Strategic human resource management refers to a process of management requiring human resource and practices and policies to be connected with strategic goals of the organization. It also refers to patterns of decisions and actions undertaken by the human resource management of an organization to accomplish performance goals. This is the actual management of the people in an organization to get the best output from them. This has to be done with great expertise and balance of all factors involved or those which might arise in the running of the affairs of the organization. Thus an organization’s human resource management department has to come up with the best practices and policies in its human resource strategy for optimum outcome (William, Perrewe &Michele 1996). The involvement of human resource strategic choices for the performance of a company is an essential factor for organizational practitioners who are searching for ways and methods to receive a competitive advantage.
Different models of human resource strategy vary between organizations. There are important structural constraints that demonstrate the complexity of implementing various human resource management models. Strategic management is a continuous activity that requires constant adjustment. The strategic human resource management is rooted in manpower planning affirming the need for the effective management of human as a source of competitive advantage. It is a managerial logic to focus attention on people’s skills and intellectual assets. Organizations seek to enforce a connection between human, social and intellectual capital of all members and the strategic requirements of the firm.
Best practice and best fit approaches are approaches used in strategic human resource management. These approaches are employed by different organizations to manage their work force. An organization chooses the approach it feels best fits it. This may be kept as a tradition, or an organization may change its approach depending on different factors or emerging issues among the work force. Strategic management concept is linked with three poles which are the environment, the human resource strategy and the business strategy (Mello 2002).
In the best fit approach a firm uses the human resource management to its strategies and adapts it to the firm’s condition and the environment which is the workforce character and business strategy. Strategic human resource management using this approach becomes more flexible to response change of the firm’s life cycle which is start-up, growth, maturity and renewal or decline. A company that chooses low cost strategy to sustain its position in the industry may employ practices like employing fresh graduates, part-timers, and also by applying training systems thus the operation cost will be reduced and it will achieve its goal. This approach says that a good relationship between a company’ strategy and the many systems that it uses improves the proper working of the company.
The best practice approach speculates that there is an exact set of human resource practices that are applied in almost any organizational situation which helps increase the performance to deliver results which may be valuable for all stakeholders and more specifically for the employees. This is based on the idea that there is a set of most recommended human resource practices and its application will help superior organization performance which could be the source from other competitor’s successful strategy. A company may emphasize the enhancement of employees’ ability or knowledge and skill through good recruitment and strong training. It could also emphasize through incentives and a reward system, thus the company can place emphasis for motivating desired behavior. To have more contribution of ideas and participation by employees a company has to train its workers to the best it wants them to be. In this approach the flow of information within the organization has to be the best. The staff also must be always focused on the business goals (Fombrun, Tichy & Devanna 2007). This approach employs the thought that practices carried out in other successful organizations can be used in other firms and the outcome would be the same.
However the best practices and the best fit approaches share some attributes. Both approaches are most felt within the organization when they are properly fitted within the company’s strategy and environmental context. Both approaches do not identify the staff’s interests with the company and the requirements of the law. The organizations must consider the interests of the employees whose input is essential for the company’s output mostly in highly competitive labor markets, such as the information technology market. They also ask the employees to consider factors outside their environments or places of work and improve their capabilities because of emerging trends, technological changes or if the market develops a new preference of quality or tastes.
Developing a Recruitment Strategy
Recruitment is the search for new employees. This process involves a lot and has to be carried out by individuals who are competent. The personnel trusted with this process have to be conversant with the human resource techniques. A broad knowledge base in this field comes in hand and is very helpful and important in the recruitment process. A human resource management has to be a team of talented individuals. Being a pool of individuals helps you to come up with great techniques of identifying the required skills and talents that the firm needs.
Recruitment of employees can be done for a number of reasons. If an organization is new or recently established it has to recruit its first batch of employees. This new organization can also be a new branch of a previous big organization. It can also be an addition of staff to work with the employees who were already working in the pioneer branch of the new branch. Recruitment could also be done to replace the staffs that were transferred to work in the new organization. In case an employee retires a new employee has to replace the vacant position. In case of some firing recruitment has to take place again.
