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Surveys show that Human Resources (HR) can add value and affect firms’ performances in other organizations than in others. HR may help a firm in several ways depending on changes in economic activities, employees’ challenges, employees, and other factors.
According to Evans, and Pucik, HR has three faces in enhancing an organization culture and performance (Evans and Pucik, 2002). HR has the face of a builder. HR has to get the basics of managing human resources right and at the same time, ensure internal coherence.
HR also serves the function of realignment. This ensures that the firm meets the demands of dynamic external environment. Changes in market activities, competition, or technological innovation require strategic realignment in an organization.
In this regard, attention shifts to HR so as to adjust to the new techniques and strategies. This requires partnership with various departments. HR’s third role is navigation or steering an organization. HR must focus on developing the capabilities of the firm and its workforce in order to excel in a dynamic business environment.
This is a crucial and delicate role. HR must manage competitive forces of an organization in relation to long-term and short-term results, global realignment, and local changes.
Mathis and Jackson note that HR must be at the center of enhancing a firm’s culture (Mathis and Jackson, 2011). Firms have the ability to use their employees as their core competency depending on the organizational culture.
Employees must share values and beliefs that enhance meaning and behavior so as to promote the organizational culture. We can notice a firm’s culture in its values, behavior, ideologies, and symbols. Culture of an organization takes time to evolve and stabilize.
There are HR values and cultures of an organization that are present in ways an organization treats it members both inside and outside the firm. These values and culture must exist among the senior executives of an organization. The firm may use its values to define business strategies, opportunities and focus on operational issues.
Organizational culture becomes stable over time. Employees learn these cultures from senior management. We must note that values and cultures of an organization may or may not promote business results, and at the same time, may affect employees’ morale and performance, particularly in resolving conflicts.
Organizational culture must enhance competitive advantage of the organization. Employees, executive and firm’s external customers must experience the culture of an organization. Organizational culture affects its services, quality, productivity and business results (financial). Employees view culture of an organization as a factor that may influence attraction and retention of employees.
In this regard, HR must align the organizational culture and its performance in the selection and retention of competent workers. Most organizations thrive on a culture of creativity and innovation as indicated by Google, UPS and Scripps Networks.
Innovation and creativity can enhance an organizational culture. Organization should develop new products, acquire new businesses and strive to achieve globe presence with its competitive advantage.
Google, Scripps Networks and UPS all have cultures of productivity. HR plays the essential roles in creating a culture that focuses on productivity and effectiveness. Organizations must reduce the cost of producing it services and products through effective processes.
This way, productivity becomes a competitive advantage by enhancing business revenue growth. HR must recognize that productivity does not depend on a reduced number of employees. However, HR must look at productivity in terms of unit labor cost i.e. “dividing the average cost of workers by their average levels of output” (Mathis and Jackson, 2011).
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This helps the HR notice that relatively high wages still can make a firm economically competitive provided that the firm maintains high productivity levels. In order to create competitive advantage and business growth through productivity, HR should focus on a strategy of low unit labor cost.
Firms with the regional and global presence like Google, UPS, and Scripps must evaluate their productivity and unit labor costs in all levels i.e. individual, departmental, organizational, country and global levels using HR metrics or key performance indicators.
Lazio Bock, Google HR insists on enhancing business objectives through its works and creativity. Google HR focuses on the company’s organizational culture and business objectives. Google enables its employees to focus on productivity by being flexible to allow them work on various jobs.
The company considers every employee a contributor. Google HR has innovative strategies that enhance the performance of the HR department by eliminating errors, and encouraging communication.
Google encourages open innovation by encouraging every employee to be open and share ideas and opinions. Open innovation comes from the company culture of encouraging open communication.
HR at Google encourages ability over experience in the selection and recruiting employees. The global presence also forces the company to focus on selecting a team that reflects global customers of the company. HR insists on selecting a team that aims at creating perfection. Google also encourages leisure activities when employees are not at work.
Google HR communicates organizational strategies, business results, and information of benefits to the employees regularly. Most of the company’s employees are also shareholders.
Therefore, they continuously want to know the company’s business results. Google’s HR shows how aligning the company’s objectives and strategies with the organizational culture can enhance performance and business growth.
This firm has a strong HR culture. The HR is responsible for creating the firm’s strategic goals and business efforts. HR of Scripps Network, Christopher Powell says that the company culture is “very inclusive, collaborative work place, with core values that include diversity, openness and shared responsibility”.
In addition, Powell adds that “we pride ourselves on fostering an entrepreneurial environment. We work closely with leaders across the company to create opportunities for new approaches and new ideas to surface, including providing financial rewards to employees who offer creative solutions to problems or initiate new ideas that pay off”.
The company also insists on enhancing leadership at all levels. At the same time, the company strives to inculcate work-life balance by using technology and flexible schedules.
UPS focuses on customer service and attention to details. Mathis and Jackson notes that the company has corporate integrity, culture combined with the HR and employees. UPS strives to link its business objectives with the HR. the company has enhanced its communication by intranet to keep employees informed art all time.
The company has a trend of creating a well-rounded management team, maintain its culture, and its customer service. The HR culture ensures that the employees review code of conduct relating to ethical difficulties and how they may respond in such circumstances.
The three firms have different approaches in of using HR effectively to enhance business productivity. However, they also share aspects of innovation and creativity in enhancing productivity and business results. These firms also demonstrate how HR department is increasingly becoming vital for a success of an organization.
Evans, P. and Pucik, V. (2002). The Global Challenge: Frameworks for International Human Resource Management. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Mathis, L. R. and Jackson, H. J. (2011). Human Resource Management, 13th ed. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.