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Traditionally, the role of HR professionals in many organisations was to serve as the regulating, monitoring arm of management.

Known as Human Resource Management (HRM), this role encompassed the traditional areas of managing employee records and personnel policies, compensation and benefits, employee and labour relations, occupational health and safety, and ensuring personnel and management practices conformed to various regulations.

However, HR is now playing a far more strategic role called Human Resource Development (HRD) overseas, and is now beginning to be practised at some organisations in Pakistan. While HRM is a reactive system, HRD is a proactive process of developing employee learning and performance to enhance both the individual and the organisation. It involves organised learning activities arranged within an organisation to improve performance and the personal growth of the employee in order to improve the productivity of the individual and the organisation.

Three of the most important HRD activities are:

1. Training and development – developing employee competencies and skills, and adopting behaviours to improve their performance.

2. Organisational development – the diagnosis and design of systems to assist an organisation to plan change through activities including change management, organisational restructuring, team building, management development, improving quality of work life, strategic planning and participative management.

3. Career development – activities and processes for mutual career planning and management between employees and organisations.

HRD also includes activities such as linking the HR process to the mission and goals of an organisation; developing the right kind of values and norms to be followed by an organisation; performance appraisals, succession planning, employee engagement, competency mapping, mentoring, counselling, diversity management and Employee Assistance Programmes.

At the end of the day, almost every organisation has HRM staff to take care of transactional tasks related to employee management. The organisations that want to optimise the utilisation of their human resources should seriously consider engaging in HRD.

— Fauzia Kerai Khan
The writer is Chief Consultant, i&b Consulting, Training, eLearning. fauzia@iandbconsulting.com

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