development, designing compensation and benefit system, designing performance appraisal systems, and discharging low performing and/or problem employees. A human resource manager is a person concerned or involved in these kinds of activities.

The part of Human Resource Management which is concerned with the development of Human Resources is called “Human Resource Development” and refers to teaching managers and professionals the skills needed for both present and future jobs or can be defined as “a step taken by the organization to foster learning among employees”. Human Resource Development is both-specific and career-specific.

The topic of human resource development is not new in developed nations, but unfortunately it is the most neglected field in the developing nations. Managers, supervisors and employees all require training and continual development if their potential is to be utilized effectively. Human resource training has become increasingly vital to the success of a modern organization. Rapidly changing technology requires that employees possess the knowledge and skills necessary to cope with new processes and production techniques. The growth of organization into large, complex operations whose structures are continually changing makes it necessary for managers, as well as employees, to be prepared for new and more demanding assignments.

There has been a definite trend in the recent years for organizations to take a broader view of resources by creating career development programs. Such programs involve attempts to develop the employee’s career in a way that will benefit both the organization and the individual. Human Resource is one of the four factors of production and is absolutely critical for any type of organizational functioning. Organizations are coming to realize that performance of any firm is dependent upon the effectiveness of their human resources. The job of recruiting and selecting talented and experienced people is not the last but the first step in building an effective work force.

In this era of twentieth century, we should recognize the importance of human resources because the next century will bring more rapid changes in every sphere of life and those organizations will be the winners that have invested in the human capital.

Characteristics of Future Organizations[5]

When we speculate about future we only have logical assumptions. There are no available facts about the future. “Logical assumptions, however, indicate that organizations will be shaped into configurations and systems for the achievement of goals as established by the values and motivations that prevail. Identifiable factors and forces in our society, as generated by the values and motivations, indicate some of the characteristics of organization of the future”.

THE CORPORATE SYSTEM

A change is expected to occur in the corporate system, which is now activities-oriented rather than result-oriented. Managers will develop the means and tech­niques to direct the organizations towards the projected needs and objectives of the organizations and also solve the problems that have slowed down the progress process. The factors and forces of education will motivate organizations towards a total systems concept for the achievement of optimum satisfactions. The national goals will be established and corporate, governmental and educational organization will evolve into more formal systems.

OPERATIONAL SYSTEMS

The operational systems with different prime missions for individuals and the nation will be devised for the achievement of goals. The prime systems will be for environmental standards for production and distribution of goods and services, for support services, for education, and for monitoring. All the prime systems will have prime mission, e.g., the mission of educational prime systems will be to develop and maintain the human competency in different systems by providing all the individuals with the equal opportunity to acquire the needed knowledge, skills and values to operate the organization systems.

THE MANAGEMENT LEADERSHIP ROLE

Management leadership in the next century will shift from a role of autocratic and centralized decision making to decentralized decision and planning in order to achieve goals. Many individuals in the organizations will thereby be able to realize satisfactions from their contributions. “Management will be considered a resource, and authority will flow from the desired results of a system rather than from the dictation of one individual’’.

The place of the individuals in the organization will be determined by their knowledge, skills and values. Their contribution and self-realization will be judged by their competence to achieve desired results in their assignments. Future organizations will be dependent upon the values and motivations that young leadership has acquired during their educational and work experience.

The Management Skills[6]

A manager needs a number of special skills. These skills are pre-requisites to managerial success. Having these skills will be the only major factor in the selection of a manager for the next century. These skills are commonly described as technical skills, interpersonal skills, conceptual skills, diagnostic skills and analytic skills.[7]

Technical Skills: Technical skills are the skills necessary to accomplish special activities. Doctors, Engineers, and Dentists all have the technical skill needed for their respective profession.

Interpersonal Skills: In addition to specialized skills, managers are ex­pected to have interpersonal skills. Managers spend almost fifty percent of their time interacting with people both inside and outside the organization. Interpersonal skills include communication, leadership, motivational and negotiation skills.

