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The human resources (HR) function within organizations has expanded beyond administrative and operational roles to include more strategic responsibilities. This change is requiring HR practitioners to take on new types of responsibilities in the area of organizational development--responsibilities that include redesigning jobs and work, developing performance management systems, managing change, and designing and restructuring organizations. Four strategies for integrating human resources management (HRM) and organizational development (OD)--job analysis, work redesign, team-building, and change management--are presented in this article along with recommendations on how to integrate HRM and OD to enhance the performance and capacity of the organization and its workforce.
Like the library profession, the human resources profession is no stranger to change. Shifting workforce and labor market demographics, technology, globalization, economic uncertainty, and increased competition are factors requiring redesign of the human resources function to meet new organizational demands.
In most organizations, human resources (HR) departments have traditionally fulfilled two primary roles--administrative and operational-handling transactional activities such as benefits and payroll processing and employee status changes that have been the core activities of the HR department. While these roles remain important and necessary, technology and outsourcing have allowed HR departments to achieve efficiencies in managing the various transaction-based activities of human resources (Drinan, 2002b).
With administrative and operational efficiencies in place, the attention of HR professionals has turned to other aspects of human resources management. Faced with rapid and constant change, many organizations are seeking improvements in workforce productivity in order to maintain a competitive advantage and, as a result, turning to HR professionals to redesign the HR function in fundamental ways. The end result is that human resources' newest primary role is a strategic one as HR evolves from "being solely a provider of transactional services to an expert consultant," according to Margaret Butteriss, editor of Re-Inventing HR: Changing Roles to Create the High-Performance Organization (1998, p. 41).
This reinvention requires HR practitioners to continue to manage administrative and operational activities while adding new responsibilities for developing and managing strategic initiatives that enhance the performance and capacity of the organization and its workforce. "HR is increasingly becoming an important part of executive planning and actions and far more of an integral part of management than ever before," notes Butteriss. "We see such things as performance management, creating a high-performance organization, improving organizational and individual competence, creating flexible work teams, and satisfying customers' needs becoming a major part of the strategic planning of senior management" (1998, pp. ix-x).
Within the last decade HR's administrative and record keeper roles have begun to evolve into a more strategic one, which requires HR practitioners to use their knowledge of workforce trends coupled with knowledge of the business of the organization to work closely with senior management to develop long-term plans that link HR goals to organizational goals (Meisinger, 2003).
When this happens--when the goals of the HR department purposefully support overall organizational goals--the integration of human resources management (HRM) and organizational development (OD) has occurred. Integrating OD concepts and techniques into HRM activities through such strategies as job analysis, work redesign, team building, and change management serve the purpose of enhancing the performance and capacity of the organization and its workforce and ensures that HR practitioners are proactively meeting the needs of the organization (Meisinger, 2003).
HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT IN LIBRARIES
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), human resources management is "the design of formal systems in an organization to ensure the effective and efficient use of human talent to accomplish the organizational goals" (SHRM, 2002a, p. 2). Like other organizations, libraries of all types have traditional HRM activities such as recruitment and selection, compensation, benefits, training and development, health and safety, employee and labor relations, and, in some libraries, student employment or volunteer management. Within research, national, academic, public, and special libraries, the human resources function is structured in a variety of ways that reflect such factors as the size of the library and its view and philosophy of human resources. For some libraries the HR department of the parent organization or institution provides some or all HR functions for the library. Some libraries have an internal HR department and staff devoted to handling all or some of the library's HR functions in cooperation with the HR department of the parent institution. In other libraries individual positions may be dedicated to HR functions. The most common position titles are HR or personnel officer, staff development officer, or organizational development officer. From library to library, the level of the position varies from line librarian or professional, to department manager, to associate or assistant director, while the reporting relationship also varies.
Whatever structure exists to support the human resources management needs of the library, many human resources departments and professionals in libraries--like their HR counterparts in other organizations--are playing increasingly strategic roles within library organizations by redesigning jobs and work, developing performance management systems, managing change, and designing and restructuring organizations. Such a shift from administrative and operational activities like approving job requisitions, reviewing job descriptions, and processing employee requests to these more strategic functions is most evident by the nature of the work of library HR professionals, work that increasingly reflects organizational development activities. In other cases, libraries of all types are working with organizational development consultants who provide services that may …