I am happy to see one more definitive book on Human Resource Management (HR) written by two authors whom I have known as passionate practitioners of HR who later evolved as academicians, thus blending the best from both the worlds. It is a privilege indeed to put down a few of my thoughts as ‘foreword’ to this well-written book.
The human resources management function, all over the world, confronts serious self-doubt, periodically. Many outstanding HR practitioners, a few thoughtful academics and occasionally some enlightened CEOs and line leaders see merit in the contributions of this management practice. However, there are always many detractors, doubters and nay-sayers who feel a lot of HR is fluffy, touchy, feely stuff—lacking the rigour of other management functions such as Finance and Marketing. Within these two extreme positions, the HRM function is steadily evolving, growing, contributing and has in some cases got a seat at the table and elsewhere.
I would not argue one more time that people are the greatest asset of a company and therefore if you do not have a strong and strategic HRM function you will, as leaders and firms, simply fail. This has been argued well and any further attempt at establishing the legitimacy of the HRM function will only perpetuate self-doubt.
On the other hand, I would argue that the future importance of HRM practice will depend on the quality and extent of academic support it gets, specially from premier B-schools, respected academics and bright students. There is a serious case to engage more and more writing and research with HRM practice. We have to document the evolving challenges of developing the right tools and capabilities for managing people. We need an even more systematic body of knowledge which presents the ‘applied’ aspects of HR management in a clear and concise manner.
This book eminently serves this need. It presents the entire gamut of HRM function across strategies and tactics and covers key aspects of HRM in terms of recruitment, selection, compensation, performance management, employee engagement, talent management, learning and development, competency management, the role of IT in HR etc. The numerous cases presented here have added to the richness of this book. There are apt chapters discussing both the Indian and international aspects of HRM. I am sure serious students both in companies and colleges will immensely benefit from the rich content and the vast scholarship of this book.
I sincerely hope more and more young students and professionals take deep interest in HRM and help hone this management function to a position of proven pre-eminence that delivers sustainable value to businesses and organizations. I am sure this book will do its bit towards realizing this hope.
DR SRIPADA CHANDRASEKHAR
VICE-PRESIDENT AND HEAD, HR
IBM INDIA/SOUTH ASIA