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Human Resource Issues in Pakistan

Sarah Ahmed

Pakistan

Human Resource Management can broadly be defined as a strategic and coherent approach to the management of the organization's most valued assets - the people working there, who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of its objectives of sustainable competitive advantage. It involves all management decisions and actions that affect the relationship between organizations and employees-its human resource. Beer et al (1984). A further definition is provided by Pettigrew and Whip (1991) who suggests that relates to the total set of knowledge, skills and attitudes that firms need to compete. It involves concerns for and action in the of people, including: selection, training and development, employee relations and compensation. Such actions may be bound together by the creation of an HRM philosophy.

Pakistan came into being on 14 August 1947 and today in 2006 she is struggling for sustainable development. Over the years Pakistan faced many challenges and the time of independence there were many genuine problems but 59 years were not less for developing and managing the human resource effectively. Now we are standing in a situation where our government setups have failed to deliver and achieve a level of excellence. The private local companies have HR department but not properly functional. The Army is a little organized but is over indulging in the areas that are not their domain The multinational are better because they are following the same internationally used management tools.

The past practices can not be overlooked as they have created a bunch of unskilled qualified man power and unproductive organizations. The issues or problems in the human recourse management are in all the functions of HRM discipline:

Job Analysis and Design: This function of HR needs constant update as every moving day has new performance implications. In our country the job descriptions and specifications are not properly taken care off. Many times people are performing overlapping tasks. The task that's not in the terms of reference does not add to the achievement of the job goal.

Work Flow Process: Work process are not studied and worked out well so the tasks take longer to finish and unrequited process that could be negated are also present. So more people end up doing less work and the management process is complicated and over dragging.

Recruitment and Selection: Though the government set up has evolved many procedures and formats for hiring and selection but it's over shadowed by nepotism and mal practices. In the private sector things are a bit better, as who ever is hired has to be apt for delivering the desired so even if the incumbent is hired by reference he/she has to come on a criteria and perform to sustain in the organization.

Work Environment: The impact of office environment on the employee is negated all around Pakistan especially in the government sector. The rooms do not have proper filling place, proper seating, cleanliness is ignored and it's not at all enabling.

Hierarchy: In the government sector hierarchy is too complex and giving your point of view to the boss can make you lose you job. The higher grade officers certainly require a complete paraphernalia and protocol which costs government money. Where as in the private sector at times hierarchy is ignored and over passed causing frustration to the manager.

Working Hours: The flexi time concept is not applicable in the government sector. The employees have to follow timing be them doing nothing in that time. A new issue has also emerged in past years that people come at 8 in the morning show presence and than on the government vehicle go to various offices for networking, chat around, go home for lunch, rest and than come back at 5 in the evening and still till nine. This technique not only proves them to be committed but also give them the credits of hard wok and perseverance.

Performance Appraisal: The ACR in the government can make and break careers. All the factors that distort performance appraisal can be observed very obviously in many government departments. One average report can not make you go up the ladder of success so performance effectiveness is not performing above the mark but keeping a good rapport with the boss. The person up in the hierarchy is not bothered about the relationship with the juniors as they are not thee to give feedback of the boss.

Systems and SOPs: Government still has some systems in place be them bad but the local NGO sector has nothing in black and white they do what they want. The multi nationals are in a better position as they have some system for performing activities.

Reward System: In our set up money is the only motivator even than the employees are not compensated according to the task. One example is of a police officer and an ordinary police man, the prior is given as many facilities as possible where as the subsequent is highly less rewarded. The reward system has no motivational components as high performance does not result in promotions, salary increase etc and bad performance does not cause any problems for the employee.

Career Development: The aspirations of the employees are not kept in mind for his growth.

Training and Development: In the government set up various national and international trainings are financed for the employees. There are issues with the selection of the individual, relevance of training, and the application of training to the job. It's been observed that the Pakistani officials who go for international trainings take them as shopping trips.
In addition to these issues the following issues are also troubling the sustainable growth of human resource.

The concept of cost benefit analysis is not in place.
The education polices are not linked with the industrial requirements.
During education more effort is put on the theoretical implications than the practical implications.
Political pressures are the cause of many mal practices.
Right people are not placed on the write jobs so jobs are just duties t hat have to be performed there is nothing like keenness and respect for the job.
People have their vested interest that hinders organization effectiveness.
Poor leadership.
Diversity and innovation is not encouraged by many.
Lack of opportunities.
Low motivation.
Passive behaviors.
MBO is not in place.
Multitasking is not present in the government employees.
Pay is not related to performance.
Commitment level is very low.
Lack of subject specialists.
Deficient research in the area.
Improper Communication with in the organization.
Rigidity.
False perceptions.
Many organizations operate without a vision.
Shortsightedness.

We can't say that finances were not incurred on the human resource in the past half decade, a huge amount of government's money was spent but due to poor planning the output was not witnessed.

It's a pity that at we are struggling for a place in the League of Nations due to poor human resource management in the past. The father of the Nation advised us to work, work and work but in vain.

These issues are not to be taken as objects of pessimism ever dawn has a day. These issues can be taken as the starting point for better planning and effective human resource management. With the dawn of the New Year we can resolve to consider and treat our human resources as valuable assets and HR functions as vital for effectiveness.

Asking for a perfect system is Utopia but putting the best effort for achieving the maximum is possible. Optimism is there as the government and others sectors are now working on their human resource. Many organizations are being formulated for enhancing the HR capability. The scenario in Pakistan will for sure improve as every cloud has a silver lining.

"People are definitely company's greatest assets.
It doesn't make a difference weather the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is as good as the people keep it."

Peter F. Drucker

The writer is currently working as the Manager Human Resources at REDtone Telecommunications Pakistan. She is also associated with teaching of HR and Marketing Research; previously she has worked with the public and development sector.