The main idea that is being promoted in the 2018 article Strategically Create the Employee Experience: Redefining the HR Operating Model (by William McClane) is that the time has come for the conventional paradigm of Human Resources (HR) to undergo a qualitative transformation, which in turn will make it better adjusted to the socioeconomic realities in today’s America. The actual rationale behind the author’s suggestion, in this respect, is that the currently enacted model of HR has already reached the maximum of its operational effectiveness: “Human Resources has reached the point of diminishing returns in its focus of administrative efficiency” (McClane 21). As the article’s discursive context implies, such development was predetermined by the fact that, as of today, the US Government applies a continual effort into reviving the economy’s “real sector” – something that renders the transactional approach to managing employees somewhat outdated.
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Hence, the author’s suggestion: “It’s time to design HR to be the business partner with the skills, organization, and partnerships” (McClane 21). Consequently, this will require managers to adopt a systemic (concerned with the System Theory) outlook on the actual purpose of the functioning of different HR-departments within organizations. According to McClane, the foremost enabling precondition, in this regard, is the HR-workers’ willingness to apply much effort into creating what he refers to as the “employee strategic experience”. As one can infer from the article, this specific notion is concerned with encouraging employees to indulge in the experiential type of learning as they address their professional responsibilities in the workplace.
Among the main approaches towards ensuring that it is indeed the case, McClane mentions: conceptualizing the would-be enacted HR-model to be proactive rather than reactive, prioritizing the factor of competence within the context of how employees are being evaluated, and providing a high-quality HR leadership. The author concludes his article by stressing out once again that the very socioeconomic and political climate in the US calls for the implementation of his initiative: “The need for HR as a business partner to strategically guide the employee experience has never been greater” (McClane 23). According to him, this will enable organizations to increase the measure of their operating resilience, which in the time of political volatility should come as a particularly important competitive asset. Nevertheless, the article does not contain any concrete suggestions as to how managers should go about taking practical advantage of the author’s conceptualization of what HR management should be all about.
Even though McClane’s article is best described as being rather succinct, there are several valuable insights to be found in it, regarding the effects of the current political and economic situation in America on the qualitative aspects of the HR-discourse in this country. In particular, the author has succeeded in arguing that as time goes on, this discourse will continue to become ever more value-based, in the positivist sense of this word. At the same time, there are many notable shortcomings to the reviewed article as well. One of them is that, despite appearing rather sophistical, many of the concepts/notions mentioned in the article can be interpreted at will. The most eye-catching of them are as follows: “strategic employee experience”, “business-critical partner”, “constellation of interactions”, “capability ecosystem”, “centers of excellence”, “dynamic system of capabilities”, etc. Because of it, they do not seem to convey any concrete meaning in the first place: something that undermines the article’s practical value rather substantially.
Moreover, the article’s close reading will reveal a certain lack of intellectual honesty, on the author’s part. After all, despite the seemingly progressive sounding of many of McClane’s argumentative claims, his article serves the purpose of advocating the neoliberal outlook on managing HR, reflective of the assumptions that a proper approach to managing HR must necessarily be cost-effective, the extent of an employee’s professional adequateness is a thoroughly objective (measurable) category. Partially, this explains why the theme of ensuring the cost-effectiveness of HR management (using laying off HR specialists) tends to resurface throughout the article’s entirety: “Many ‘traditional’ HR jobs will go away when transitioning to the new organization” (McClane 23). This particular idea defines the article’s overall discursive premise, which is yet another indication that the author’s HR-related suggestions are reflective of the current specifics of the political environment in America.
Overall, McClane’s article cannot be regarded very enlightening, not the least due to the essentially speculative sounding of the author’s claims, and the fact that many of them belong to the realm of pure theory. It is quite impossible to tell how one may benefit practically from being exposed to it as an HR worker. At the same time, however, the reading of McClane’s book should prove beneficial to those who want to gain a better understanding of what forces play a role in defining the overall dynamics in the domain of HR management. After all, the author has indeed done a good job trying to ensure the cause-effect integrity of the deployed line of argumentation, on his part.
McClane, William (2018). Strategically Create the Employee Experience: Redefining
the HR Operating Model. Workforce Solutions Review, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 21-23. EBSCOhost, Web.