Conceptual skills: It depends on the manager’s ability to think in the abstract. Managers need the mental capacity to understand various cause-and-effect rela­tionships in the organization.

Diagnostic Skills: Successful manager will be the one who acts as a physician for the organization and will be able to diagnose a problem in the organization by studying its symptoms. A manager, who can diagnose the situation, may also discover a solution for it.

Analytic Skills: Another type of skill which is prerequisite for managerial success is what we call analytic skills. These are similar to decision making skills. Analytic skills mean the ability of a manager to identify and understand the correlation of the key variables in a situation to decide which should receive the most attention.

In short all successful managers are expected to have five basic skills, i.e., technical, interpersonal, conceptual, diagnostic and analytic. However, the degree of importance of these skills differs with the different management levels. The management of today and the future should be provided with the ample opportunities to acquire these skills, so that they man share in the business development process.

Source of Management Skills

The facts indicate that the purpose of human organizations in the present century is to achieve material gain and wealth. Government Organizations have provided the climate; religious and educational organizations have provided the values; and business organizations have achieved the material results. The most important point in this regard is that the purpose, motivations, and values have been compatible in the various organizations in this century.

When we talk about the human resources and organization in the twenty first century, we assume, that “we will survive the last portion of this century to flourish in the next one.[8] Survival depends upon the existence of “clean-up” generation, which will be willing to fix the damages and clean up the physical and emotional life by the socioeconomic revolution.

The young generation now in universities and colleges will provide the leadership as the clean-up generation. The motivation of this new and young generation seems to be “a quest for their rights as individuals, a rebellion against regimentation and authoritarianism, and search for identity”[9]. The future belongs to the new group and the human resources and organizations will be influenced by their motivation. The following forces will have a powerful influence on the organi­zations of the next century:

  1. Management Education
  2. Management Development

1) MANAGEMENT EDUCATION

In the 20th century, the creation of wealth through economic surplus is emphasized. The developed nations of the world have recognized the importance of investing in the human capital. Thus, they have invested a lot and have created the knowledge industry. In advanced nations it is learned that an investment in human capital could yield higher rate of return as compared with investment in capital goods or land. The investment in human capital will also have an added benefit of improved level of economic growth and social progress. Alfred Marshall a great British Economist in late 19th Century emphasized the importance of human capital as “the most valuable of all capital is that invested in human beings”.

The developed nations are insisting on the investment of human capital. These nations have average literacy rate close to 80% on average, which is expected to reach 95% by the first quarter of the next century. In contrast the literacy rate in LDC’s is only 28% on average. In U.S.A., almost 250 pound of published paper is produced each year per person. Also nearly 400,000 new books are published each year excluding government publications.

We see a new trend in late 20th century in developed nations. The enrolment in the business schools and colleges has increased a lot in recent years. Many students are seeking undergraduate degrees in Business and Management. M.B.A program has also experienced a rapid growth. Several new programs are added in this series. Several business undergraduates have recently begun to take business courses. In 1977, 12% of the chief executives of 1300 largest U.S. Companies did not have a degree. By 1980 this figure fell down to 10.8 percent and 46 of the 50 largest Companies were headed by college graduates.[10] This figure has fallen down to 5 percent by the end of 1989.

If we look into Pakistani education system we also notice a change. Private sector is showing an increased interest in the Business Programs offering under­graduate and graduate degrees. Three new institutes have been opened in one of the major cities of Pakistan in private sector in the last few years. By the middle of 1990’s, the number of business graduates have doubled as compared to 1986. Students are also taking interests in business studies. This is a healthy sign for coming years. This paper is not concerned with the management education for the coming generations. But is concerned with the future of managers already in their jobs. The problem is to develop and train these people already in jobs, that is what we call human resource or management development. Even now there are almost 80 percent of the business managers in Pakistan without a degree. Because of the fact that business schools in Pakistan do not offer part-time courses for the working managers, managers do not get any chance to improve their managerial skills. The only option open is to develop the talent of these managers by offering them short courses, seminars and conferences in-house or out-of-house.

