This paper is intended to be a reflection of my learning experiences so far and there is no question that that the course has left a deep impact on my critical understanding of human capital as a strategic asset to an organization. We had clear expectations from the class and it was all well laid out in the syllabus. As future managers, we learnt how to align HR with business strategies, understand impact of external and internal environments, design HR systems to promote positive behaviors among employees, establish staffing and compensation systems to attract, retain and motivate best employees, understand employee relations, manage change during difficult times and leverage these strategic HR skills that add critical value to corporate decision-making. The recommended textbook was very practical and explained the importance and application of HR practices as they stand in the real world. Instead of dwelling into the theories and concepts with no clue about their intended application, the book explained the reading goals of each chapter, their strategic importance, techniques, best practices, various perspectives, emerging trends and challenges in a global environment. The use of real-world examples along with the case studies really closed the learning loop.  The professor was very knowledgeable, highly motivated and inspiring. He was very receptive and understanding whenever you approach him with any questions or concerns. The learning aspects were unique from a traditional setting in that the students took the collective responsibility to learn by sharing their individual experiences, knowledge, skills under the expert guidance of the Professor. I really felt that this approach left memorable experiences for each of us. The class setting fostered and promoted a collective atmosphere where ideas, thoughts, criticisms, were freely exchanged leading to desired consequences. The Socratic style of teaching helped us to critically reflect on the topics, engage in team coherency and facilitated mutual learning. The organizational practice cases made us understand the prevailing practices in various organizations, HR situations, problems and issues as they emerge.  The case or “Story” presentation made us think critically, explore options and address situations with specific solutions.

But as we went along, every session turned out to be exciting, rich with individual’s experiences and critical thoughts about the topics discussed. What I felt great about the class was the constant feedback and review exercises we had and the expert facilitation by the professor.

A brief synopsis of the topics we learnt includes:

  1. Employee Selection – Strategic importance of selecting right individuals to fit the job and the organization, designing such systems, techniques for assessing job applicants, legal considerations and challenges with recruitment.
  2. Performance Management – Strategic importance, Responsibilities of HR triad for performance management, ways to measure performance and feedback, appraisal formats, rating processes and current issues
  3. Performance based Pay – Strategic importance, design choices, implementation of performance based pay, recognition, rewards, merit pay, types of incentive pay, global variations and challenges
  4. Fair treatment and Legal Compliance – Strategic importance, perceptions of fairness, employment laws, dispute resolution techniques and current issues
  5. HR Planning for alignment and change – planning process, scan and assess environment, various HR objectives and metrics, develop HR plans, implement action plans and address current issues

Every topic that I learnt could be related to my own work place and seem to blend in with my organizational culture.  Human resource management has been changing over the decades and new trends are emerging showing the strategic importance of HR (Human Capital) to drive competitive advantage. The roles and functions of the HR Triad – Line Managers, HR Resource and Employees are critical for any organizational success. The steps to selecting the right employee; performance management and evaluation; relative importance of merit, ability and seniority when promoting employees; job analysis and its value; labor laws under the EEO, Affirmative action, managing diversity, talent management and retention; employee motivation, accountability and loyalty; ethical and moral issues; fairness and equality; discrimination and diversity are of utmost importance to any one who is managing employees.

I even had the opportunity to discuss my work-related issues with the professor to gain his expert advice and seek remedies to the problems I am facing at my work place. I was really happy with the conversation I had and planning on putting into action the valuable suggestions made by the professor. My work-place experiences dealt with most of the issues an individual would face diverse organizations.

Overall, the course was very informative, instilled critical thinking and developed the competencies required to manage people in an effective way. One added benefit was the formulation of strategies to establish workplaces that are efficient, effective and meet the organizational goals. Every Organization must fully utilize the unique and individual characteristics and strengths that individual workers offer.

HR should plan for the future, identify current and future needs, train workforce to face the next biggest challenges. Astute organizational behavior combined with effective HRM should result in greater business effectiveness.