HRD, HRD Systems, HRD Sub-Systems, Functioning of HRD, Measures to Improve HRD Functions, MS-22

Define HRD and list out various HRD systems and sub-systems. Describe the functioning of HRD in your organization or any organization you are familiar with. Suggest measures to improve HRD functions. Briefly describe the organization you are referring to.

In 1970 Len Nadler published his now-classic book Developing Human Resources, in which he coined the term "human resource development" (HRD). The term HRD provided a conceptual umbrella under which the field began to unify, using the three-fold notion of training, education, and development. HRD provided purpose and direction for the continued growth of the field: organized learning to provide the possibility of performance change. It further idententified a core discipline from which a field of study could develop: adult learning in the workplace. McLagans HRD studies in 1983 and 1989 reflected a shift taking place in HRD work. In 1983 the assumptions in the competency models focused on change in technology. In 1987 Patricia McLagan proposed the following narrative definition of. HRD:

HRD is the integrated use of training and development, career development, and organization development to improve individual effectiveness

In 1989 there were signs of an emerging concern for economic impact. The field began to move from focusing to what is performed to what is produced. One of the forces in 1989 was an increased use of systems approaches in HRD. Another shift in the field that took place was that the focus on individual learning was shifting to organizational learning as the primary activity and goal of the field. Patricia McLagan's role and competency study Models for HRD Practice described in 1989 a broadened scope of various roles in the competency models. The definition of HRD expanded beyond training and organization development. The move was toward HRD responsiveness and relevance.

Arriving at the final countdown to the 21st century HRD remains an important force for the future. In her article on HRD competencies and future trends in HRD Pat McLagan (1996) identified nine important roles for HRD practioners to perform. As HRD practitioners create rather than just respond, they will seek leverage and ways to help managers, teams, and individuals take charge of their own human resource practices. According to McLagan "HRD may be the only function in a clear position to represent human ethics and morality".

From an analysis of the HRD experiences of companies, the source of inspiration for introducing new HRD systems seem to come from one or more of the following:
1)   To support the structural and strategic changes made by the organisation to orchestrate its growth and expansion (BEML, IOC, SBI, L&T, ECC, Jyoti, CGL, TVS, Voltas, SFL, BOB)
2)    Recognition by the top management of the importance of HRD and their responsibility to promote it for the good of the organisation (L&T, SBI, SBP and Voltas)
3)   To prepare employees to respond to the increasing problems faced by the organization both internally (dissatisfaction, delays, fall in productivity etc.) and externally (high competition and falling market situation etc.) IOC, BHEL, TVS and SAIL.
4)   To keep the image of the company up by adding such modern instruments to its structure. From this, it may be concluded that most companies seem to perceive HRD as an instrument to orchestrate the growth of the organisation by preparing is people to strive for/or facilitate such growth or at least maintain internal stability.

Operating Mode
Having decided to strengthen the HRD function, how does one go about doing it? There are many ways of doing it. These include:
i.   Using the existing Personnel Department (SAIL).
ii.   Strengthening the Personal Department by equipping with new competencies (Voltas, CGL). iii.   Training all managers and making them recognise their role in HRD without adding any new
department or roles.
iv.   Adding the HRD role to the other roles of the Chief Executive or some top level managers. v.   Using task-forces (SAIL, partially SBI, BHML, L&T, ECC, CGL). vi.   Setting up HRD departments or eduivalents (IOC, SBI, SBP, BEML, BHEL, L&T, ECC, Jyoti, TVS,
vii.   Creating a new role of HRD managers, or a combinations of the above and more.
The most frequently used mode seems to be by setting up a new HRD department. Only Voltas, SAIL and CGL seem to be exceptions. These organisations have not set up any new HRD departments but enriched the existing ones (for example, in the case of Voltas the manpower department unit was given HRD role). All others have set up either HRD departments or OD units. Of the fourteen companies, only three chose the operating mode of using the existing personnel departments for HRD work. The only organisation that did not make any substantial changes in the structure of their personnel. Department is SAIL. But by the time SAIL started working on the new appraisal system and priorities for action (an OD intervention) they already had a strong Personnel Department with HRD orientations at every level. They even had OD managers and fairly good training centres. On top of it, the Chairman himself is a person committed to a HRD philosophy. It is only when such favourable conditions existing personnel departments seem to be viable operating mode for initiating HRD activities.

Use of task-forces appears to be another effective way of implementing HRD activities. More than 50% of the organizations seem to use them. In L&T. ECC, CGL, BEML, SAIL implementation tasks-forces have played an important role in designing and monitoring the implementation. The tasks-force consisted mostly to senior level line managers.