The forces of management education and development will cause a change in emphasis. “Instead of separating people from wealth for social progress, we should make an attempt to separate people from ignorance and poverty for social equality and economic opportunity. The economies discovered through innovation for creating physical wealth should serve as examples for devising economies in education to create human wealth”[11].

2) MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT

The greater human resource, a developing country has is people now in jobs. These people have acquired some skills and managerial concepts in their jobs but it is not enough for business success and excellence. It is what the concept of “Human Resource Development” is all concerned about. It is concerned about training and development of managers to prepare them for the new and existing jobs.

It is their own, their employers, and the country’s responsibility that technical and business management institution must be designed that will enable them to upgrade themselves, attain higher skills, perceptions and concepts.

These managers could and should be drawn into the nation and enterprise building process. These managers must be trained and must be made aware of the changes that human resource development of the country brings in the social and economic development of a country.

The available facilities of management development in the country are not sufficient to fulfill the demand. Private Sector must come into action and participate in the socioeconomic development of the country by improving the management talent. Short and long courses seminars, conferences and workshops should be designed for these people. These institutions should develop their own faculty differently as compared to the educational faculty. Practical faculty, not the theoretical, people should be trained in the different field of H.R.D. as trainers, course designer, course coordinator, consultants, trainer of trainers. etc., etc.

Strategy to Hire and Retain Professional Staff[12]

The quality of professional staff is a critical determinant of the effectiveness of any management development institution. The term “professional staff” or “faculty” refers to the institution’s staff that initiates and conduct training, research, consulting and related professional activities.

The nature of professional staff requirements may vary from one institution to another, depending upon blend of services it is offering and whether an institution is new or old. A new institution fees the complex task of selecting and developing the professional staff in the H.R.D. field.

The task of selecting the faculty specialized in the functional disciplines is not complex. It is common practice in these types of institutions to use part-time functional faculty, which is easily available in developed as well as developing countries. This part-time faculty may be drawn from educational institutions or from public or private sector organizations.

However in both developed and developing nations, the supply of professionals trained in the Human Resource Development fields often falls short of demand. An aggressive and effective search policy should be employed by the institutions. The conventional policy of advertising in the press and recruitment from the responded applicants will not yield satisfactory results in this case. Well qualified will not respond to these advertisements, because their demand is already high. On the other hand substandard candidates may apply and may be selected.

Guidelines to Hire and Develop HRD Professionals

It is noted that the serious shortage of professional management trainers, consultants and other professional staff exist in the H.R.D. field. In the most underdeveloped countries, the field of management is itself new which is an added problem in this context. Therefore available stock of H.R.D. professionals is only meager. Under these conditions, the new management development institutions should use a strategic plan of hiring young graduates with high talent and then investing in their professional development using facilities in or outside the country. It is proved by several institutions that have adapted this policy that younger people are more flexible than the older ones and learn far quickly. These younger graduates should then be trained in their field of interest to become course conductors, course designers, course administrator and consultants. Because of the complex and numerous responsibilities of H.R.D. professionals, they are divided into four categories.

  1. Course Conductors (instructors, trainers and lecturers).
  2. Course Designers (persons responsible to design a course or a learning ex­perience).
  3. Course Administrators (a manager of all or part of a training system).
  4. Consultants to the organization (department, enterprise, sector or nation).

The following guidelines should be carefully observed when selecting the people to become H.R.D. Specialists.

  1. Select H.R.D. professionals just as you do to select anyone, select them because they have performed identical tasks to those they will perform for you. If you do not find experienced people, hire people with interest, aptitude and desire to succeed.
  1. Train them by enrolling them in training courses so they can master the skills they will be required in their new profession. You should also “help them experiment and evaluate, and let them gather empirical data about effective and ineffective ways to help others acquire skills”.
  1. Finally, evaluate them by the degree of success they show, when they are ready to perform their tasks”.

