HR department helps organizations and their employees attain their goals. (look at image on the front of
Challenges organizations face: economic (ex: recession), technological(ex: computerization), political
(ex: new government policies), social(ex: concern for our environment), demographic (ex: changing
composition of our workforce), legal(ex: minimum wage changes, laws), cultural(Ex: ethnic diversity) and
Major 5 challenges grouped under: Economic, technological, demographic, cultural and legal.
ECONOMIC CHALLENGES (are economic factors affecting Canadian business today)
3 economic challenges: surviving a recessionary cycle, facing the global trade challenge and meeting the
challenge of productivity improvement.
1. Surviving a recessionary cycle: during this time alot of employees get layed off alot of ppl lose
their jobs. It is the HR dept. That is in charge of planning, communicating and implementing
employee lay off. Workforce is low during recessionary period.
2. Facing the global trade challenge: Canada ranked high among exporting nations. Since Canada
has a really diverse workforce with cultures it gives us a competitive advantage of knowing how
to deal with other countries and cultures in business understanding their needs and concernsnd
responding to them. Have to be more productive than other competitive countries that export
as well or else may not survive.
3. Meeting the challenge of productivity improvement:
Productivity: the ratio of an organizations outputs (goods and services) to its inputs
(people, capital, materials, and energy). Productivity rises when the organization finds
new ways to use fewer resources to produce its output. (gains in productivity =
organization can provide better pay, benefits, and working condition.)result = higher
quality of work life so employees are more satisfied and therefore more motivated and
Productivity define ratio: productivity = outputs (goods and services)/inputs(people,
capital, materials, energy)
Big gap in productivity levels between Canada and the US (us is outpacing us).(US being
the biggest trading partner)
If Canada is to improve/maintain their productivity competitiveness etc, people
management and technology is a must.
Outsourcing: enables organizations to reduce the number of workers on permanent
payroll and to contract out tasks to outside agencies as and when needs arise, thus
reducing the total wage bill. (basicly contracting tasks to outside agencies or persons)
(most common outsourced function is legal work followed by transportation and
information systems management. Other commons outsourcing areas include printing,
payroll, security and accounting) Outplacement: assisting employees to help them find jobs with other employers.
Two major technological challenges have revolutionalized Canadian business: computerization and
Computerization: a major technological challenge allowing the processing of vast amounts of data at
great speeds enabling organizations to improve efficiency, responsiveness and flexibility in operations.
Computerized technology facilitates ways of performing tasks. Key developments in this area are:
1. Processing large volumes of information on a timely basis: make info. Available with great
speed, computer can list them in summary fashion and puts them in order of importance which
rlly helps business to take the correct actions.
2. Flexible work design and telecommuting: computers allow employees to work without leaving
their homes. Workers communicate amongst eachother thru telephone, fax machines and
computerized information systems.
Telecommuting: paid labour performed at the employee’s home full-time or part-time
with assistance of PCs modems fax machines etc.
Conservative management with industrial revolution mind sets: They fear that they
might lose control over employees who are not physically near them.
3. Information sharing and knowledge management: comps allow organizations to manage their
operations innovatively, reducing costs or capitalizing on new opportunities. Organizations have
private networks or intranets (help store and access info. Speedily) where info is available to all
or select employees of the organization allowing for faster decision making and faster response
to customers, employees and stakeholders.
Knowledge management: the process of capturing organizational knowledge and
making it available for sharing and building new knowledge.
In general computerization allows for faster, multiway of communication, non-traditional marketing
strategies, improved quality control and more online inventory control.
World wide web has also developed alot of networking sites video sharing sites wikis blogs and other
interactive opportunities. Good ways to communicate and interact which has an impact on the
organizations human resources activities.
Automation: another technological change that has affected Canadian organizations and their HR
management. It is the automatically controlled operation of a process, system or equipment by
mechanical or electronic services. Organizations automate various activities for: speed, increase predictability in operations and to achieve
higher standards of quality in production. It also allows flexibility in operation. For automation to be
beneficial, it should permit meshing between old and new technologies.
Demographic changes: changes in the demographics of the labour force eg: education
levels, age levels, participation rates) that occur slowly and are usually known in
advance. (the demographics of the labour force describe the composition of the
Trend 1: increasing # of women in the workforce: 70% of the total employment growth
in Canada has been women for past 2 decades. More women work part-time then men
cause of issues such as childcare, work family balance, employment equity ect..
Trend 2: shift toward knowledge workers: currently theres a shift from employment in
primary and extracting industries like fishing and mining to service, technical and
Todays workforce could be divided into 2 categories:
1. Information workers
2. Non information workers
Information workers are then divided into 2 groups: data workers and knowledge workers.
Data workers: members of an occupation (ex: most clerical occupations) that use, transmit or
manipulate symbolic information created by knowledge workers.
Knowledge workers: members of occupation generating, processing, analyzing or synthesizing
ideas and information (like scientists and management consultants). (they are the ones that
develop the ideas, produce it)
Non information workers: consist of ppl who work in manufacturing and service sectors (ex:
machine operators, security guards babysitters)
Trend 3: Educational attainment of workers
Educational attainment: the highest educational level attained by an individual worker, employee group
Trend 4: Employment of older workers
Old age crisis: refers to the social (health care) and organizational (new workplace ergonomics)
challenges caused by aging of population.
Human resource challenges in the future with population aging : pressure for expanded
retirement benefits, variable work schedules, coordination of government benefits(ex:
Canada/quebec pension plan benefits) with company benefits, and retraining programs.
Trend 5: more part-time, contract, and contingent workers:
Part-time workers: persons working fewer than required hours for categorization such as full-
time workers and who are ineligible for many supplementary benefits offered by employers. Contract or contigent workers: free lancers (self employed, temporary, or leased employees)
who are not part of regular workforce and are paid on a project completion basis.
