Total compensation is a term used in the practice of human resource management to refer to the aggregate benefits which arise from a person’s employment. It incorporates all the programs, plans, opportunities and benefits accruing from employment. The range of benefits include cash pay in the form of salaries and wages, medical schemes, allowances for different reasons, pension plans as well as a host of other benefits such as training opportunities, free housing and others.
In man careers, the entire package is far more important than the financial remuneration from the employment. Many workers will consider elements of growth as well as work life balance as opposed to narrowing down to the salary they will receive.
Compensation policies and practice are important elements of human resource management practice. They involve a comprehensive evaluation of the human resource requirements and the development of relevant guidelines to direct not only the compensation programs but guide the processes of training and development relevant for the specific occupation.
This is in consideration of the fact that compensation is the one most critical factor which determines the level of motivation and even more importantly the rate of staff turnover. It is therefore important that proper compensation policies and practices are developed to ensure optimal productivity among the workers.
Within the public sector organizations, salaries are mainly based on categories established by experts. Across government institutions, employees earn similar packages but which may be adopted to fit the different operations which fit the different circumstances faced by the different workers.
Performance appraisal refers to the process by which the performance of employees is assessed. It looks at elements of effectiveness o an employee in terms of the quality of work produced by the employee in time. The process helps obtain a more accurate valuation of the worth of an employee by recording and analyzing information pertaining to the employee performance in the organization. It is an important element of any meaningful career development.
Performance appraisals are done for a number of reasons. The most important is to enhance career development. Appraisals offer suitable platforms for discussion of issues relating to the development of suitable strategies meant to maximize the potential of careers.
They also offer opportunities for the more experienced and knowledgeable people to share or counsel the upcoming young employees on the correct paths to follow in growing their careers. This ensures that the organization is well able to effectively plan for succession for its different levels of careers.
In addition, career developers are well able to assess the needs existing within the organization in terms of training and upgrading of skills available. This is a basic prerequisite for developing adequate plans for career development which seek to close the knowledge gaps existing in the organization. More importantly, the appraisals offer a platform to improve individual abilities and also make decisions regarding training and development.
The second objective is to acquire feedback. Feedback comes in two ways. Directors may be interested in how the employees feel about their supervisors. On the other hand, the employees should know how they are viewed in the organization.
This gives them the opportunity to accurately identify areas they need to correct in a bid to improve the perception about them in the organization. Again, feedback offers unique opportunities for employees to constructively discuss with their seniors on the best ways possible to improve on their weaknesses and even build more on their strengths.
Thirdly, performance appraisals are meant to reduce grievances among employees. This is mainly in cases where disputes arise due to the manner in which promotions and salary hikes are awarded. This by making clear the criteria used in determining the decisions and also showcasing the evidence for the decisions made. This not only minimizes conflict but also motivates the employees towards achieving the criteria for the promotions hence improving efficiency in the organization.
On the other hand performance appraisals also aid in the achievement of organizational goals. They are useful in clarifying the expectations set by the organization for each employee, Again, the help in developing relevant objectives for the subsequent periods while at the same time giving the employees a clear understanding of their roles in the achievement of the overall goals of the organization.
Still, appraisals enable accurate decision making in cases of the need to lay-off workers. It is much easier to identify the people to easily dismiss given the need to do so if the appraisals are already undertaken. This ensures that the organization does not lose the best performing staff in cases of downsizing or restructuring.
Finally, appraisals give a clear account of the success of career development decisions made in the past. These offer a good basis on which to base the decisions for which future actions will be based. The assessment may necessitate the need to continue with the path already on course or completely depart from this course in search of a better channel.
Trait-based rating is a performance appraisal method common among commercial organizations. The appraisal is based on elements of integrity and other personal traits such as dynamism and aggressiveness. The managers rank the employees in terms of how well their personality traits fit the roles undertaken by the employees. This model has however attracted sharp criticism due to two main reasons. First is the fact that personality traits are largely static.
One may be able to change his/her attitude or behavior to suite the expectations but changing ones personality is not easy. This then defeats the essence of carrying out appraisals which are aimed at improving and not necessarily doing away with employees. Secondly, the method is ambiguous of vague hence is prone to abuse. This is because it is not based on any concrete evidence of performance.
Achievement based appraisals on the other hand are purely based on the ability of an employee to deliver results. It establishes the suitability of an individual to occupy a position on his/her ability to deliver the quality and quantities expected. The method is supported by most human resource experts due to the fact that it is based on tangible evidence and more importantly, it offers opportunities for improvement.
It also seeks to reward achievement and therefore encourages the continuity of achievement. However, not all types of jobs can effectively be assessed using this method. There has to be tangible evidence of performance such as sales volumes for the method to be effective. However, it is still applicable in most job evaluations.
Competency based rating approach to performance appraisal focuses mainly on the perceived abilities of a person to perform tasks as expected. The evaluation relies on achievement of the individual to determine his/her future abilities. Here, a qualified person is considered for promotion as opposed to a more productive but relatively unqualified person. This forms the most visible disadvantage for this approach.
