HR Thought Leadership
Author: Edward Kwapong
Design and Print: MixNova Media
Reviewer: Caroline Boateng
HR Thought Leadership by Edward Kwapong is a seminal book on the practice, results and prospects of human resource in institutions.
The first book by the author, it details the theoretical underpinnings of HR, as well as its practice, delving into prospects of the discipline for the health of institutions.
The book is the fruit of practice and skill by the author; born out of engagement with students by him, as a lecturer of the Chartered Institute of Human Resource Management, Ghana, and having to sync his theoretical propositions, with the real-life work challenges presented by his students for solutions and guidance.
HR Thought Leadership presents the reader with great thoughts and insights on optimally harnessing human resources (key materials) in institutions for their growth and development.
In 287 pages and 25 chapters, Edward Kwapong convinces readers with his views, ideas and diagrams of a Human Resource Management practice that is exceptional and results in the mutual growth and development of practitioners and workers.
The language of the book is easy and engaging. Edward Kwapong writes as if in direct conversation with the reader, and that is the result of his experience in lecturing and transferring knowledge to others.
In his first chapter on The Nature of Human Resource Management, the author dissects the discipline, describing it as critical.
Thus, a human resource is the ‘game changer’ in any institution, if harnessed well, admitting though that managing this resource is complex, “…Human Resource Management is that wide space of managing an extremely complex phenomenon (Human Being) with several dimensions which, in the final analysis, ensures alignment to the corporate vision.”
Gaining traction on managing this resource optimally results in what he calls the organisational citizens, set out in chapter 12, (Creating Organisational Citizens: The role of Human Resource Management), where the author describes what a faithful ambassador or organisational citizen is.
Organisational Citizenship Behaviour does not come cheap and easy. It is related to employee satisfaction, and the availability of resources, supervision and feedback from managers.
Interestingly, Edward Kwapong states that it is subtly provided for in the Labour Act (2003) Act 651, where workers are tasked to work conscientiously in their respective chosen occupations and protect the interest of the employer, etc. We learn about the Corporate Reputation Quotient that impacts on employees and how they become good organisational citizens.
What philosophies does an HR practitioner adopt, particularly in these times of mergers and acquisitions, and one may add, the current global recession?
The author prescribes a hybrid of views in HR management, suited to the changing times, and emerging technologies, such as, AI in ensuring that the underpinnings of HR practice in an institution is well suited.
Performance Management: The Heartbeat of HR Management dwells on how performance management impacts on the HR cycle, while disproving the long-held myth that performance management is impracticable in the public service in Chapter Four: Performance Management – A Mirage in Public Service?
In Chapter Five with Occupational Health, Safety & Environment, a case is made for proactive policies in ensuring safe and healthy work environments, rather than equipped health facilities, that are used after the fact; Chapter Six: Organisationsl Culture and Business Success details the HR Management function as key in ensuring a culture that syncs with organisational aims and goals.
In Situational Leadership in Chapter Seven, the reader gets to know and learns adapt to varied team leads in the organisation for results.
Get to know the practical barriers that make Chief Human Resource Directors or Managers unlikely candidates for the position of Chief Executive Officers, when the space becomes vacant in an organisation or company in Chapter Eight on the Human Resource Glass Ceiling.
Human Resource Management: From Cost Centre to Revenue Centre turns on the head, the thinking that human resources are a drain to a company; with Edward Kwapong human resource as an asset capable of turning the fortunes of a company.
Human Resource Score Card in Chapter 10 rates the HR function in an institution itself, Human Resource Audit in Chapter 11 examines, validates and reviews the HR processes and impacts on institutions.
Chapter 13 looks at Mergers and Acquisitions: The HR Perspective and how the HR function is steeped in handling all the broken and unbroken employment relationships during a redundancy, and Chapter 14 on Redundancy: The Role of Human Resource Management, where the unpleasant role of cutting cost with staff reduction is placed on the HR management function.
In Chapter 15, Leading Through Questions provides practitioners with the alternatives to problem solving that is local in content, while Chapter 16 is on Employer/Employee Mentality at the Negotiating Table.
In Chapter 17 The Employment Relationship during and after Force Majeure is detailed for employers, Imposition of Pecuniary Punishment at the Workplace; Automation, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Professions and Attraction and Retention of Employees: The Employee Value Proposition Factor follows in chapters 18 to 20.
Chapters 21 to Chapter 23 are on the conflicting provisions in the employment relationships between parties, while the last two chapters, 24 and 25 are on the Test of Leadership and The HR Leadership Health Check.
Indeed, HR Thought Leadership challenges the long held concepts of HR that has made the function an appendage of administration and finance in many institutions.Edward Kwapong by his ideas seeks to revolutionise the function and make practitioners active participants in the welfare of employees that invariably results in the growth and development of companies.
For the author, the function of human resource management is an all-encompassing one that demands practitioners to commit to ensuring that human resources of institutions or companies become that polished rare diamond, that is, an asset of value that the company cannot give or sell, as that asset becomes priceless.
Though the book targets practitioners, there is information for workers in some of the chapters, for instance Chapter 16 on Employer/Employee Mentality at the Negotiating Table.
Edward Kwapong set out to put down his thoughts on HR Thought Leadership, and he has succeeded in doing just that. Indeed, he touches on every conceivable aspect of the HR practice, a practice that is calculated, thought-through, and lived out by practitioners when implementing; it cannot be successful when practiced at arm’s length.
The book is recommended to practitioners. Taking the nuggets of wisdom therein and practicing would revolutionise the field.
It is recommended for students, who want to carve a niche for themselves in the field in future. It is also recommended to line managers, senior management teams, executive management and even board members for the purpose of appreciating and also for heads of institutions to get the understanding of how their human resources can add value to the institution or company, instead of becoming a burden to manage.
It is available at HR Centre, Tse Addo, La and the National Banking College, Airport Residential Area.
It will be launched on Wednesday, 24 May, 2023 at the HR Centre, Tse Addo.