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Understanding Organisations and the Role of Human Resources

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This core unit provides an introduction to the role of human resources and learning and development (HR/L&D) within an organisation and the environmental context. By the end of this unit the learner will have developed their understanding of how HR activities support an organisation’s strategy and assist the achievement of business objectives and how these are shaped by internal and external factors.

This unit is suitable for persons who:
ď‚· are aspiring to, or embarking on, a career in HR/L&D
ď‚· are working in the field of HR/L&D in a support role and wish to develop their knowledge and skills
ď‚· have responsibility for HR/L&D activities and decisions within an organisation without a specialist function
ď‚· are employees or independent consultants within the field of HR/L&D ď‚· wish to understand the role of HR/L&D in the wider, organisational and environmental context.
Learning outcomes
On completion of this unit, learners will:
Understand the purpose of an organisation and its operating environment. 2 Understand the structure, culture and functions of an organisation. 3 Understand how HR activities support an organisation.

Equivalents in Ireland = 5; Scotland = 6

Unit content
Indicative content is provided for each of the learning outcomes of the unit. The content is neither prescriptive nor exhaustive but should enable achievement of the learning outcomes.

Understand the purpose of an organisation and its operating environment. Organisation context, purpose, aims and objectives: mission and strategy; organisational values, goals, products and services, customers; business and financial objectives. Impact of internal and external factors: tools for assessing the organisation’s external and internal environment, for example the impact of the social, technological, economic, environmental, political, legal and ethical factors; industry-specific issues such as supply of labour internally and externally, skills shortages, cultural diversity, international and global work practices.

Understand the structure, culture and functions of an organisation. Different types of organisation: for example size and structure: global, large, medium and small; industry/sector: private, public voluntary; functions within organisations; the organisation’s strengths, weaknesses, sustainability; the impact of internal and external factors; attitudes of stakeholders on organisational culture and values; management structure and style; resources and performance.

Understand how HR/L&D activities support an organisation.
Main activities: evolution and purpose of the broad areas of HR/L&D practice, for example HR planning, recruitment and selection, performance management, training and development, employee involvement and participation.

The role in achieving organisational goals and business objectives: link between HR/L&D practices and policies to organisational objectives; competitive advantage and success; identification of organisation’s current ability to meet current and future objectives. The role of HR in supporting line managers and staff: informing and influencing people management practices within the organisation; channels of communication of rights and duties, for example staff handbook; identifying department and team objectives; individual management and business unit development needs through learning needs analysis, job analysis; recommend appropriate learning and development opportunities and solutions; evaluating learning outcomes against organisational objectives and performance; measuring the effectiveness of past and current training.

Unit assessment
To achieve this unit, the evidence the learner presents for assessment must demonstrate that they have met all the learning outcomes and assessment criteria. Learning outcomes
The learner will:
Understand the purpose of an organisation and its operating environment.

Assessment criteria
The learner can:
1.1 Describe the purpose and goals of an organisation.
1.2 Describe the products, services and customers of an organisation
1.3 Analyse how external factors impact on the business activities of an organisation.

Understand the structure, culture and functions of an organisation.

2.1 Describe the structure of an organisation and the functions within it.
2.2 Explain how the different functions work together to optimise performance.
2.3 Explain how the culture of an organisation affects its operations.

Understand how HR/L&D activities support an organisation.

3.1 Describe how HR or L&D activities support an organisation’s strategy.
3.2 Explain the role of HR or L&D professionals in supporting line managers and their staff.

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