Using Information in Human Resources Essay
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Name: Ashleigh Carroll
Submission Date: 08/12/2014
Word count: 2,106
1.1 Objectives of Study
1.2 Boundaries and Constraints
1.3 Background to study
2.0 Literature Review
2.1 Literature Review Summary
3.3 Primary Research
3.3 Secondary Research
3.4 Ethical Issues
Would implementing a new HRIS improve efficiency of HR related tasks, at Selby College, specifically in relation to data collection and analysis for accurate reporting.
This proposal will examine the underlying issues of the current Human Resources Information System at Selby College. Through a rigorous process undertaken by research of qualitative and quantitative nature, including questionnaires and individual interviews, the current effectiveness of the system will be investigated, presented back to key stakeholders, with recommendations. Introduction 1.
1.1 Objectives of Study
The aim of this research proposal is to identify potential benefits to the introduction of a new of updating of the current of the HRIS at Selby College, specifically focusing on the role of HR tasks and relating the importance of HR data and reporting to the Colleges quality assurance checks, specifically Ofsted inspections. It will examine the argument that through its capacity to facilitate better HRM, the implementation could aid achievement of the organisations strategic goals. In relation to Selby College this would mean ensuring we are meeting expectations outlined by Ofsted. This will be undertaken by assessing primary and secondary research methods, evaluating existing literature and researching existing methodology.
1.2 Boundaries and Constraints
The proposal will be presented to the board of Governors, Principal and Deputy Principal. The practicality of obtaining an increased budget or funding to the current HRIS may not seem at the forefront of the current budget cut crisis at the College, or in need of immediate development. This will be offset by linking the importance of an effective HRIS with the Mission and Goals of the College and participating departments, including key strategic benefits (See appendix 1.0)
1.3 Background to Study.
In order to recognise the need for an improved system, it is would be beneficial to highlight the extenuating factors generating concern that the College current HRIS is potentially not sufficient. Ofsted: The Handbook for the inspection of further education and skills (Published: October 2014): Effectiveness of leadership and management. “Improve teaching and learning through rigorous performance management and appropriate professional development.”
In order to deliver this statement, major improvements need to be made within the HR function. After conducting a health check on the system, it became evident that the system was not accurately reporting does not currently have the capability to track performance of staff sufficiently. Examples of proposed improvements include, online Professional Development Reviews speeding up the process and allowing HR to report more accurately on performance management issues. Online recruitment may reduce Agency spend, therefore allowing more budget to be allocated to candidate attraction. Attracting high performing candidates is a key focus area for development of the workforce.
2.0 Literature Review Summary
The purpose of the literature review is to discuss key points of relevant literature identified in the title. It aims to scrutinize and analyse the concepts and methodology associated with implementation of HRIS. From 2005, the importance of Quality Assurance has been a key focus for FE Colleges. The Learning Skills Council (LSC) set out a 5 year plan to ensure improvements were made. Highlighted as a key development point to ensure improvement was data collection. The outcome was that there should be a clear development plan to ensure that “all colleges have access to – possibly through shared services – state of the art management information systems.” The Learning Skills Council (2005) “Good quality data is essential to the effective management of colleges.” The focus on the quality of data is heavily stressed, specifically on the importance of the Colleges responsibility to collecting and collating. “Each college would be expected to implement high quality, auditable information processes, which deliver timely, accurate and complete returns on an automatic basis.”
Homes (2000) proposes organisations need to consider if a HRIS will provide a set of three critical success factor features which have been identified as improving the efficiency of HR through a HRIS including infrastructure of self-service communication, the manipulation of database information to changes in organisational design and ease of report problem solving. However, Dench, Perryman and Giles (2004) identified two main critical success factor features. Firstly, employers should focus on a set of basic skills a HRIS will provide variously referred to as generic, behavioural, personal, transferable and soft. These relate to a HRIS ability to operate in a dynamic workplace, as a standalone or companion system with other departments systems. Secondly, the HRIS key capability skills. These refer to the ability to apply basic HRIS skills in a given context, although the acquisition of basic HRIS skills does not necessarily mean that the HRIS can apply them in a practical situation, which is evident at Selby College currently, with the inability to report upon basic workforce matters for example headcount and Whole Time Equivalent of staff.
