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MHR 523 (500)
Lecture

MHR 523 Lecture Notes - Contingent Work, Human Resources, Canadian Business


Department
Human Resources
Course Code
MHR 523
Professor
Al- Karim Samnani

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MHR Chapter 1: Strategic Importance of Human Resource Management
ECONOMIC CHALLENGES
Economic factors facing Canadian business today, including global trade challenges and the challenge to increase
one’s own competitiveness and productivity below
Surviving a Recessionary Cycle
Plan, communicate and implement employee layoff
Facing the Global Trade Challenge
To attract & involve highly skilled employees, progressive HR practices have to be adopted; HR issues dominate
company strategic priorities raising expectations from the departments
Meeting the Challenge of Productivity Improvement
Productivity: ratio of firm’s outputs divided by its inputs (people, capital, energy); increases as firms find new ways
to use fewer resources to produce outputs
major challenge Canadian managers face is productivity improvements while maintaining a high quality
work life for employees
if Canada is to improve competitiveness, innovation on people management and technology is needed
Outsourcing: increasingly popular to cut costs; reduces number of employees on permanent payroll
Outplacement: assisting employees to find jobs with other employers
TECHNOLOGICAL CHALLENGES
May cause fundamental shifts in lifestyles; two major technological changes which have revolutionized Canadian
businesses: computerization and automation
Computerization: allowing the processing of vast amounts of data at great speeds, enabling organizations to
improve efficiency, responsiveness and flexibility in operations; key developments:
Processing large volumes of information on timely basis
Flexible work design and telecommunicating: cut stress, costs & boosts productivity; lack of concrete
policies and procedures can lead to communication and performance problems
Information sharing and knowledge management: firms have intranets which help to increase speed;
better for sharing
In general, computerization results in faster, multiway of communication, non-traditional marketing
strategies, improved quality control, more online inventory control and therefore requires new HR
practices
Automization: the automatically controlled operation of a process, system or equipment by mechanical or
electronic devices
Push for speed; desire to control labour costs and increase productivity
Better service to customers; increases predictability in operations and to achieve higher standards of
quality in production; machines don’t strike/ask for a raise
Allows flexibility in operations; ability to produce small batches; allows firms to focus on needs of
different customers, market segmentation, speed up delivery schedules
May result in smaller workforce with fewer opportunities for socialization on the job
DEMOGRAPHIC CHALLENGES
Demographic Changes
Changes in the demographics of the labour force (ex. Levels of education, age, participation rates) that occur
slowly and are usually known in advance
Trend 1: Increasing Number of Women in the Workforce
Left traditional nonprofessional occupations and work in management, law, engineering and medical
fields
Women accounted for 70% of total employment grow issues of childcare, work/family balance, dual
career families and employment equity
More women tend to work part time in comparison to men
Tend 2: toward Knowledge Workers
Shift from primary and extractive industries to services, technical and profession jobs
Nearly 75% is employed in service producing industries; over 25% is services such as finance, real estate,
hospitality
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MHR Chapter 1: Strategic Importance of Human Resource Management
Workforce is divided into two main categories:
o Information: data workers (use, transmit or manipulate symbolic info created by knowledge
workers); knowledge workers (generating, processing, analyzing or synthesizing ideas and info)
o Non Information: persons working in the manufacturing and service sectors (ex. Security,
machine operators)
Knowledge workers have been fastest growing type of workers in Canadian labour force
Trend 3: Education Attainment of Workers
Education attainment: highest educational level attained by an individual worker, employee
group/population
About 22% of Canadians age 16+ fall in lowest level of literacy; another 24-26% fall in second lowest level
Corporate council on Education identified a set of “employability skills” consisting of basic academic skills,
personal management skills and teamwork skills; foundation skills for employability in future
Trend 4: Employment of Older Workers
Old Age Crisis: refers to social (health care) and organizational (new workplace ergonomics) challenges
caused by again of population
Low birth rates, longer life expectancy, fear of post retirement poverty motivates employees to hold
onto their current jobs
Pressures for expanded retirement benefits, variable work schedules, coordination of govn't benefits
w/company benefits and retraining are few problems that await
Aging population affects many HR functions, especially recruitment, selection, job training, job design,
appraisal, compensation and benefits administration
Trend 5: More Part Time, Contract and Contingent Workers
Part Time: ppl working fewer hours and are ineligible for many benefits offered by employers
Contract/Contingent Workers: freelancers who aren’t part of regular workforce and are paid on a project
completion basis; organizations benefit from services of train personnel w/out increasing payroll costs in a
permanent fashion
CULTURAL CHALLENGES
Challenges facing a firm’s decision makers because of cultural differences among employees/changes in core
cultural or social values occurring at the larger societal level
Work related Attitudes
Attitudes towards work: variety of work-related assumptions and values including the role of work in a
person’s life and the role of women and diverse groups in organizations
Requests for longer vacations, more holidays, varied work weeks; turn to HR professionals to help with
employee motivation
Generation X are differ from Boomers; work-life balance is important, active participants in decision
making, not averse to hard work, distain towards “command & rule” culture, self-reliant
Generation Y are just entering work force; seek continuous learning, ongoing feedback, team work, up to
date technology, security, respect and work-life balance; biggest fear is boredom
Ethnic Diversity
Cultural Mosaic: Canadian ideal of encouraging each ethnic, racial and social group to maintain its own
cultural heritage, forming a national mosaic of different cultures
“allophones”: other speaking; almost 5 million Canadians
Attitudes Towards Govn’ts
Basic assumptions about the role of govn’t business and society, including the desirability of a welfare state with a
key interventionist role for the govn’t
Notion that govn’ts have the ability and wisdom to steer the economy is being dispelled; growing view is
that the govn’t is just economic facilitator that provides appropriate infrastructure for prosperity
OBJECTIVE OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Aim to improve productive contribution of individuals while attempting to attain other societal and individual
employee objectives. Focuses on what managers do and what they should do. HR management in most
organizations attempt to achieve three key objectives: organizational, societal, and employee
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