Cultural challenges: challenges facing firm’s decision makers because of cultural differences
among employees or changes in core cultural or social values occurring at the large societal
3 cultural challenges: work-related attitudes, ethnic diversity, and attitudes towards
government and those in power.
1. 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.
Ethnic diversity: Canadian society is a cultural mosaic: Canadian ideal of encouraging each
ethnic, racial and social group to maintain its own cultural heritage forming a national mosaic of
Attitudes towards governments: basic assumptions about the role of government in business
and society, including the desirability of a welfare state with a key interventionist role for the
ORGANIZATIONAL OBJECTIVES : an organizations short and long-term goals that the HR
department aims to achieve.
SOCIETAL OBJECTIVES: societal priorities (ex: lower pollution levels) that HR department targets
while setting own objectives and strategies.
EMPLOYEE OBJECTIVES: goals set by the HR department to assist employees to achieve personal
goals that will enhance their contribution to the organization.
Strategic human resources management: integrating human resource management strategies
and systems to achieve overall mission, strategies, and success of the firm while meeting needs
of the employees and other stakeholders.
STEPS IN STRATEGIC HUMAN RESSOURCE MANAGEMENT
STEP 1: ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS
Monitoring of economic, social and labour market trends to note changes in
governmental policies legislation and public policy statements.
STEP 2: ORGANIZATIONAL MISSION AND GOALS ANALYSIS: Involves a close look at the organizations overall mission and goals. Profitability,
organizational growth, employee satisfaction, efficiency, adaptiveness to environmental
changes are common goals in a Canadian organization.
- A mission statement: is a statement outlining the purpose, long term objectives and
activities the organization will pursue and the course for the future.
STEP 3: ANALYSIS OF ORGANIZATIONAL STRENGTHS AND CULTURE
Organization character: the product of all of an organizations features-people,
objectives, technology, size, age, unions, policies, successes, and failures.
Equifinality: means there are usually many paths to any given objective.
STEP 4: ANALYSIS OF ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGIES
Strategies to achieve the goals of the organization. 3 generic strategies that a firm may
pursue: cost leadership, differentiation or focus.
1. Cost leadership strategy: strategy to gain competitive advantage through lower
costs of operations and lower prices for products.
2. Differentiation strategy: strategy to gain competitive advantage by creating a
distinct product or offering a unique service.
3. Focus strategy: strategy to gain competitive advantage by focusing on the needs of a
specific segment of the total market.
STEP 5: CHOICE AND IMPLEMENTATION OF HUMAN RESOURCES STRATEGIES
Look at strength and weaknesses for viable strategies
Questions asked: are your assumptions realistic?
Do we really have the skills and resources to make this strategy viable?
Is this strategy consistent internally? Do the various elements of the strategy “hang
What are the risks? Can we afford them?
What new actions must be taken to make the strategy viable?
FIVE MAJOR GROUPS OF ACTIVITIES HR DEPARTMENT MUST FOCUS ON WHILE
1. Planning human resources: job analysis, hr planning enables the determination of
demand and supply of various types of human resources within the firm. Results of
hr planning + job analysis shape the overall human resources strategies in the short
run and facilitate employment and training planning.
2. Attracting human resources: recruiting nd selecting workers, u shud meet all legal
requirements (ex: equal employment opportunity laws ect..) recruitment process of
finding and attracting capable job applicants. Selection process is the process where
u decide which should be hired and match job requirements with an applicants
capabilities. 3. Placing, developing, and evaluating human resources: orient new employees to
organizations policies and procedure. Employees must be trained and put into their
position at the job. Performance appraisal: gives them feedback on their
performance and help hr assess future training needs.
4. Motivating employees: receive compensation and employee benefits ( ex:
Canada/quebec pension plan) some are voluntary(ex:dental plans) employee
motiviation must always be modified to maximize performance.
5. Maintaining high performance: assure theres good employee relations like good
communication between managers and employees. Make sure employees keep
performing at max. Level.
Commitment strategy: organization strategy that attempts to forge a commonality
of interest between the organization (often symbolized by the management) and its
Compliance strategy: focus is on achieving labour efficiencies through control over
labour costs, use of a temporary or contingent workforce and maximum control
over processes and using it as a key competitive weapon.
Paternalistic strategy: some minimal degree of training and competency building
through training , job rotation etc. is done with the objective of achieving flexibility
of staffing and task assignments and maintaining workforce stability.
Collaborative strategy: relies on highly skilled contract labour to supply the needed
specialized by hiring them on an “as-needed” basis or retaining them on an “on-call”
STEP 6: REVIEW AND EVALUATION OF HUMAN RESOURCES STRATEGIES
Reactive: a management approach wherein decision makers respond to problems rather
then anticipate them.
Proactive: a management approach wherein decision makers anticipate problems and
likely challenges and take action before a problem occurs.
THE SERVICE ROLE OF THE HUMAN RESOURCE DEPARTMENT
Staff authority: authority to advise but not to direct, others.
Line authority: authority to make decisions about production, performance and people.
Functional authority: authority that allows staff experts to make decisions and take
actions normally reserved for line managers. (LOOK AT FIGURE 1-14)
Organizational culture: the core beliefs and assumptions that are widely shared by all
organizational members. Organizations that are DEFENDERS: prefer to maintain a secure position in relatively
stable products instead of expanding into unchartered territories.
PROSPECTORS: emphasize growth, entrepreneurship to be the 1 players on the market
or selling a new product even if some of these efforts fail.
TO WORK in hr manager must:
1. Business mastery : know the business of