The importance of accurate data relies heavily on the integration and effective use of a HRIS. “Information systems especially developed for human resource management are an integrated system necessary to collect, record, store, manage, deliver and present data for human resource and hence promotes effectiveness of human the resource system”. (Aggarwal, Kapoor 2012) Michael J. Kavanagh Etal (2011) go even further than this and suggest that “more consistent processes will contribute to enhanced organisational performance.”
Linking this back to the importance of data collection in FE organisations Ofsted “The Handbook for the inspection of further education and skills (January 2014)” have stressed the importance of “effectiveness of leadership and management” They state that this should be implemented through “Improving teaching and learning through rigorous performance management and appropriate professional development” In addition to the evident benefits in relation to accurate reporting and data collection there may also be hidden benefits to implementation that “include employee satisfaction with streamlined and efficient HR processes and freeing up HR from routine, administrative matters to focus on strategic goals.” Michael J. Kavanagh Etal (2011)
The methodology chosen and how it links to the objectives outlined, is as follows:
Objective 1 (Primary Research Methods)
Questionnaires distributed to a stratified random sample of staff, surrounding their attitudes towards implementing a new HRIS to improve the efficiency of HR in relation to reporting and data collection at Selby College. Ensuring that there has been quantitative data included in the report.
Individual interviews with core HR system users and stake holders to determine fundamental requirements required for improvements. This will ensure that qualitative data can also be considered and presented back to the stake holders.
Relate the conclusions identified from objectives and make recommendations for action.
An exploratory and an explanatory study will be utilised within this report, adopting a design school strategy. Such a logical approach may be considered formal; balance will be restored within the report via quantitative and qualitative data obtained through the design and use of a questionnaire, being a primary research method.
The evaluation of secondary data including journals and books will provide high quality data, assisting to triangulate the report’s findings.
3.1 Primary Research.
The research will mainly compromise of primary research through the use of a case study at Selby College by the means of quantitative research, a questionnaire and qualitative individual interviews. (See appendix 3.0 and 3.1) Collis and Hussey (2009) define a questionnaire as ‘a method for collecting primary data in which a sample of respondents are asked a list of carefully structured questions chosen after considerable testing, with a view to eliciting reliable responses’. The quantitative questionnaire will have a cover letter (see appendix 2.0) attached, briefly describing the purpose of the research, with the structure of the questionnaire comprising of multiple choice questions allowing respondents to choose from predetermined answers. The letter has been designed to encourage participants to complete the questionnaire.
Distribution of the Qualitative questionnaire will occur within the workplace face to face as it encourages a higher response rate (Collis and Hussey, 2009). In relation to potential disadvantages of the chosen primary methods, there of course is a general theme in relation the use of any questionnaires. Denscombe (2003) states that questionnaires may potentially limit the ability to check the truthfulness of answers, but as they are relatively easy to arrange and can be distributed without prior notice and considering that a vast amount of data can be collected for a relatively low cost they are a very useful data collection tool. Although interviews need to be set up with Collins (2010) even arguing that interview are time consuming and expensive. They have been used as a quantitative research method in the project as by arranging interviews only with admin managers of the HR system there will only be a maximum of five interviews to arrange at a relatively low cost.
Focus groups were a consideration for a primary research method, utilising moderators (from HR) but in agreement with Hatch (2010) “Moderators may take too much control and limit the responses” In relation to efficiency, there are minimal staff within the organisation who would be considered a suitable candidate for the role of moderator. There are two methods which can be used to collect and analyse data both quantitative and qualitative approaches (Fisher, 2007). Saunders et al (2007) states ‘quantitative is predominantly used as a synonym for any data collection technique or data analysis procedure that generates or uses numerical data. In contrast qualitative is used predominantly as a synonym for any data collection technique or data analysis procedure that generate non-numerical data’. The focus of the primary research will be to identify potential areas for improvement, or the need for a new HRIS, by considering the needs of all users of the system.
