Staffing – Meaning, Definitions, Need, Factors, Process

Characteristics of Staffing

1. Staffing is one of the functions of management, but it is treated as a functional area of business management or separate discipline/subject.

2. Other terms used for staffing are personnel management, personnel function. Human Resource Management (HRM), or Human Resource Development (HRD).

3. It is concerned with human resource in the organisation. It is the management of men (employees, workers, peoples, staff, or human resource) at work.

4. Staffing function is related to employment of personnel of all types- managerial as well as operative in the organization.

5. Staffing includes a variety of activities through which the organization tries to ensure that various positions remain filled by the most suitable personnel.

6. It is a continuous function. As per need, staffing activities are performed on a continuous basis.

7. It is a supporting function to other departments. As a separate managerial function, it performs human resource activities for all departments and divisions of the organisation.

8. It is the major determinant of success of any business enterprise.

9. Staffing can be applied to all types of activities, such as economic (business), social, political, religious, and so forth.

10. A manager who performs staffing functions is known as personnel/human resource manager and the department that concerns with stalling functions is labelled as human resource department.

11. It is a challenging job as it deals with the human being, the complex man. Organization behaviour is useful to understand, modify and control human behaviour.

12. Staffing function is performed by every manager in the organization like other managerial functions viz. planning, organizing, directing and controlling, though they receive considerable staff assistance in performing staffing function.

Factors Affecting Staffing

Staffing requires an open system approach. It implies that staffing is basically a dynamic process and is affected by a variety of factors, both external and internal.
1. External Factors
There are various external factors which have their impact on staffing policy, and an organization does not have control over these factors. The major external factors are of the following types:
i. Legal Factors
There are various legal provisions which affect the staffing policy of an organization. Various Acts which provide the restrictions to free recruitment are Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, Employment Exchange (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act 1959, The Apprentices Act, 1961, The Factories Act, 1948 and The Mines Act 1952. Besides, provisions regarding mandatory employment of certain categories of personnel such as scheduled castes/tribes, OBCs, etc. impinge upon staffing policy of an organization, more particularly in public sector.

ii. Economic Factors
Number of economic factors affects staffing of an organization by influencing system, national income, per capita income, distribution of income and wealth etc.

iii. Nature of Competition for Human Resources
Nature of competition for human resources determines the organizational approach towards its staffing to a great extent. In India, there is abundant supply of unskilled workers which far exceeds their demand, but there is battle among organizations for certain other categories of personnel such as managerial talents-both fresh and experienced, computer software professionals etc.

iv. Socio-cultural Factors
Social environment consists of social roles, social values, caste structure, occupational structure, social forward and backward sections, religions, culture etc. These factors also affect the staffing. For example, our socio-cultural factors almost prevent the employment of women in certain manufacturing operations such as operations involving physical exertion etc.

v. Political Factors
Political stability, political parties and their political gimmicks, formation of new political parties, splits in trade unions etc. these changes in trade unions complicate the task of staffing.

vi. Customers
Any organization depends upon customers for their survival and growth. Organization’s services are less qualitative in which customers may develop negative attitude towards the organization.

2. Internal Factors
Besides the various external factors, there are various internal factors related to the organization which affect staffing activities. These factors are as follows:
i. Organizational Business Plan
Organizational business plan directly affects staffing function because it determines the type of personnel that may be required in future. Based on the business plan, organizations may be divided into three categories:
a) Growing
b) Stagnating
c) Declining

a) Growing Organization
A growing organization undertakes various new projects either in the same line of business or different business. Such an organization requires more personnel in future besides maintaining its existing personnel. Therefore, it goes for aggressive search of personnel , offers higher remuneration than average, various financial incentives to attract and retain personnel etc.

b) Stagnating Organization
A stagnating organization adopts stability strategy in which growth does not come by way of additional investment but by making the present investment more effective.
Such an organization focuses more on retaining its present personnel by offering them suitable rewards and financial incentives.

c) Declining Organization
A declining organization focuses on reducing its business operations by divesting those businesses which do not match with its core competence. Such an organization goes for downsizing personnel by offering voluntary retirement scheme and pays below average financial incentives in order to control cost.

ii. Size of Organization
Staffing practices depends upon the size of the organization. A small organization cannot have the same staffing practices, which a large organization may have. Even if it tries to do so, its human resource cost would be almost prohibitive. This is just like an attempt to drink champagne on a beer budget as observed by Walker Vieira.

iii. Organizational Image
The image of an organization in human resource market depends on its staffing practices like facilities for training and development, compensation and incentives, and work culture. If all these factors are positive, an organization may be in a better position to attract the candidates and customers.

iv. Technological Factors
In technological changes technical personnel, skilled workers and machine operators are increasingly required while the demand for other employees has reduced. The procurement of skilled employees and their increase in numbers to match the changing job requirements has become a complicated task.

v. Changes in Employee Roles
Nowadays the relationship in which employees and management are partners in the organization, the management improves the staffing process by
• To provide various benefits to improve morale
• To introduce negotiating machinery to reduce grievances
• To encourage employee participation in decision-making.

vi. Education
In recent years increased formal education led to the changes in attitude of employees. The well-educated employees always challenge and question the management’s decision and want a voice in the company’s affairs affecting their interest. Thus management of well-educated employees is a problem to the organization though they make valuable contributions.

vii. Past Practices
Past practices relating to staffing adopted by an organization have their impact on the future practices. Generally, organizations adopt management practices based on certain assumptions, and if there is a need for change, it is brought about by evolution and not by revolution so that change is absorbed more easily. Therefore, there is consistency in these practices over the period of time. The same is true for staffing practices too. These past practices sometimes, affect the staffing process of the organization.

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