For becoming the pioneer of the industry, it is necessary for organizations in the current economy to upgrade the existing management techniques and fulfil respective corporate social responsibilities (Lo, Macky & Pio, 2015). In order to fulfil the above-mentioned vision, human resource management (HRM) needs to undergo several changes and implement innovative tools inside the working pattern of the organizations. Apart from creating and sharing cordial relationship with the employees the performance of HRM department is also vital in terms of assessing the internal conditions and executing several environmental techniques to become unique and gain competitive advantage in the market field. Moreover, the following study would elaborate about the strategic value of HRM in terms of incorporating environmental management techniques and enhancing the overall operational performance. Thus, the study would also incorporate outcomes or opinions of several authors in the above-mentioned context along with highlight some popular practices and issues.
In the recent past, there has been a stringent increase in the need for considering the environmental perspective into the operations of the organization. This increasing awareness has led to the adoption of environmental management techniques by the organization as well as the need to understand the benefits of going green. The benefits of going green are far more than that of cost of going green (Bohdanowicz, Zientara & Novotna, 2011). The benefits lead to not only financial recompense but also the non-financial ones too. In order to ensure that the organization is moving towards green management it is important to formulate strategies for the future based on these environmental aspects (Glavas, Senge & Cooperrider, 2010). The strategic plan for the organization needs to take into account the short-term as well as the long-term objectives of the company while allocating the resources to achieve these goals. This can be done by incorporating the environmental perspective at the human resource management decision of the organization. This would enable the organization to ensure that the employees hired are being delivered the perspective of the organization. In addition to this, the practices and the training and development at the root level of human resource management drive the employees to the direction with environmental awareness.
Figure: Framework for effective management for the Human Resource Management
Source: Bohdanowicz, Zientara & Novotna, 2011
The HRM of the company can help them in the environmental management and increasing the environmental awareness by green recruitment. In the opinion of Casler et al. (2010), the HRM under the green recruitment would adopt the normal recruitment process for the candidates however; the HRM would also identify the candidates based on the environmental system of the organization. However, Harmon, Fairfield & Wirtenberg (2010) argued stating that the green recruitment processes are lengthy and time consuming. Yusliza, Ramayah & Othman (2015) agreed to this and further criticized that these process of recruitment leads to effective and talent candidates being not hired just on the ground they were ineffective with the organization’s environmental management system. This green recruitment however, benefits the organization in long run as the increasing awareness among the people leads to brand image development for companies having environmental management system. In addition to this, the developed brand image of the company also leads to gaining competitive advantage over the rival businesses. As in the words of Renwick, Redman & Maguire (2013), the green recruitment system of the companies ensures that the importance of environmental consideration by the organization is convey to the employees at all the levels while on the other hand, attracts individuals who are passionate about working for environmental “green” friendly company. This role of the HRM of the company would not only enable the company to address the increasing awareness about the environment but also ensure that the reputation of the company is increased as well.
Green performance management is similar to that of the other performance management process wherein, the employees of the organization are promoted for their performance with and objective to benefit the organization in the broader terms. The green performance management however, takes into account the perspective of the company with respect to the environment and takes the issues and policies of the company with respect to the environmental concern while considering the promotion and rewarding of the employees. In the words of Jackson et al. (2011), the performance appraisal of the company enables the company to not only retain the employees but also motivate them to work harder. However, the green performance management provides the aforementioned benefit but also ensures that the company’s policies and stand towards the environment is made clear to the employees as well. The green performance management by the HRM of the company takes into account the competencies like collaboration, teamwork, and diversity etc. however, giving increasing stress towards environmental stewardship (Jabbour, Santos & Nagano, 2010). This competency enables the HRM to reinforce the core values of the company while on the other hand, making sure that the stakeholders are aware of the environmental policies and responsibilities of the company. This practices by the company forces the employees to enhance their skills and knowledge while on the other hand helping the company to improve its overall environmental performance at the same time.
Green training and development is one of the most vital roles played by the HRM of the organization in order to enhance the organization’s environmental performance and achieve effective and efficient environmental management (Harmon, Fairfield & Wirtenberg, 2010). The green training and development is similar to that of the normal training and development program undertaken by the HRM of the organization. The only difference is that the green training and development program of the organization is more directed towards taking into account the environmental perspective of the organization. In the words of Grolleau, Mzoughi & Pekovic (2012), the green training and development by the company is the best means to ensure that the core values of the organization are incorporated into the employees at the very early level. Renwick, Redman & Maguire (2013) agreed to this and further added that the green training and development ensures energy conservation, reduction in waste, increased environmental awareness and engaging environmental problem solving. However, Yusliza, Ramayah & Othman (2015) criticized this green training and development for enhancing environmental awareness and effective environmental management by stating that these means lead to increase in the cost for the company while leading to lower financial benefits. In this context, Bohdanowicz, Zientara & Novotna (2011) assured that these means were cost effective and would prove to be beneficial in the long run. Furthermore, the benefits associated were not limited to only the financial benefits but also had non-financial benefits. The non-financial benefits mostly comprised of the increase in the market share by increase in the brand reputation of the organization thus, ultimately leading to competitive edge over the rival businesses.
