The Importance of Human Resource Development in the 21st Century in HIV
- Published: 22 December 2016
The Importance of Human Resource Development in the 21st Century in HIV/AIDS Prevention
Norhasni Zainal Abiddin, Ph.D.
Department of Professional Development and Continuing Education
Faculty of Educational Studies
Universiti Putra Malaysia
Mohamed Said Mohamed, MA
The Second Vice Presidents Office Zanzibar – Pemba
Zanzibar AIDS Commission
The pace of competition in 21st century is alarming. From profit enterprises to government agencies and even not for profit entities, organisations are facing increasing pressures to achieve more with little. While the above three classes of organisations have different organisational objectives; they have one common thread that connect them, which will enhance their long term survival and competitiveness. They want continuous supply of skilled, competent, empowered, innovative and highly motivated workforce to enable them achieve their respective mission, vision strategy and goals; which is the purview of human resources development (HRD). Although, the aim of the paper is to explain the importance of human resource development in the 21st century, such idea may be difficult to be contextualised, without proper understanding of the foundation and possibly the theoretical underpinnings of the field. Swanson (1995) defined HRD as the method of developing and applying an employee competency through training and development with the aim of improving organisation performance. According to Swanson (2001), HRD is specifically targeted to three areas of application; human resource management, career development and quality improvement. McLagan (1989, p.7) offered an expansive definition of the concept by suggesting that HRD is the amalgamated application of training, development career improvement and organisational development to enhance individual, group and organisational productivity.
The seemingly absence of consensus on the definition of HRD has created confusion in the field. The suggestion by Dilworth (2003) on the need to subsume strategic change management, learning process, knowledge management, team building, leadership and career development has also not expanded the scope beyond the organisational level. According to Haslinda (2009a), the confusion from lack of clarity is re enforced by the evolving nature of HRD and an attempt to provide a global viewpoint in the field. Furthermore, critics have blamed the dearth of consensus on the poor theoretical foundation, on which HRD is anchored on. With strong influence from psychology, economic and system theories, it is argue that, HRD will continue to be subjected to vagaries from those fields. Also, it will be difficult for the field to offer a compelling relevance without articulating its core paradigm in terms of theoretical underpinning which is rooted in the field. The above development has not only placed HRD in a weak theoretical footing; instead it has widens the chasm between theory and practice, which is a vital link in promoting and advancing knowledge in any field. Despite the above confusion and lack of clarity on the definition, scope and theoretical grounding of HRD, it is still considered that HRD will be a champion of individual learning and organisational development in the following context; Strategic partner, Lifelong learning and development, economic growth and organisational competiveness, improved National productivity, change agent and proper employee engagement.
The strategic role of HRD has been seriously questioned. In other to be relevant, going forward, the discipline should be a strategic partner and a contributor to organisation competitiveness. Ulrich (1997) posits that human resource will achieve its eminent position if, it transitions from administrative and clerical roles into a strategic partner, which will enhance organisational long term objective. Equally, Johnson (1997) argues that as a strategic thinker, HRD is positioned to achieve this purpose, through understanding of organisation mission, vision and strategy and concerted efforts to have competent and skilled employees to achieve the objectives.
Lifelong learning and development will be central for individual employees and organisations. In view of this, HRD will apply targeted training and development to ensure that employees are continually equipped with the right skills set and competencies for career growth and development. Haslinda (2009) posits that the differentiating feature of HRD in the new millennium is the application of lifelong learning experience towards organisation objectives. The unique learning experience which HRD would bring is not task specific domain of human resource management, which has led to widespread belief that human resource is a cost not a business asset. If the notion of cost centre is continue to be attributed to HRD, its long term relevance will be seriously challenged. Accordingly, HRD of the future will be strategically placed to contribute competitively towards organisation objectives.
Sustained organisation profit is rapidly becoming elusive to many organisations due to fierce competition. The rate of disruptive innovation is alarming. According to CNN report of October 25, 2016, Apple revenue and profit fell for the very first time since 2001. The implication is that, Apple has not introduced another set of products in moulds of IPod and IPhone including that rivals have copied its product strategy successfully. New talents are expected to drive the new wave of innovation if the company is to retain its position as the most valuable company in the world. In the context of HRD, Yussof and Kasim (2003) posits that future organisational competitiveness will be based on increased employee productivity with resultant business innovation. Education, learning and proper engagement with the employees will be crucial in driving the new and emerging business strategy. HRD in the current millennium will be the key for sustained organisational profitability and competitiveness.
