Trial and Error in
Human Resource Management




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A trial and error approach to people management is risky and costly.

Perhaps there are some exceptions. Some writers believe that a trial and error approach resulted in HR innovations.

Instances of HR risks and high costs.

  1. Ad hoc recruitment system. Proper planning is lacking. The medium term and long term needs of the organization are not determined.
  2. Wage disparity where, for example, the salary range is too wide. The reward system, however, should not introduce rigidity whereby outstanding employees are deprived of reasonable compensation.
  3. Overrated or underrated jobs where value of jobs is not bench-marked.
  4. Job specialization is overdone, hindering people from demonstrating their skills and competence.
  5. Wrong decisions taken hastily inviting legal action, industrial action, etc.
  6. Worst case scenario: bankruptcy and or shut-down as result of management dysfunction.

It is often said that people learn through trials and errors. There are risks involved. But in some situations, you cannot avoid this.

Some writers believe that this approach resulted in HR innovations. Others think that putting into effect HR innovations requires this approach.

The Need to Reduce Experimentation
Reduce instances of trial and error with regard to human resource management. How do you do this?

One of the ways of reducing instances is effective training of people. Include cross-training programs.

Other than training, provide employees with other tools to do their jobs. These would include work manuals, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), rules and regulations, procedures, and health and safety gears.

Five Management Lessons by Ryan Matthew Pierson
Ryan Matthew's list may help reduce experimentation in the management of people.

  1. Since "People Hate Being Told What They’re Doing Wrong", say "Let's try this" when explaining when something goes wrong.
  2. As "You’re Not the Expert", do not "attempt to run the show yourself."
  3. Pierson states "Don’t Try to Manage. Try to Facilitate Success." "Instead of asking how to get employees to work harder or be more productive, ask yourself how you can make it easier for them to get more done."
  4. Beware that "Micromanagement Leads to Poor Results." "If five more minutes spent on a project adds that little something that turns it into a smashing success, wouldn’t you want to be the person that facilitated the designer’s ideas and allowed them to give it a try?"
  5. "Learn to read people’s emotional signals and respond quietly to them."


Benefit of Using the Trial and Error Approach

It is stated that through this approach, HR has managed "to carve its niche in the business world..."

This led to the argument that HR is a strategic partner.

However, it is still a long way before the majority of corporate leaders accept HR as playing an important role in business activities. On top of this, many institutions have not accepted human resource management as a field of study on par with other disciplines. This is sad since many large corporations have accepted HR as the most important player in their corporate success.

Effects of bankruptcy on employees









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