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The greatest growth potential of a company does not lie in money or equipment, as some would think.  Only the staff members are able to give the company its unique character, add flavor to it and mobilize it to become better – the human element is the most vital business resource.  There have been many disputable issues in the field of research regarding the definition of this notion and the reasoning behind it.  People can easily be treated as commodities at work and thus exploited.  Therefore, some definitions of human resources emphasize that the human being is a creative and social entity in every enterprise or company, that is oriented towards production, the provision of service and towards making a profit.  The very reason for introducing the concept of human resources to the field of economics, management and marketing is to pay particular attention to its importance and contribution to the construction of a business.

The treatment of an employee is also strongly dependent on the working culture in a given region.  Countries with a long history of trade unions tend to be more open to worker’s rights.  Employment law is an interesting case, especially in France.  The French Constitutional Block speaks of the involvement and participation of staff at lower levels of an organization in the management of a company by taking part in decisions that affect their work (both task discretion and organizational participation) .  According to this law, each employee can express his or her opinion about the prosperity of the company in which he or she is employed. Moreover, he or she can present their opinion to their boss and take part in the decision-making process.  This includes a series of both beneficial and negative consequences:

  • Business in the hands of the family – France is a place where family business can particularly bloom; employees who are considered close family are those who the business owner trusts and does not have to worry about receiving any financial penalties or pressure from trade unions
  • Greater commitment – the workplace is treated with utmost respect, and employees do not have a “Monday to Friday, 9 to 5” frame of mind. Employees care about upholding the business and show complete commitment to their job
  • The workplace is a kind of community – through employee-employer contact and the real impact on the company’s development by employees at the lower level, work becomes – to some extent – a common good
  • Greater trust in professionals – investors are hoping that by hiring more experts in a given field (eg. Team Leads or all-out Team Leasing) they will gain more professionalism and trust in their decisions

Another defining problem arises in developing and developed countries concerning work mobility.  Complaints have been made against highly-developed countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and France by the developing countries that are striving for economic stability with the contention that they lure people into labor migration.  This provides the highly-developed countries with a much cheaper labor force with mid to high level professionals.  This dispute often occurs in Poland.  Well-qualified young doctors travel abroad where they are guaranteed better wages and are offered the opportunity for further career development.  Some people think that this is a misappropriation of human capital.

An important element in human resources is also the leader which can be the Director himself or individual managers in a company.  The function of a leader is usually carried out by the person who manages the team, employed via Team Leasing.  Former President of General Electric, Jack Welch, outlined five characteristics of an ideal leader:

First characteristic  positive energy – this cannot be taken for granted nor should it be lacking in any company. Even when encountering the most difficult task, the employee will approach his work with freshness, creativity and a clear mind

Second characteristic building a sense of community, encouraging others – the leader must evoke and excite emotions in their employees which will not always be pleasant to the working environment, as teams sometimes need a bit of tension or sudden mobilization that will help them to achieve their goals

Third characteristic boldness – especially in decision-making

Fourth characteristic effectiveness – in the implementation of previously developed plans and in the above mentioned points

Fifth characteristic – passion – work then becomes pleasure rather than a series of boring tasks for eight hours, five days a week