From the experience of these organizations it may be concluded that setting up a new HRD department or recruiting a HRD manager and using task-forces consisting of line managers for implementation appear to be the more commonly used strategies. It may be noted here that using internal task-force has been found to be useful strategy for bringing about organization change using performance appraisals (See Butler and Yorks, 1984) Integrating Role

The creation of a new HRD department or new function of HRD can be called as a step in the direction of "differentiation" using the model of Lawrence and Lorch (1967). When such differentiation of task and functions is made there is also a need to have integrating mechanisms. An analysis of the experience of those organisations that have set up new HRD departments indicates that a senior corporate level executive dealing with personnel function of the entire company seems to have been assigned the integrating role to play.
In Voltas, SAIL and CGL, where there is no separate HRD department or functionary, the need for integration is much less as HRD is an integral part of the personnel function. In other organisations, normally a Corporate Director General Manager seems to play that role. In IOC, it is the Director Personnel who plays the role, as both HRD and personnel departments report to him. In SBI, it is the Chief General Manager, Personnel and HRD as well as the Deputy Managing Director, Personnel, who integrate. In SBP, it is the General Manager Planning and the MD himself. In BEML, it is the GM Human Resource and Director Personnel. In L&T, it is the Vice President Personnel and OD. In Jyoti, the Managing Director himself performs this role. In Bank of Baroda, it is the DGM Personnel. In L&T, ECC, the DGM, Personnel and OD report to the MD. Thus the integrating function seems to lie with a top level manager. This could be an advantage as well as a disadvantage for HRD. The advantage is that the HRD functionaries have access to the top. The disadvantage is that if the top manager does not understand or believe in HRD, he may not pay any attention to it and discourage the function.
Facilitation of Change by External Agents

By and large commercial organisations tend to initiate change processes only of they find the change as needed or useful for achieving their practices. However, eternal consultants seem to play an important role in identifying the nature of change required and for providing directions. Out of the 14 organisations, more than 50% had external consultants. They suggested that HRD function may be initiated. For example, in BEML it was recommended as a part of reorganization for expansion. In State Bank of India and its associates it was session on HRD led by an external consultant that stimulated thinking and subsequently made a part of a reorganization recommended by consultants. L&T used consultants to review the performance appraisal system but the consultants felt the need to have an integrated HRD. In ECC, the personnel function was strengthened as suggested by consultants.

Another interesting point to note is that most of the organisations have used or are using external consultants to facilitate the process of implementation. The only exceptions seem to be bank of Baroda, Voltas and Sundaram fasteners. Innovations in HRD Sub-systems

The experiences of these 14 organisations also indicate some evidence of learning from one or other, making modifications and evolving own systems to suit one's culture.

L&T is the first to start an integrated HRDS and L&T's HRD system has inspired several other organisations. After studying L&T's and other systems some of the organisations have evolved their own. For example, in the appraisal systems used by these 14 organisations, some of the development objectives and components are common: Most of them have self-appraisal, performance planning through task identification and target setting, managerial qualities, performance review discussion or counselling and identification of training needs (e.g. L&T, SAIL, SBI, BEML, Voltas, ECC, SFL etc,). ECC which became a part of L&T a few years ago developed a system somewhat different from L&T. While developing the new system they have learnt from the experiences of the parent company. The system is titled as 'Performance Analysis and Development System' and not an appraisal system. Some of the organisations have preferred to use the term performance review discussions rather than calling them "Performance Counselling" sessions. This is because they found that the terms "Counselling" itself
had negative connotations in the mind of managers (e.g. ECC, SFL, SAIL etc.). SFL has even introduced a third persons (a representative of HRD department) presence in the review discussions. Similarly, SBI and SBP introduced many innovations in their OD efforts, for example, their managers-to-messenger programme. In this programme a higher officer visits a branch and meets all the staff and spends a full day understanding their problems, and helping them to design action plans to solve their branch's problems. This develop team spirit, branch-level problem solving, upward communication and a feeling of being cared-for by the organisation. Another innovation made by SBI was to train a group of branch managers in some of the circles as OD facilitators. The assumption was that after a group of branch manager are trained, they can become internal OD consultants and any branch manager could invite them to help him improve the branch effectiveness. This process becomes a mutual learning experience. It worked better in one place than in another. It did not work in those places where it was not pursued well by the circle management. Similarly, introduction of branch level training by a mobile team trainer and helping in budget preparation are two other interesting innovations introduced by SBI.
"Priorities for Action" is in itself a new model set up by SAIL. CGL did a through analysis of the factors that contribute to team spirit and are in the process of incorporating the same in their appraisal system. Using simulation techniques like in-basket for potential developed is another contribution by CGL. "Instrumented Feedback" to develop managerial competencies has been attempted by L&T and BEML. New forms of reward management is also being thought of by some of these companies.