One of the pivotal roles that the HRM of an organization plays in the effective and efficient environmental management as well as overall improvement in environmental performance is through green compensation. As in the words of Jabbour, Santos & Nagano (2010), compensation is regarded as the most appropriate means to not only reward the employees but also link their interest with that of the organization. This green compensation enables the companies to increase the environmental perspective in the employees operations while on the other hand, reduce environmental concerns. In this context, Jackson et al. (2011) criticized these compensation techniques by the HRM for environmental management and growth by stating that it was difficult to evaluate. The green compensation is however, more effective at the employees and staff levels of the organization leading to implementation of core values at the very bottom. The compensation involves recognition of the efforts of the employees while ranging from carbon offset credits to free bicycles.
Another major role that the HRM of the organization can play in the effective environmental management and the overall environmental performance improvement is by retaining the employees of the organization. In the words of Grolleau, Mzoughi & Pekovic (2012), employee retention involves taking measures to understand the issues of the employees and resolving them. This involves both training and development for employees not performing as expected or increasing the financial benefits in case the competitors offer them higher salaries. The retention of the old employees by the HRM of the company enables the company to not only reduce the cost pertaining to training and development but also saves the efforts to ensure that core values and environmental perspective is included in the new employees performance. In the opinion of Renwick, Redman & Maguire (2013), employee retention creates a conductive climate at the work place leading to green management system as well as practices.
The HRM of the company also needs to ensure that the operations and practice adopted by them are in line with the green practices of the organization. The reason behind this is that such practices enable the company to reduce the issues at the HR levels while also ensuring consistency with respect to corporate social responsibility (Casler et al. 2010). Some of the important HR initiatives involve paperless offices, recycling and waste reduction. This initiative by the HRM ensures implementation of the green management at the base level of the organization. In addition to this, the recycling and paper less operations enables the company to reduce the cost, which ultimately benefits through increase in the profits. However, it can be argued that the processes by the companies HRM departments are cost increasing at the initial level. None the less, the benefits associated with these initiatives are long-term oriented and non-financial in nature as compared to short-term and financial respectively.
To summarize, it can be said that the benefits of green management are promising for the stakeholders of the organization. As mentioned earlier, the benefits are more of non-financial nature like competitive edge over the rival business and increase in market reputation when compared to financial benefits. Moreover, as aforementioned in the literature review, the long-term benefits over weigh the short-term similarly; the benefits both financial and non-financial outweigh the non-financial. The role of HRM of the organization in the overall environmental management and improved environmental performance is of a pivotal nature. The measures at the HRM department would ensure that the core values are integrated into the operation through objectives and goals at the root level. While on the other hand, taking into account the interest of employees would prove to be beneficial for the organization.
The aspect of environmental management techniques is enhancing the overall situation and performance of organizations in the following manners:
The machines installed by the organizations are not creating any type of pollution, which further justifying the position and existence of corporations in the market field. These machines are also providing additional value to the customers and enabling the enterprise to perform as per the changing dynamics of the market environment. Eco-friendly machines secure the position of the enterprise and contribute towards gaining competitive advantage and sustaining all the targets and goals of the corporation (Entrekin & Scott-Ladd, 2013). Moreover, the performance from HRM and other employees would become more superior with the installation of eco-friendly machines or equipments.
Financial management system:
Through the incorporation of environmental management system the entire structure of the enterprise, become more attractive and unique which further contributes towards attracting and retaining more and more customers. The entire activities and operations of the enterprise become more justified with chronological record and supervision of the operations. Financial management system creates financial and non-financial opportunities for enterprise as a whole and boosts the overall position of the organization in the market field (Bae & Lawler, 2012). Productive environmental management techniques often dissolve the overall contingencies and issues arising from significant sources and satisfy all the dynamic expectations and requirements of the customers or buyers.
Engagement of employees:
The engagement of employees systematically improves through the implementation of environmental management techniques, which is ideal for every organization in this competitive world (Hope et al. 2012). Engagement of employees often increase the credibility of the enterprise to deal with critical contingencies and issues in an accurate manner and take charge of all the actions happening inside the premises of the enterprise. Employees are the real assets of the enterprise and can significantly improve the existing position and performance of the organization in real time. Environmental system fulfils the moral obligations of the enterprise and justifies their existence towards society and economy as a whole.
Apart from the positive aspects mentioned above, incorporation of environmental management techniques also encompasses some negative factors from organizations point of view, which is elaborated below:
Incorporation of environmental management techniques attracts huge amount of finance, which could not be prevented, even by HRM department and rather disturb the financial condition of the enterprise. Financial condition often reduces or decreases the operational efficiency of the organization and rather disturbs the credibility of the working environment. An environmental management technique are often very costly and does not contribute towards enhancing the profitability of the enterprise or organizations which further decrease the frequency of the same inside the premises of the corporations (Nankervis, Compton & Morrissey, 2012). Moreover, it is necessary for HRM in this modern economy to assess the financial condition before incorporating environmental management techniques so to remain financially strong and efficient for longer period of time.