A director of a human resource management team has to come up with great recruitment strategies every time the company needs to recruit to strengthen its workforce. This can be done by an individual but it is better if wide consultations are carried out among the human resource management team. This is done by considering all the factors entailing the job and the traits required to secure the job. There are processes that must be followed to replace a vacancy. These processes or steps are devised by the potential employer. This is because the employer knows what the job entails. The employer also knows the tasks the new employee will be performing in his/her position (Randall, Susan 1999). The employer or the human resource team also has to determine the skills and the education necessary for the employee.
The human resource team has to come up with the recruitment strategy most suitable to get the best candidate. This could be using the media. The media aspects that could be used would include print, audio or visual media. This could be done by determining the media aspect that would reach a wider population so as to have a wider pool of talents and skills to choose from. The recruitment team could also decide to use the internet or recruit directly from schools so as to get fresh workforce. This is because it is advisable to look for the potential employee in different ways and from a variety of sources.
Having a clear job description helps you develop a precise idea of what is required in a new employee. The job description may entail the skills that would be necessary for the job to be successful, as well as the activities the employee will be involved in and the level of education and training that the recruit is supposed to possess. The human resource team may be quite familiar with the vacant position and may decide to simply re-use the same job description used in the past. It is a good practice to take time to fully understand what the job entails and to re-evaluate whether the job description should be redesigned or some of its features should be removed, or others added to make competitive in line to the emerging markets trends and technological changes, or just raise the performance standards of the new employee in relation to the previous one.
The human resource team must be realistic. It is advisable that the human resource team resists from making personal preferences into job requirements as this would limit the number of candidates that would be available for recruitment. The work description form the human resource team should explaine the overall responsibilities of the job in a precise and clear manner using as few words as possible. The duties the new employee is to undertake should be listed in order of importance using action words not forgetting how the task is to be done. There should also be a description of the physical demands by an individual which describes the working conditions which might affect some individuals’ ability to do work. The skills that an individual can exhibit should also be laid down together with the education level and experience an employee has had previously.
Employees’ Well Being
Strategic human resource management is a trend that has caught up with many organizations worldwide. It is a strategic approach to the management of a firm’s most valued assets that is the people working there so that they can effectively contribute to the achieving the organizations’ objectives (Fombrun et al 2007). Human resource management ensures that the firm is able to succeed through people. Human capital can be a source of competitive advantage. Strategic human resource management is a complex process and is constantly evolving. It is related to people’s issues and concerns about culture, values, structure, quality, commitment, and matches the resources to future needs.
The strategies that may be employed by human resource management may vary with different organizations. There may be strategies to reward fairly so as to improve performance or to streamline structure. Strategy defines the organization’s behavior and how it tries to cope with its environment. People are the biggest asset because they possess the knowledge, skills and abilities which must be utilized to the maximum effect if the organization is to create value. How people are managed, motivated and located tasks shape the business strategy of an organization. Human resource evaluation is useful in that it offers information on the current and potential capabilities of a firm’s human capital to implement the development strategy.
Firms which want success or which have succeeded in unveiling their optimum or near optimum potential have achieved this through the successful management of the human capital and embedded it in their products and services which have a market value. For great returns to be felt individuals in a company should have a positive management relationship with their superiors in a supportive environment with strong values. This also contributes to the employee’s willingness to work above the minimum or give extra effort. Organizations have to manage their workers within a coherent framework that reflect the business strategy of the company. The business goals need to be unique in terms of context and the demands of organizational stakeholders.
The human capital of a firm is the people who make the organization a success. The combined intelligence, skills and expertise gives an organization its distinctive character. Human capital in an organization should be capable of learning, changing, innovating and providing the creative thrust that when motivated ensures the survival of the organization. In strategic human resource management there is an aspect referred to as knowledge management. This is done to ensure that the knowledge obtained by the workforce is effectively enhanced for its optimum utilization. According to Doug Davies et al (1999), it involves creating, acquiring, capturing and using knowledge to enhance learning and performance in organizations. Through strategic human resource management the work force of a company is rewarded accordingly and in line with the output of each individual. It ensures that employees are in a productive and harmonious relationship.