This will then link back to “organisations strategic goals.” For example by asking members of staff if the current system is sufficient for recording their CPD records, we can link findings to our strategic goals. If the analysis of the questionnaire found that, with the current system CPD recording is not sufficient and staff cannot record CPD efficiently, management cannot create a link between CPD and the effects this has on Teaching and Learning. (A clear strategic goal) This in turn, would identify a clear need for the development of this particular aspect of the current HRIS, or if this isn’t an option – a new system. In relation to the choice of the primary research methods, it was an important factor within this research proposal to consider the needs of one of the key stakeholders.
Therefore, making sure the quantitative and qualitative data is collected as easily as possible. Once the data is collected it is proposed to present this data graphically. Cousin 2009 states “once you have done your classifying and counting you present it graphically to give yourself and the reader an “at a glance” sense of the scale and density of the issue at hand” Bowman (1992) indicates a factor that the “audience’s knowledge and limitations” should be considered when presenting data. Therefore, considering the diagrammatical presentation of data I must consider presenting the information the simple format and ensure that the data is not too convoluted, allowing clarity and confidence in the data for the reader. Chosen for the quantitative data reporting was a simple bar graph. For qualitative a descriptive table was used. This is a common reporting tool.
See appendix 4.0 – 4.1 3.2 Secondary Research
It is often difficult to access the reliability of secondary data sources as it can be hard to access the original methodology (Minocha, 2006). Therefore, secondary research will consist of Selby College data collected through reports generated from the current HR system without any modifications or updates. The data collected will be the HR system health check report that informs the user of the current use of the system. It will reflect individual staff files and data collected against their file. It is evident from the report (See appendix 5.0) that we are currently lacking essential data for Academic staff at Selby College.
3.4 Ethical Issues
Wells (2006) defines, “Ethics in terms of a code of behaviour appropriate to academics and the conduct of research.” Confidentiality and anonymity have also been shown, to be important in terms of gaining access to organisations and individuals.
“Once promises about confidentiality and anonymity have been given it is of great importance to make sure that these are maintained.”
There are a number of considerations, this report will respectively abide by including:-
Avoid over-zealous questioning and pressing the participant for a response, within the questionnaire, which may make the situation stressful for the participant. Making clear to the questionnaire participant, they have the right to decline to respond to any question asked. Avoid asking questions, which are in any way demeaning to the participant.
Therefore it is important to ensure these ethical assurances are maintained, as by allowing the participating organisation to be, “Identified by those who can ‘piece together’ the characteristics which you reveal may result in embarrassment and also in access being refused to those who seek it after you.”
During this report, attention has been focussed on identifying would implementing a new HRIS improve efficiency of HR related tasks, at Selby College.
The background to the study illustrated the importance to ensure Selby College were meeting expectations outlined by Ofsted. Initial literature review summary findings produced a wealth of useful information, where initial conclusions have been drawn; in particular there is a desperate need for clearer, simpler and more effective data across the FE college system and, indeed, the wider learning and skills sector. It is paramount in the FE sector to accurately collect data for review by external stakeholders.
The above is reflected in the current HRIS system process of reporting, which is both inaccurate and does not have the capability to track performance of staff sufficiently. Therefore, investigating would implementing a new HRIS improve efficiency of HR related tasks through a questionnaire distributed to a stratified random sample of staff, surrounding their attitudes towards implementing a new HRIS to improve the efficiency of HR at Selby College, will provide a systematic identification of its current provision, ensuring all activities are driven by the organisations aims, to have a direct impact on the long-term success.
Learning Skills Council, (2005). Learning Skills Council: Agenda For Change.
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