Even though the implementation of environmental management techniques is costly, its implementation is very challenging in nature and not possible by majority of the organizations. Majority of the organizations are resistant to change and often find themselves in a tricky situation where implementation of environmental management techniques is difficult and disturb (Entrekin & Scott-Ladd, 2013). The procedures involved in environmental management techniques are very challenging and demands a lot of credibility and efficiency from organizations side. Moreover, during these procedures, organizations are unable to implement flexibility, which further decreases the credibility and efficiency of the enterprise as a whole.
Environmental management techniques are necessary to draw necessary conclusion from the market place and become the pioneer of the industry. However, it is necessary for HRM to properly evaluate the financial condition of the enterprise before implementation for accurate results or outcomes and contribute towards the betterment of the enterprise in the market field. This would not only dissolve all the moral obligation of the enterprise but at the same also increase the credibility and reaching power of the organizations in the market place.
It is not to be mentioned that environmental management techniques bring positivity inside the working environment of the enterprise and enhance the overall efficiency and effectiveness appropriately. However, implementation of environmental management techniques comprises of several difficulties and issues as mentioned above which put adverse impact towards the financial condition and potentiality of the enterprise. Moreover, it is necessary for organizations to identify ideal solution to the above-mentioned problems and enjoy the benefits of environmental management techniques. Thus, implementation of the following tools could withdraw the negative impact of environmental management techniques from the shoulders of HRM and that of position of the enterprise.
Financial support from financial institutions:
For the purpose of enhancing the financial condition of the enterprise so to afford the implementation of environment management techniques, organizations in the current economy can seek assistance from several financial institutions. Financial institutions in the current economy are offering great financial help on exchange of reasonable interest so that organizations could double their capacity and capability and perform as per the changing dynamics of the market environment (Lo, Macky & Pio, 2015). After grabbing financial support from the financial institutions, it would become possible for enterprises or organizations to implement environmental management techniques in an effective manner. Moreover, financial support would dissolve the major concern of the enterprise and dealt with all the financial contingencies and issues arising from significant sources.
Productive management plan:
Productive management plan would reduce the criticalness and complexity of environmental management techniques and enable the organization to perform all the activities and actions related with environmental management activities in best possible manner. Planning would decrease all the contingencies and issues related to environmental management techniques while, enhance the credibility and efficiency of the enterprise in the market field (Entrekin & Scott-Ladd, 2013). Management plan is necessary to incorporate flexibility and perform as per the changing dynamics of the market environment. Thus, it is necessary for HRM to prepare creative management plan before incorporating environmental management techniques so as to deal with all the contingencies and issues arising from significant sources in best possible manner.
Professionals working under HRM department need to show high level of commitment in order to ensure proper implementation of environmental management techniques. Commitment is necessary to dissolve all the contingencies and issues and perform all the activities and actions related with environmental management techniques in best possible manner (Bae & Lawler, 2012). Top management commitment would also enhance or increase the credibility and efficiency of the enterprise and boost the overall position and performance of the same. Moreover, commitment from employees and professionals is necessary to deal with the issues arising from financial and non-financial sources. Thus, commitment is necessary to clear all the confusion arising while performing the environmental management techniques.
HRM department are also required to build one implementation team, which would be responsible for undertaking all the activities and operations related with environmental management techniques (Hope et al. 2012). Developing and training implementation team by HRM would ensure proper execution of environmental management techniques and deal with all the contingencies and issues arising from significant sources in best possible manner. Implementation team would take care of all the criticalness and issues related with environmental management techniques, which further enhance the existing condition and situation of the organization in the market field. Thus, implementation team is necessary for gaining competitive advantage and become the pioneer of the industry.
Apart from the factors mentioned above, supervision after regular intervals is necessary to fulfil the loopholes and issues while implementing environmental management techniques or tools. Moreover, HRM should also redefine the goals and targets of the enterprise so to secure the position and performance of the enterprise and perform in a profitable direction (Nankervis, Compton & Morrissey, 2012). Moreover, it is necessary for organizations to incorporate environmental management techniques after considering all the above mentioned factors or elements so to secure the position ad performance of the enterprise for longer period of time. Thus, HRM should also conduct meeting to discuss potential matters.
The study highlights the potential strategic value of HRM and productive applicability of environmental management techniques. Environmental management techniques enhance the working environment of the enterprise and dissolve all the issues and contingencies arising from significant sources. The position of HRM is very vital in terms of assessing the internal condition of the organization and creates profitable goals and targets for organizations as a whole. HRM enhance the credibility and efficiency of the employees or workers working under different departments, which further enhance the quality of environmental management techniques. Environmental management techniques put direct impact towards the operational efficiency of the enterprise and increase the quality of the services produced by the enterprise. Moreover, proper planning and financial backup is necessary while implementing environmental management techniques so to secure the performance and position of the organization in the market field.
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