Review of The Essential HR Handbook

1. Introduction

The Essential HR Handbook is a book written by Barbara Mitchel and Sharon Armstrong who are experienced human resource professionals as they know how to deal with issues arising in HR. This book is a quick guide for managers as it sheds light on the HR problems. It is very helpful for human resource professionals, other managers as well as supervisors who have the leadership capabilities of managing other people in the workplace as it gives concise tips on the conduction of interviews, employee coaching and counseling, performance appraisals, rewards strategies, identification of legal pitfalls, and ways of managing the entire employees in the workplace.

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2. First HR Function of Personal Interest: Salary Determination

A. Why Are You Interested in This Function?
The main reason as to why I chose this function is because employee compensation is very important in any organization or business, and it is a function, which has been ignored by many organizations. Furthermore, an organization has to come up with a salary scale for all employees and develop a pay range, which is appropriate.

B. Why Is This Function Important to Overall Organizational Success?
Salary determination is a very important function to the overall success of an organization. Since, it determines the level of motivation of the employees. The more motivated the employees are, the more the output levels of the employees can be observed, which could lead the organization to increase the output levels and be successful in the industry the organization operates in (Armstrong and Mitchel 95). Salary determination can lead to the appropriate personnel retention, which include the remuneration and compensation package, which is offered to employees who can make an impact on the success of an organization. Moreover, salary determination can bring motivation to employees, which could lead to an increase in the output levels of the employees signifying success for the organization.

C. How Can You Obtain Specific Training in These Areas (either now or once you are on the job?)
I believe that this book by Armstrong and Mitchell will give me all the training I might need now, and even when I will be on the job since it gives a reinforcement of all the things that I have learned in my human resources profession. The book is filled with checklists and forms, which make it to be a valuable reference.

3. Second HR Function of Personal interest: Performance Appraisal Review and Processing

A. Why Are You Interested in This Function?
I am interested in this function, because it is a function which has been highly ignored and can be easily biased by the appraiser. In fact, a majority of the employees in the workplace know very well that a positive feedback on their efforts and recognitions for any additional efforts done in the workplace are the best motivators when it comes to their employee performance records. Since some managers and supervisors find the whole process of carrying out the employee’s performance appraisal to be a tiresome task.

B. Why Is This Function Important to Overall Organizational Success?
Performance appraisal review and processing is a very important function to the overall success of an organization. First of all, it is a part of the development of a career of an employee, and there is the strong belief that performance appraisal can lead to an implication in an organization, which is positive as they can be very beneficial to the organization. Second, performance appraisal gives the job performance evaluation and feedback of workers where it can be favorable as the workers will tend to become more productive as they would have to win the confidence of the employer through working very hard in order to have a positive job performance. Third benefit of performance appraisal to an organization is that it promotes goal setting as each worker’s performance is matched with the goals of the organization, performance improvement and performance appraisal. If those goals are constructed very well, then they can be an effective communication tool for the employees regarding their job performances to the expectations of the organization, and also very beneficial in the determination of employee training needs of both the existing and new employees.

C. How Can You Obtain Specific Training in These Areas (either now or once you are on the job)?
This book is a very good study guide, which I believe can give me all the training and guidelines in this area; moreover, it gives sample appraisal forms in the appendix, which can be used in rating the performance of employees (Armstrong and Mitchel 208). Though, the book also gives sample appraisal forms for new employees for a period of 3 months, which is the evaluation period for a new employee (Armstrong and Mitchel 206). Therefore, this book acts as a guide as it contains everything that each and every HR professional faces and has to know as it is fully loaded with all the tools that are required to motivate someone to be a successful human resource professional.

4. The Job Responsibilities of (1) an HR Generalist and (2) One Type of HR Specialist. Would You Prefer a Generalist or a Specialist Position?

HR Generalist
A HR generalist performs all the payroll administration and human resources management activities, which mainly involve the interpretation responsibilities and applications of laws, rules and policies. The HR generalist also administers the workers leave, retirement benefits and other benefit programs including charitable contributions. Other responsibilities include the conducting of salary and wage surveys, preparing and approving all the employee transactions, collecting and analyzing all the personnel data on the methods and procedures of selection, administering grievance programs, as well as complete all the investigations and researches, which may be required and also counsel the employees.

HR Specialist: Compensation and Benefits
The compensation and benefits HR specialist conducts a very thorough research, and make an analysis regarding employee compensation like the market analysis and prevailing compensation statistics. The responsibilities include the conduction of position evaluations, budgetary assessment on the compensation decisions, job classifications, and overseeing compliance with the labor laws. HR specialist also determines the staffing needs, adjusts and designs the compensation packages and salary structures and come up with appropriate procedures and policies.

Personally, I would prefer to be a HR specialist because a HR specialist acts as the link between the employees and the organization itself. Frankly speaking, HR specialists mainly concentrate in a specific HR discipline or even handle the entire HR responsibilities for the organization or business. This would enable me to be able to focus more on only one discipline of HR or even give me the chance to focus on all the human resource areas.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, I find The Essential HR Handbook to be a very useful book as it is very easy to read and understand as it covers all the HR essential topics in an orderly manner, so the reader is able to find and get answers with ease. Many organizations have understood the importance of having a good human resources practices and principles so as to be able to maintain a healthy business. In order for a business to be successful, it has to have a good salary determination and performance appraisal review and processing functions as they are strong contributors to the success of the organization as there is the need for the creation of positive relationships between managers and employees. Lastly, the development of a fair and attractive compensations package can enhance the output levels of an employee whose performance appraisal can make other employees work harder so as to get a positive feedback from the appraisers.