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Marketing the HR Function – Review


Title: Marketing the HR Function
By Michael Nieto
Publisher: Chandos
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1902375696
Price: £49.95

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Having read this book I remain somewhat confused by the title. I approached the volume with interest as the whole issue of marketing or presenting/positioning the HR Function effectively is one which has long interested me. In fact, of the seven chapters included in the book only Number 1, Marketing HR Inside Your Organization and 2, Presenting HR as an Investment directly support or link to the title. The other five chapters deal with an eclectic collection of approaches and techniques, ranging from the development of policies for part-time and contract workers, women returning to the workforce and the employment of mature, experienced workers to recruitment, performance related pay and ‘cafeteria’ reward packages (which has nothing to do with cafeterias). Chapter 7, for example deals with Life/Work Balance and Stress Management and strays into Meeting Management.

There is almost a stream of consciousness feel about the text. Some case studies and examples illuminate the content but there is a high preponderance of the first person singular pronoun and a lot of personal anecdotal reflection and comment. The introduction presents this as a practical handbook on improving strategic human resource management, one which “reflects the need for those who specialise in these areas to respond to the new opportunities for managers who have both ‘people’ and management skill”. I think I know what this sentence means but I don’t think the book addresses these issues.

I accept the early statement that many HR related books are too long or theoretical for the ‘busy’ manager. However, I am at odds with the writer of the introduction if they believe that this is a practical, easy-to-use tool box of ideas which will improve managers’ skills. The book may improve the knowledge of some managers but it does little to develop skill. I believe most senior and middle managers will have some familiarity with all the ideas included and will find little new or of real practical value.

The conceptual framework for the book strikes me as fuzzy and the content is often superficial with little rigour or intellectual strength about it. I agree that it is readable, if short on logical links. While it could be useful to a student of HR, I can’t say that it has a lot to offer managers or HR specialists other than a rapid summary of a series of ideas and situations, some of which are more closely linked to HR management than others.

I could find very little about the author in the book so I don’t know his background or speciality.

Diane Bailey
Diane Bailey Associates


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