The major point in all of these steps i.e. selecting, training and evaluating is that you must exactly know what this person is expected to do that is what we call “job description”. In other words, when hiring a person, you should sure that why this person is being hired and what he is supposed to do. The following flow chart may be used in the selection process as a guideline.

Source:     Miller Vincent A., “The Guidebook for International Trainers in Business and Industry”, New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company (1979), p. 1984

This investment will yield high returns provided the younger talent has been selected with care. The following criteria should be used in selecting the people to become H.R.D. Specialists.[13] As we already discussed, that due to complex and numerous responsibilities of H.R.D. professionals they are divided into four categories. Each category demands different skills: Therefore when training the H.R.D. persons to become specialists in one of the four categories described above, the following guidelines should be followed carefully.

Developing the H.R.D. Specialists

Category Minimum Requirements Worthwhile Enrichments
Course Conductor’s training should include: Behavioral objectives

Learning theory

Reinforcement theory

Listening skills

Questioning skills

Discussion leading

Lecture and demonstration

Job instruction training

Case methods

In-basket

Sensitivity training

Use of media

Open classroom

Incident process

Action maze

Roleplaying

Course Designer’s training should include: Behavioral objectives

Learning theory

Reinforcement theory

Questioning techniques

Feedback systems

Logical outlining

Use of media

Discussion leading

Case methods

Jobs instruction training

 

Conference design

Programmed instruction

Open classroom.

Incident process

In-basket

Writing skills

Roleplaying

Administrator’s training should include: Planning skills

Organizing skills

Listening skills

Writing skills

Questioning skills

Speaking skills

Discussion leading

Sensitivity training

Organization

Development

All skills listed for the

conductors and designers

 

 

Consultant’s training should include: Listening skills

Questioning skills

Reinforcement theory

Sensitivity training

Problem-solving skills

Performance analysis

Organization Development

Speaking skills

Writing skills

All skills listed for the

other three roles

Source:     Adapted from Miller Vincent A., “The Guidebook for International Trainers in Business and Industry,” New York. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company (1979), p. 208.

A major limitation to this strategy besides its high cost is that the new people become productive only at the end of the development period. In the long run, this is not a drawback because the other choice is hiring old professionals who may be inadequate to deal with the new education and research tasks. New institutions are recommended to have a thorough cost-benefit study of the alternatives before they finally take a step.

Guidelines to retain HRD Professionals

It is obvious and clear, once you have invested a good amount of money on the development of your professional staff, you will not like to loose them when they become productive at the end of the development period. Therefore it is suggested to adapt the following strategies to retain your trained staff.

  1. Newly appointed staff should be clear about their career prospects and the opportunities for growth and development in the said field.
  1. They should be provided with the opportunities up the professional ladder rather than the administrative or managerial ladder.
  1. The professional grades and designation used should clearly describe their job description and should be compatible with the general practice because it is no­ticed in practice that designations are a major attraction to a majority. The commonly used designations are Chief Trainer, Course Coordinator, Senior Training Officer, Chief Consultant, and Research Officer.
  1. An operating culture that respects professional peer authority rather than administrative hierarchy is found to be more functional and the same should be employed.
  1. A critical function that has a direct impact on retaining of professionals is the performance appraisal. The institutions should have greater flexibility in the pro­motions they can grant and the resources they need to sustain a reward system capable of motivating its staff.
  1. They should be provided with ample opportunities throughout their career, for their self-development to keep them abreast with the new advancement in their field.
  1. “Salary scales should be such as to attract well qualified and talented profes­sionals who will be creative and innovative in the performance for their institutional tasks”.
  1. Monetary rewards alone, sometimes, are not sufficient. A good, clean, pleasant and quite working atmosphere is the basic and most important need for this group because of their intellectual and research related responsibilities.
  1. A “Procedural” and “Hierarchical” kind of leadership encourages organizational rigidities and therefore must be avoided. On the other hand, such kind of leadership should be employed “that is accessible to the staff, receptive to ideas and encourages experimentation, questioning and risk taking”. It will stimulate inno­vativeness and commitment”.
  1. A participative role for the professional staff in institutional building is another factor in this context. “Teaching, research and consulting staff should be totally involved in their jobs. A strong sense of involvement will exist only if they have a decisive role in designing, planning and conducting the programs”. They should also participate in the strategic planning process of the institution, so that they can generate new ideas and dedicate themselves to achieve new goals.
  1. Commitment to profession is another important factor to remember. Com­mitment of the professional staff can be enhanced by encouraging them to be active members of professional associations and societies, where they will get a chance to benefit themselves by sharing their experience with other professionals.

