Y CHAPTER FOURTEEN CONCLUSION: CHALLENGES FOR PUBLIC AND NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS. What to Expect

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1 Y CHAPTER FOURTEEN CONCLUSION: CHALLENGES FOR PUBLIC AND NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS T he chapters in Part One of this book addressed how society and workplaces have changed and what the strategic human resources management (SHRM) implications of those changes are for public and nonprofi t organizations. The chapters in Part Two focused on HRM techniques and practices: job analysis, recruitment and selection, performance evaluation, compensation, benefits, training and development, labor - management relations and collective bargaining, as well as information technology and human resources information systems (HRIS). This chapter summarizes the main points addressed in earlier chapters and discusses how SHRM can be used to help organizations cope with the challenges that lie ahead. What to Expect Public and nonprofit organizations are facing reduced budgets that lower funding for social services, health care, education, legal services, and arts and culture programs for the foreseeable future. Instead of expanding programs and hiring new employees, they are facing reductions in force. To cope, they must be prepared to invest time and money in training their current staff. For many agencies, there is likely to be an increase in the use 395

2 396 Human Resources Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations of contingency workers, workers employed on a temporary or part - time basis, and services contracted out to independent contractors. New cultural and social changes are affecting the workplace. The numbers of female, minority, disabled, and older workers have increased substantially. There may be four generations of employees working for an agency or department. Many of their values are the same as to what they may expect in regard to interesting and challenging work; however, how they work and their comfort with technology may be different. Their learning styles may also be different. Not only have the public and nonprofit workforces become more demographically diverse, but the values of employees have also changed. They want challenging jobs, and they want to exercise discretion in those jobs. Jobs are changing, and with those changes arise quality - of - life and quality - of - work issues. Employees want to satisfy their important personal needs by working in the organization. In addition to the desire for more autonomy, employees are looking for a better fit between work and family responsibilities. They are seeking alternative work schedules such as flextime, compressed schedules, and part - time employment opportunities so they can spend more time with their families. The legal environment has changed as well. Public and nonprofi t agencies must comply with federal, state, and local laws; with executive orders; with the rules and regulations promulgated by administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and U.S. Department of Labor; and with federal and state court decisions. Equal employment opportunity, compensation, labor relations, and employer contributions to benefits such as retirement plans and pensions, workers compensation, and unemployment insurance are regulated by law. The legal environment must be monitored because it is always changing. Some of the legislation that was pending before Congress and in state and federal courts at the time this edition was written may become law and change the legal environment. Technology has changed many jobs and has led to new skill requirements and organizational structures. Changes in information technology have led to modifications in job knowledge and responsibilities. Earlier chapters provided some examples of the uses of technology and how it has and will continue to affect the workplace. The increased use of information technology has changed the way organizations are structured and the way work is organized and managed. The use of technology can be exciting, but there are some caveats of which employers need to be aware. To eliminate any gaps in gender, race,

3 Conclusion 397 or age, employers should require technology training for all employees in appropriate job categories. The training programs should be monitored to ensure that all eligible employees participate. Training in computer skills is not enough; stereotypes that suggest that women, persons of color, individuals with disabilities, and older workers are incapable of learning new technology should be purged from the workplace. All of these forces have implications for managing public and nonprofit organizations. Many jobs have been changed or eliminated, and employees must constantly upgrade their knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOCs). In some instances, upgrading incumbent employees KSAOCs is not enough; organizations must recruit and hire people with advanced skills. In order to survive, public and nonprofi t organizations need employees who can help them provide high - quality mission - related services. To be assured of this, they must link their HRM functions to the short - and long - term priorities of the organization. Public and nonprofit organizations are subject to the capriciousness of funding, financial support, and market positions, in addition to public and political support that often vacillates. The demands placed on public and nonprofit organizations keep changing. Across both sectors is recognition that organizations need to restructure their HRM systems because they are often unable to attract and retain energetic and competent personnel. They need to reengineer management systems to best use their workforces to facilitate improvements in the quality of their services and workforce productivity. Alternative service delivery programs require new skills. Employees and organizations can no longer possess tunnel vision or overspecialization. To be effective requires a breadth of knowledge, an interest in learning, and a willingness to tap the knowledge of others (Bozeman & Straussman, 1990). The immediate SHRM implication is that agencies must identify the KSAOCs needed both now and in the future, and they must audit their organizations to determine whether incumbent employees already possess those KSAOCs or can develop them through training and development activities. If neither of these is the case, then HRM departments must work with department managers and line personnel to develop recruitment and selection strategies. Managers and employees need to think about the future and prepare for impending changes. The requirement for flexibility and speed of response to market changes is likely to continue. This has implications for the practice of SHRM. Agencies need to invest in their workforces and ensure that their members have sufficient security. Employees who fear losing their jobs will

