6 Evolving Roles of Personnel Professional in India – Explained

No employee should be engaged except by the labour officer personally, in consultation with departmental heads, and nope should be dismissed without his consent, expect by the manager himself, after hearing what the labour officer has to say… if he is of the right type, the workers will rapidly learn to place confidence in him as their friend”.

The employers however were indifferent to the recommendation of the Royal Commission and the British Government in India had to take the initiative.

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The Government passed the Bombay Disputes Concililation Act, 1934, which provided for the appointment of a government labour officer to deal with labour grievances.

Employers in Bombay and other parts of India soon followed the example set by the British government in India.

2. The Police Man:

The labour officer, at this stage, was also visualised as having to perform police functions as the position between the employers and workers was often viewed as a law and order problem.

Thus, the earliest role that the personnel man played was that of a policeman. This was so because the management believed the average employee disliked work, avoided responsibility and therefore needed to be directed, controlled and coerced.

A man was needed to discipline and control employees on behalf of the management. The personnel professional took over the job.

Do’s and dont’s were laid down and the personnel professional became a watchdog for enforcement of prescribed regulations.

3. The Welfare Professional:

Subsequently, the labour officer’s function changed from mere employment function to welfare activities after the enactment of the Factories Act, 1948.

The Factories Act created the institution of labour welfare officers making it compulsory for factories with 500 or more workers to employ the prescribed number of welfare officers.

Efforts were now afoot to amend and enlarge the duties of the welfare professional. This was so because, voluntarily provided welfare was not found adequate and thus, the welfare officer had a pious list of duties laid down for him.

4. The Law Professional:

With the acceptance of the ideal of welfare state, laws and regulations were enacted to define the rights of employees and to limit the employer’s prerogatives.

Legal knowledge thus becomes a preferred attribute for the personnel professional. He was assigned the task of issuing charge sheets and holding enquiries.

He was called upon to assess the legal obligation of the management and to represent the management in the case of industrial disputes.

5. The Liaison Man:

Someone was required to deal.and negotiate with the union on behalf of the management. Industrial relations became important with the advent of the trade union. The personnel professional became a shock absorber.

He was given the difficult task of bringing two opposite parties to the negotiating table and act as a liaison man.

6. The HR Professional:

A gradual shift of emphasis from that of a liaison man to personnel administration has taken place. The function of a personnel manager includes in addition to labour welfare, industrial relations and personnel administration.

An organisation must look after the needs of its personnel. It must provide training facilities, motivate employees to put forward their best effort and do manpower planning and development. Thus, more competent managers will be needed for the future.

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