Human resources management should be viewed as an integral part of a company's success than as another part of administration, according to some local practitioners. Carrie Chau, general manager of the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM), and Virginia Choi, council member and chairperson of the institute's training and development committee, said as human resources practices were becoming more expensive, entrepreneurs and companies should realise it was a key factor to the success of a business. They said there was a demand for good human resources personnel worldwide because of a trend towards consolidation, re-organisation and mergers. All these issues concerned the management of staff. 'A key factor to a company's success is hiring the right people to do a job. How good a job can be done depends on how they perform and if they are managed in a correct manner,' Ms Chau said. Ms Choi said although the value of the profession had been slow to receive recognition, more human resources professionals were now sitting at board level or as a partner of businesses. 'The expectations from chief executive officers and chairmen are that the professionals should have business sense. They are looking for business results. When you train staff, you are looking for them to add value,' she said. 'They need to know the business, new trends [in the industry] and keep informed. Language competency is one of their requirements. They must also be sensitive to cross-cultural issues because what works in some countries may not work in others.' Ms Chau and Ms Choi said there was a demand for experienced human resources professionals across the region, especially in China. They said there was a need for Putonghua-speaking professionals because of the rise in the number of Sino- foreign joint ventures and privatised former state-owned enterprises. 'China is facing a big issue of unemployment and state enterprises need to find a way out. There is cultural and management differences that need to be addressed so they need experts to handle them,' Ms Chau said. 'One of the key issues of foreign investment in China is training and development. While companies are cutting training budgets in Hong Kong, they are expanding in the mainland where people with proper human resources skills are in short supply.' The IHRM was formed in 1977 with a mission of enhancing the professionalism of human resources management. In 1992, it merged with the Society for Training and Development, enabling the institute to offer more than 400 hours of training and development activities annually. The non-profit-making group derives its income from the membership fees of its 2,500 individual and 280 corporate members and through research, training and development projects and conferences. The institute also works with SPACE of the University of Hong Kong to offer a part-time diploma in human resources management. During the nine-month programme, students take four modules, covering human resources management, employee resources management, employee relations and training within the organisation. There is also a study skills unit to introduce students to research methods, academic writing and presentation skills. Those who successfully complete the programme are eligible to apply for the MSc in training/human resources management. The institute also has the franchise for the Global Remuneration Organisation, a global professional body offering certification as a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) and as a Global Remuneration Professional (GRP). The CCP is for human resources professionals to bring their compensation and benefits management skills to internationally recognised standards while the GRP is similar to the CCP, dealing with remuneration practices. Another 10-module part- time programme is a certificate in human resources employment law. It starts from April 21 and continues until June 4, covering topics such as recruitment and selection, termination and end-of-contract payments, re-organisation and mergers and health and safety of employees. Other part-time programmes include effective taxation practices for human resources managers (April 16-17), supervisory management certificate (beginning April 18) and applications of psychometric tools in human resources process (April 21). For more information on the IHRM or any of the courses it offers, call 2881 5113.