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Operations Management: HUMAN RESOURCES AND JOB DESIGN By: Ma. Virginia M. Santos - Abalos MD FPOGS FPSGE FPIDSOG

O perations managers can achieve competitive advantage through human resource

management . The strategy is to manage labor and design jobs so people are

effectively and efficiently maximized, yet have a reasonable quality of work life in an

atmosphere of mutual trust and commitment. There should a mutual commitment

towards the same objectives, and mutually satisfactory employment policies.

Quality of work life affects a workers’ overall well - being and satisfaction. Likewise,

it boosts worker productivity . Quality of work lif e does not only involve

interpersonal relationships with peers and superiors but also the worki n g

conditions and compensation.

There are several constraints on the human resource, namely, the product and

process strategies, location and layout, the schedules and the individual differences

in the human workforce. A ll of these must be considered in the labor planning, job

design and labor standards.

I t is a difficult and demanding task to achieve employment stability, positive work

schedules, and satisfactory work rules. This is the essence of labor pl a nning .

Policies for employment stability are either 1. Follow demand exactly, or 2. Hold

employment constant. They have distinct challenges and the firm should follow a

policy that fits their system. A retail department store with high demand during the

Christmas season may follow demand exactly to match labor costs to service


W ork schedules can operate around flexible time or day scheduling, or even hiring

part - time employees for high demand season or non- recurring needs. This flexibility

is likewise applicable to the workforce where job classifications and work rules

should not restrict what the employee can do. This feature is highlighted in the

service industry. In a n operating room with minimal workload, a charge nurse can

also function as the circulating nurse or as a scrub nurse as the need dictates.

Job d esign sp ecify the tasks that constitute a job for an individual or a group. 1 While

there are advantages to job specialization (e.g. dex terity) , job expansion allows

flexibility and reduces boredom for the worker. Job expansion involves

enlargement, enrichment and empowerment which is a continuum of increasing

reliance on an employee’ s contribution and increasing responsibility accepted by

the employee. This will also require the psychological components of job design. The

goal is to have a self- directed team of empowered individuals working towards a

common goal. W ith high er responsibilities, there should be a commensurate

motivation and compensation system.

Ergonomics incorporates the human factors in the design of the workplace, the

environment and the machines. The performance, safety, and quality of work life are

determined by the physical environment . The illumination, noise and vibration ,

temperature, humidity and air quality should be addressed by the management .

Methods analysis is a system that involves developing work procedures that are

safe and produce quality products efficiently. 1 It deals with how a task is

accomplished. A flow diagram analyses the movement of people or material

through a drawing. I t provides a good way to analyze lay- out issues. A process chart

is a graphic representat ion tha t depicts a sequence of steps fo r a process. I t may

show non - value added activities so we can make operations more efficient. I t may

complement a flow diagram. Activity charts are used to improve utilization of an

operator or a crew and a machine. This may be done through actual observation and

proposed improvement s are made on a second chart. Lastly, operations chart depict

right - and left - handed motions aimed at looking at economy of motions.

Labor standards look at the amount of time required to perform a job or part of a

job. Setting of labor standards may be done through 1. historical experience, 2. Time

studies, 3. p redetermined time standards, and 4. w ork sampling .

Recognition of the human resource as a vital component of opera tions management

has remarkably increased through the years. E mployees must be educated as to

their job description, the work rules and the work environment and must ensure

that these are met.


1 Heizer, Jay and Barry Render. Operations Management, International Edition.

10th Edition, Prentice- Hall, Inc. 2013 2 Ste venson, William J. Operations Management. 11 th Edition. McGraw Hill Co. Inc.


3 Mc Laughlin DB. Hays JM. Healthcare Operations Management. Health Administration Press. AUPHA. 2008