National productivity is more than roads, bridges and high speed rail. Human resource development is the anchor for sustained National economic development. World economic from (2011) in its annual report titled the role of government, suggests that 21st century public service delivery will be based on having an agile, lean, innovative and competent workforce. This objective can only be achieved when the human resource development policy is aligned with National development strategy. Rao (1995) stated that human resource development will be the driver of National economic growth and development by empowering the people with productive skills, which if transferred to public or private sector will bring positive organisational and National goals. Similarly,Yussof and Kasim (2003) posit that, people and performance being the core focus of HRD will continue to ensure that required talents to support National development are available at all times. Specifically, Malaysia 11th National Plan is moored on using human resource devolvement to drive National transformation through high labour productivity and sustained innovation.
The Link between HIV/AIDS and Human Resource Development
At the heart of sustainable development lies the integration and balancing of social, economic and environmental priorities. In a world where pockets of privilege exist amid vast deprivation, such a quest fundamentally requires improving the well-being of those who are poor, marginalized or excluded, and sustaining those improvements.
None of this is possible unless human resources are placed at the center of sustainable development.Despite welcome progress in many respects since the end of the Cold War, the world remains cleaved by grave inequalities, deep deprivation and continuing environmental degradation. Those features are hardening in the ever-larger areas of the world that find them-selves in the grip of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Hard-hit parts of the world are seeing socio-economic progress wane and, in some cases, reverse. By robbing communities and nations of their greatest wealth—their people AIDS drains the human and institutional capacities that fuel sustainable development.These are not just temporary setbacks. AIDS is sapping vital components and attributes of potentially successful development strategies.
By draining human resources, the epidemic distorts labour markets, disrupts production and consumption, and ultimately diminishes national wealth. Some countries bearing the brunt of such effects now face the prospect of ‘un-developing’ of seeing their development achievements dissolve in the wake of the epidemic.
Allowed to spread unchecked, HIV/AIDS weakens the capacity of households, communities, institutions and nations to cope with the social and economic effects of the epidemic. Productive capacities—including in the informal sector—are eroded as workers and managers fall prey to the disease. Flagging consumption, along with the loss of skills and capacities, in turn drains public revenue and undermines the State’s ability to serve the common interest of development and human well-being. The cycle is dynamic and vicious.
Typically, it is the poor who are edged further towards the margins and exclusion, as revealed by worsening social indicators in countries with serious AIDS epidemics.A complex interplay occurs between such negative development and the spread of HIV/AIDS. The epidemic flourishes especially among people and communities that are deprived of the elementary benefits of successful development (public social services such as education and health care, secure employment, shelter, and social safety nets essential for sustaining livelihoods).
Choices and opportunities—hallmarks of successful human development—shrink as the epidemic gains a foothold in an environment of inequality and exclusion. Negative development and HIV/AIDS lock into a dynamic relationship, whereby one feeds on the other. A growing number of countries are becoming trapped in this cycle. And their ranks will grow unless other countries act now to hold their emerging epidemics in check.
The flux of rapid development can also become a factor in the epidemic’s advance. In some countries where vigorous growth and development have occurred (but the benefits have been spread unevenly), HIV/AIDS has taken hold in unanticipated ways. In Botswana, the epidemic gained a foothold during a period of political stability, sustained economic growth and human development. One of the most vigorous economic performers in the world, China is now also home to a rapidly spreading epidemic. Thailand’s encounter with a seriously expanding epidemic in the early 1990s coincided with a period of dramatic growth and development. Labor migration to economic growth zones along improved transport networks, and the dismantling of traditional livelihoods can all render people and communities more susceptible to HIV transmission.
Even though HRD is centered on employee performance and organisational effectiveness, its long term value will depend on how practitioners and scholars address numerous challenges facing the field which includes organisational cultures, technological innovation, environment, employee attitudes and behaviour. In Conclusion, HRD in the present millennium will not only be an agent of change and transformation, equally it will facilitate proper employee engagement. With proper engagement, HRD will be in better position to connect employee pay to the organisation business strategy, core values and ethics. Through this practice, performance centred business strategy is institutionalised in the organisation instead of peace meal compensation driven mode, which the current HR is known for. Finally, HR has been erroneously credited with cost which can be expended. In other to reverse the ugly impression, HRD should be a strategic business partner and contributor aimed at achieving organisation mission, vision, strategy and goals.
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