The human resources (“HR”) function is at the forefront of a company’s efforts with respect to two of the key elements of organizational design—people and organizational structure. While HR practices differ around the world, it would seem to be universally true that in order for companies to successfully achieve their strategic goals and objectives they must strive to attract, motivate, and retain those employees who are best qualified to carry out the necessary activities of the company and make sure that they are placed into the right spots in the most effective organizational structure. The traditional role of HR was perceived as being largely administrative—recruiting and interviewing prospective employees, administering benefit plans and writing policies—and is often referred to as the “personnel administration” approach; however, forward thinking companies now realize that the HR function must be part of the company’s strategic planning activities and that HR leaders must engage in what is common referred to as “human resources management”, or “HRM”, strategy, and proactively suggest new policies and initiatives to the senior executives of the company to ensure that the company has access to appropriate knowledge and talent in each of the markets where it is active. The personality profile for HR managers and specialists has also changed radically in recent years due to the fact that the HR function now provides a wide array of services to persons throughout the company’s organizational structure including training and development, job analysis, oversight of workplace conditions and mediation of disputes between employees and the company.
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