However, strategic human resource management has led to organizations performing better to some extent, at times it happens at the expense of the employees’ well-being. This is because strategic human resource management is output oriented and is mostly concerned with the results the workforce registers at the end of a given period of time. This means most of the times while the human resource team is strategizing it always has in mind the best ways or methods that it can employ to get its targeted result from the labor force and does not care about how better to treat the work force (Mabey & Graeme 1995). For best results the management works to minimize the labor costs and improve the returns they get from the employees. This may lead to employees lacking or being prevented from accessing some facilities they used to access or they really need so as the firm may minimize the costs it incurs through the workforce. Some of these privileges that the workers may be denied may include some meals, basic items like tissues, minimization of supply of items like stationery and this may lead to negative effects, reactions or strain the relationship between the management and staff.
Strategic human resource management is a newer form of human resource management that merges more corporate strategies and company goals with traditional human resource in order to give a company a competitive edge in an increasingly aggressive corporate world. Due to this aggression a company has to keep in touch with its competitors. This leads to the management working out straining strategies to get the best out from all resources available for exploitation, among the resource that will feel the strain is the labor. The workers will be expected to work within the laid organizations working limits. This may lead to the employees working continuously without rest to meet the desired results. The employees end up suffering from fatigue which affects both their physical and mental wellbeing. The workers also work overtime to beat deadlines, and when this is repeated for a long period of the time its effects start affecting the human capital.
Strategic human resource management aids in achieving a company’s long-term goal but it shifts away from the traditional human resources’ balancing of human-centered relations with production functions to emphasize on competitive advantage and corporate progress. This leads to companies overlooking great practices which are a great way for employees to integrate and team-build and improve the working environment for the employees (Greer 2001). This strains the relationship among employees and the management.
In strategic human resource management major policies, the allocation of resources and decisions about key goals tend to be formulated at the top. Due to the fast-paced nature of todays’ organizations these guidelines are just passed on to the employees without having their say on them. This creates a gap between the management and the staff. With such strained relationships the employees work with negative attitudes and with time their psychological aspect is greatly affected. The strategies are business-driven and focus on organizational effectiveness. People are viewed as resources to be managed in order to achieve strategic business goals. With this mentality the management pressures the employees to deliver results like machines and not considering that people are affected by factors such as fatigue and this leads to stress and depression. With the great returns the companies make by overloading workers the employees rarely get appreciated for their great efforts in helping the company achieve its set goals. In fact, when an employee at any moment delivers as expected warnings start to flow in and this adds up to their psychological suffering (Farhad 2007).
In its struggle to perform at optimum a company may overlook some aspects affecting the employee. These aspects may include the working conditions, as that the people require to work in comfort. This is in line with the companies fight to minimize costs. This leads to the employees needs being overlooked so as the company makes optimum profits. The human resource managers are unable to support the needs and goals of the employees but they contribute to the organization’s performance and mission thus human resource managers find themselves neglecting legitimate employee needs. Human resource managers are charged with human needs at work, employer loyalty, conformity to organizational and external cultures as well as looking to the challenges of its environment. The use of words such as ‘loyalty’, ‘charged’, and ‘conformity’ hint the degree of powers bestowed on personnel managers and the top-down coordination of their work. This depicts that they are authoritative and this sometimes leads to straining the employees with instructions and deadlines.
In most cases human resource managers have a narrow and economic view of the employment relationship which underestimates the value of employee well-being. They are paid to take care of the negative implications for employees of management strategies to increase competitiveness and shareholder value. Human resource managers being sided with a company’s management create a crisis of trust among employees in human resource managers as being willing to safeguard their interests. The size of the organization influences the extent to which human resource managers are involved in the employee-centered activities (Truss, Mankin & Kelliher 2012). Human resource managers in smaller organizations find it inevitable not to deal with employee-centered activities. If the human resource manager has a big work load he/she may find himself/herself unable to attend to employee-centered activities. Investing time and resources into distressed employees is seen as a strategic approach because it creates tangible outcomes for the organization. Distressed employees not only fail to work productively but they also prevent other employees in the organization from being productive. An employee-centered approach is seen as a positive effect on organizational profitability by promoting employee’s trust and organizational loyalty. Due to the emphasis put on performance, it sometimes happens that human resource managers fail to respond to employee’s issues sickness. Saving of costs could occur by avoiding issues such as sick leave and employment termination.