Backgroundto the study According to a 2014study done by Deloite Kenya on global human capital trends among the topfindings for Kenya (Deloitte, 2014)was the need for reskilling the HR function in Kenyan organizations. It suggestedthat HR professionalsneed an increasingly wide range of skills, not only in talent areas but also inthe understanding of how the business works, makes money, and competes in orderto stay current and viable. We arewitnessing an emerging appreciation for and development of all aspectsassociated with and effected by human resource management. While the changingtimes brings with them new opportunities it also presents challenges andthreats with which yesterday’s HR managers did not have to deal with.
Managinghuman resources has become critical to the success of all companies, large andsmall, regardless of industry. This study aims to put a spot light on HR managersspecifically operating in institutions of higher learning in Kenya and the challengesthat they have to deal with. Human Resource Management Asquoted by Alan Price (Price, 2000),human resource management is a distinctive approach to employment managementwhich seeks to obtain competitive advantage through the strategic deployment ofa highly committed and skilled workforce using an array of culture, structuraland personal techniques.
Human resource managers are tasked with the criticalrole within an organization of hiring new employees, supervising employeeevaluations, mediation between employees and bosses as necessary, and generaloverseeing of the personnel department. In (Armstrong, 2006) their role is defined as a strategic and coherentapproach to the management of an organization’s most valued assets – the peopleworking there who individually and collectively contribute to the achievementof its objectives. It is crucial forHR managers to design strategic approaches that are desirable in order to givea sense of direction and purpose and as a basis for the development of relevantand coherent human resource policies and practices. The human resource functionneeds to embrace human resource strategies as their approach for organizationsto ensure that they effectively use their people to accomplish their missions. (Taylor.
, 2008) Institutionsof higher learning in Kenya Institutionsof Higher Learning in Kenya play a critical role in preparing a holistic andvalue-oriented individual for useful living within the society. But first it is important to define higherlearning; the optional final stage of formal learning that occurs aftercompletion of secondary education. It is delivered at universities, academies,colleges, seminaries, conservatories, and institutes of technology, highereducation is also available through certain college-level institutions,including vocational schools, trade schools, and other career colleges thataward academic degrees or professional certifications. Universityeducation is one of the most rapidly expanding sub-sectors of the Educationsector in Kenya. Demand for university education has continued to increase withmany students who are unable to be absorbed in Public Kenyan Universitiesopting for numerous private institutions in the country. Currently we have 7public Universities, 18 private Universities of which 11 have received universitycharter and the rest are on letters of interim authority. This number isexpected to increase. (Ministry of Education) Statementof the problem Managementof human resources is not an easy task as it involves quite a number ofchallenges, according to a survey done by (coopers, 2006)leadership development, managing cultural diversity, developing appropriatecompensation package, health and safety matters, developing appropriateemployee relations and the effects of globalization like competition are listedas some of the main challenges.
Anumber of studies have been done on challenges of human resource managementmost especially on the policies and practice. (Thathi, 2008), studied human resource managementchallenges in the implementation of enterprise resource planning and finds thatthere was a lack of proper consultation with stakeholders and lack of propertraining on enterprise resource planning to staff. On her part (Akeyo, 2011),studied the challenges managers face in the application of performance appraisalin human resource management, and reveals that managers face a number ofchallenges that include lack of support from top management and lack ofinitiative to initiate and implement results of the appraisal making exercise.On the basis of the above no study has been conducted to address the humanresource management challenges that institutions of higher learning face in Kenya.This therefore leads to the question; what challenges face human resourcemanagement in institutions of higher learning in Kenya? The findings thereforewill assist human resource departments to identity the gaps that may requirere-evaluation and they will be able to make informed strategic decisions onissues affecting human resource management.