4 398 Human Resources Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations resist innovations. Instead, agencies should provide learning environments, invest in development opportunities, and train and retrain their employees when dictated by changes in technology or demands for service. As Cohen and Eimicke (2002, p. 11) noted, the effective public manager of the twenty - first century will need to be creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial, as well as a lifelong learner. Stability, complacency and routine will increasingly be replaced by change, new problems, and new solutions. Get used to it. Challenges of Strategic Human Resources Management The demographic characteristics of the labor force have changed. There have been increases in the number of women, racial and ethnic minorities, older employees, disabled, and homosexual and transgendered individuals in the workforce. Organizations must recognize underlying attributes or nonobservable characteristics, such as different learning styles, different working styles and values, and different types of personalities, as well as differences in culture, socioeconomic background, educational background, occupational background, and professional orientation. To accommodate the changing workforce and to minimize confl ict, organizations should promote a greater awareness of diversity issues and cultural differences. It is also important that they audit their human resources functions to ensure that they are free from bias. Recruitment selection, training and development, performance evaluation, and compensation and benefits should be administered in an equitable fashion. To avoid discriminating against the disabled, the essential functions of positions and the KSAOCs necessary for successful performance must be identified. Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, employers can no longer force employees to retire when they reach a certain age as long as they are still capable of performing their jobs. In fact, the U.S. Congress is encouraging individuals to work longer and delay retirement, thereby delaying when they will receive Social Security benefi ts. Fewer employees retiring at early ages combined with fl atter organizational structures results in fewer promotional opportunities and career plateauing. To retain a motivated and energetic workforce, new types of career enhancement opportunities need to be developed to challenge employees. To older employees who are reluctant to retire, organizations may want to offer part - time work, phased retirements, or early retirement buyouts.

5 Conclusion 399 Families are another characteristic that differentiate workers. Many employees in the public and nonprofit sector are parents who need greater flexibility in work schedules and work patterns to accommodate family responsibilities. Flexible work arrangements are needed for parents to care for young children or in some cases for employees to care for their parents. More opportunities should be available for part - time work, and there should be greater variety in benefits programs, such as child care and elder care. Benefits packages should recognize alternative families and different priorities. Alternative scheduling now being used in many public and nonprofi t organizations includes job sharing, flextime, and a compressed workweek (a full week s work is compressed into fewer than fi ve days). Working at home or telecommuting are other options. Change in Skill Requirements Organizations need to acquire the skills necessary for coping with the challenges brought on by today s competitiveness. More and more jobs in the public and nonprofit sector are of a professional nature, requiring higher levels of education and fewer jobs requiring routine tasks. Technology has taken on much of the workplace s mentally and physically repetitive tasks. Jobs today require employees to possess greater skills as they assume more challenging responsibilities. Organizations need to acquire the skills necessary for coping with the challenges brought on by today s competitiveness. Accompanying the change in competitiveness are changes in the way organizations are evaluated. Critical performance standards are effi ciency, defined as the ability to produce higher volume with the same or fewer resources; quality, defi ned as matching products or services to a human need with a consistent conformance to standards; variety, defi ned as providing choices to suit diverse tastes and needs; customization, defi ned as tailoring goods and services to individual clientele; convenience, defined as developing user - friendly products and services and delivering them with high levels of customer satisfaction; and timeliness, defined as delivering innovations to customers, making continuous improvement, and developing new applications quickly (Carnevale & Carnevale, 1993).

6 400 Human Resources Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations These new performance standards require improved skills and competencies for employees throughout the organization, regardless of position. Skills deemed to be necessary include the academic basics, such as proficiency in reading, writing, and computation; self -management skills, such as self - esteem, motivation, goal - setting ability, and willingness to participate in career development activities; social skills, such as interpersonal, negotiation, and teamwork skills; communication skills, such as the ability to listen and communicate clearly; and infl uencing skills, or leadership abilities (Carnevale & Carnevale, 1993). Today s jobs require an educated workforce with advanced knowledge. Training needs to be continuous; alternative training methods such as interactive videos and individual training modules can be used. Employees need to be trained not just for the positions they already hold but also for future jobs and KSAOCs. Training must be available for all employees regardless of their level in the organization. As skill requirements increase, job tasks often become less specific. In such situations, job requirements become more flexible and overlapping, making the development of standardized examinations more difficult. Due to changes in the workplace and the rapid changes in technology that necessitate a high degree of change and evolution, it will become necessary to develop selection examinations that capture a variety of KSAOCs. More accurate selection techniques need to be used, using many of the advanced techniques identified in Chapter Seven, to evaluate not only technical skills but also interpersonal or leadership skills. Selection techniques will have to assess many of the skills associated with organizational citizen behaviors, adaptability, and flexibility. Employees will need to possess initiative, judgment, decision - making skills, leadership abilities, interpersonal skills, and other competencies often neglected during the selection process. Conclusion The underlying belief of strategic human resources management is the conviction that public and nonprofit employees are important assets to an organization and critical for the organization s success. Human resources representatives should be part of the strategic planning process, along with representatives from other departments. After strategies are formulated, human resources specialists, department directors, line managers, employees, and, in unionized organizations, union representatives should collaborate with one another to develop programs, policies, job tasks, and responsibilities that are compatible with the organization s overall strategies.

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