Conclusion

At this fag end of the 20th century, we do realize that investment in human capital will probably yield higher returns than in any other capital. The concept of real management is of grater importance at this time[14] which states that “real management expects a manager to produce better managers — better than oneself and in such a way that they, in turn, will themselves produce yet another generation of managers better than themselves, and so on for ever. This evolutionary process enhances the quality of management with each new generation”. There is a need for a reappraisal of the role of the organizational pressure groups to counter-act negative attitudes. A pragmatic consideration for the development of human resources to ensure overall effectiveness and quality of durable Management is the basic challenge. Let us all combine to enhance and embrace the benefits of this New Renaissance. Let us accept this new challenge, to mould our organizational set-up in straight direction because this is the only way to business success and excellence. The new management institutions are the demand of the “Time”. It will involve a big investment, but the expenditures can be controlled without dropping the standards. If we succeed, we will be able to create education surplus greater than the economic surplus, but we will have to follow a deliberate policy. It suggests, “Accountants are challenged to make proper evaluations to get the human asset on the balance sheet; economists must learn to include human capital in their calculation. Administrators have no alternative but to develop educational systems that can deliver improved quality at less unit cost rather than proliferate the quality of activity at costs we cannot afford”.[15]


Footnotes

[1] Frederick W. Taylor, “Shop Management”, New York, Harper & Row (1903), P-21.

[2] Rick W. Griffin, “Management”, Massachusetts, Houghton Mifflin Company (1984), p-7.

[3] The terms “Personnel Management” and “Human Resource Management” are synonyms, and the same way terms, “Personnel Development”, “Management Development” and “Human Resource Development” are synonyms.

[4] Graham H. T., “Human Resource Management”, London, Pitman Publishing Company (1988), p-123.

[5] This section is based heavily on John F. Mee, “Speculation about Human Organisations in the 21st Century,” “Business Horizons,” Feb. 1971, pp 5-7, 10-16.

[6] This section is based heavily on Rick W. Griffin, “Management”, Massachusetts, Houghton Mifflin Company (l984), pp 18-25.

[7] Robert & Katz, Skills of an Effective Administrator, “Harvard Business Review”, September—October (1974), pp-90-102.

[8] Richard D. Carter, “Future Challenges of Management Education”, New York, Praeger Publishers (198l), p 56.

[9] Same as No.8, p 58.

[10] Water Kiechel III, Executives without Degree, “Fortune,” June 28, 1982; pp 119-120

[11] Richard D. Carter, “Future Challenges of Management Education,” New York, Praegcr Publishers (1981), p. 60.

[12] This section is based heavily on “Managing a Management Development Institution,” Edited by Milan Kubr, International Labour Organisation (1982), pp 113-134.

[13] Miller Vincent A., “International Trainer in Business and Industry” New York, Nostrand Reinhold Company (1979), pp 181-208.

[14] Aga Hassan Abdi, Introducing the Concept of Real Management, “Pakistan & Gulf Economist” March 24-30, 1984.

[15] Richard D. Carter, “Future Challenges of Management Education,” New York, Preager Publishers (1981), p 60.