Human Resource Development
Human resources development refers to the deliberate efforts geared towards developing individual skills of the employees as well as the entire organization’s skills. It refers to the entire process of continually up scaling the productivity of the entire workforce in an organization.
Human resources department is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that there is adequate and targeted development of skills and competencies towards the achievement of the goals of the organization. It comprises of a host of activities some of which include recruitment, evaluations as well as training of the employees in full consideration of the present and future labor requirements for the organization.
In the contemporary public and nonprofit organizations human resource development is as necessary as in commercial institutions. This is mainly due to the fact that these organizations also have their goals and targets for which they are formed to achieve.
They may differ from the commercial organizations profit motive but the need for a quality human resource cannot be over emphasized. This being the case, it is equally important that these organizations identify suitable human resource development mechanisms geared towards ensuring that their functions are effectively handled.
There are several strategies for human resource development strategies which seek to accomplish different organizational goals. First is the communication strategy. The strategy focuses on improving the process of educating and training of employees on the upcoming changes as a way of preparing them and enhancing acceptability to change.
Secondly, the quality strategy is directed towards the development of a highly skilled workforce through training and other methods of improving skills. In addition, cost reduction strategy focuses on the need for employees to ensure cost reduction goals are achieved.
Again, ownership and accountability strategy emphasizes on the need for employees to own and appreciate the roles they play in the organization so as to boost their motivation. Still, the systematic training approach focuses on offering avenues to improve and build professionalism and appropriate work cultures which lead to a better organization. As can be seen, all these strategies aim at improving the productivity of the workforce from different approaches.
Training delivery refers to the methods as well as contents of a training program. In the process of training there are several considerations for an organization. The most important is the cost control. Cost control refers to the need for a training program’s cost to fall within the confines of the organizations ability to pay.
This is done through establishing the value of the benefits likely to accrue from the training as a way of establishing the maximum amount to be spent on the training. The second consideration is appropriate training program. Proper and relevant training methods should be adopted for different jobs in full consideration of their nature. Certain jobs may require the need to go back to class and upgrade understanding of certain concepts while others require a more practical approach.
Finally it is always important to give adequate emphasis on the technological considerations in the process of human resource development. This requires that the training body ensures that the recent technologies are adequately understood to improve the impact of the training programs.
Training evaluation is the assessment of the success of the training program already undertaken. Its main objective is to determine the impact of the training program on the individual as well as overall productivity of the workforce. There are several criteria used in training evaluation. First is through observation. The managers can just observe the behavior of employees prior and after the training program and determine whether the program was a success or not.
In cases where the behavior improves, then the program was a success. Questionnaires may also be issued to the employees. The main aim here is to determine their feeling towards the program as this largely determines the level of impact the program has on them. Again, the employees may be subjected to a post training interview which helps determine the level to which concepts taught during the training were fully understood.
Discipline and dismissal
Discipline is an elaborate corrective process used in the human resource practice to continually guide employee behavior. The disciplinary measures are applied in consideration of the gravity of an offence as well as the prevailing circumstances. Various disciplinary measures include: issuance of warnings, suspensions as well as reprimanding.
Dismissal is the last option of the disciplinary action. It is simple termination of employment. It is important to follow a clear disciplinary guideline before jumping to dismissal as this may prove counterproductive for the organization.
For public personnel managers, the process of discipline and dismissal is more complicated than in other organizations. This is mainly due to the fact that the managers have limited powers mainly due to the elaborate process through which the dismissal has to follow before dismissal. This limits the flexibility of the managers.
A disciplinary action is called an adverse action due to the fact that it is a negative action aimed at instilling some level of pain on the employee in a bid to influence his/her behavior. The main dimensions of a disciplinary action are that the measures should seek to correct or influence behavior and that the action should be just. The disciplinary action should not be focused on punishing the victims. It should also not be unjust as these amounts to correcting a wrong with a wrong.
PEER SURVAILLANCE is the process where work mates are accountable to each other as they work in an organization.
VERTICLE SURVAILLANCE on the other hand refers to an accountability process where the junior staff is accountable to their seniors.
HORIZONTAL SURVEILLANCE is an accountability program where one department is accountable to another department on the same level of organization hierarchy.
Progressive discipline is a concept applied in the process of human resource management where the penalty for a wrong increase with repeated wrong doing. The concept seeks to give adequate disincentive for repetition of offences by employees. Through progressive discipline, an employee who is late may escape with a reprimand. On the second day, he receives a warning, on the third day; he receives a second warning and is made to compensate for the lost hours.
On the fourth day, he may be reported to senior officers for further action which may include demotion, or even dismissal. Due process right of an employee is in reference to the fact that even in the administration of disciplinary measures; the employees’ rights should always be upheld. Disciplinary measures are not excuses for abuse.