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Strategic Human resource management is a concept that had been advanced more recently by human resource specialist that recognize employee as key factor to the success of the organization (Pinnington and Edwards, 2000). SHRM is different from traditional personnel management in that it recognizes the need to incorporate and align employee work procedures with the organization’s long term business operations strategic objectives.
Thus, SHRM is concerned with attainment of two main objectives, that is best utilization of the human personnel which is achievement of the organizations strategic business and operational objectives as outlined in the organization’s mission statement as well as ensuring that the human resource achieves job satisfaction in the process (Stone, 2006).
Unlike ordinary personnel management strategies, SHRM goes beyond the routine activities of human resource such as recruitment, training, personnel development, and salary processing. The key concept of a SHRM is to achieve an efficient human resource that complement the organizational business goals and visions which also build on a framework that integrates the external factors of the organization as well (Fernado, 2005).
The SHRM model is based on seven groups of characteristics that have been designed to highlight the core values of a framework which should be incorporated in any form of employee management that is designed to be effective. There are four models of SHRM which have so far been advanced: Harvard, Soft or Hard, Unitarist or Pluralist and Relationship to IR (Butod, 2009).
The Harvard model concept is build around employee efficiency that it identifies to be of crucial value that an organization must invest in order to achieve organization desired goals effectively. Hard or Soft HRM model is a two part approach to employee management where the Hard element of the model focuses on strategic employee management to achieve personnel efficiency, and Soft engages employee in workplace through consultation, communication and cultivates personnel commitment (Stone, 2006).
Unitarist or Pluralist is also a two part model where Unitarist strives for commitment through development of mutual objectives between the organization and employee that are aligned together, Pluralist anticipate conflict with employee and therefore develops contingencies. Finally the HRM and Industrial Relationship model argues that organization leaders must factor in complications in personnel management due to interference from employee union organizations (Butod, 2009).
The core SHRM characteristics can me summarized in seven groups of practises that defines the way that organizational should ideally interact with their employees. Time and Planning Perspective is one of the characteristics; under this characteristic an organizational has three objectives to deliver as far as human resource are concerned. One, a company applies long term measures towards solving employee problems and therefore promotes employee retention (SouthPacific.edu, 2010).
Two, an organization should anticipate, design and implement policies that are in the best interest of the company and employee welfare long before employee start agitating for them, this way employee feels contented at all times with their jobs. Finally an organization develops employee policy reforms that are consistent with it future strategic goals and objectives, which is notably one of the core features of SHRM.
The second characteristic that an organization has to its employee under the frameworks of SHRM is referred as Psychological Contract, towards this end an organization approach to human resource management aims to achieve commitment from personnel rather than enforce compliance (SouthPacific.edu, 2010). This way high compliance rate is achieved as well as favourable working condition and the organization gets to save on cost associated with enforcement of organizations policies in the process.
A third characteristic of SHRM is Control System which requires an organization to implement systems that promote employee self control as a strategy for personnel management rather than internal or external control systems. Four, Employee Relations Perspective require organizations to apply Unitarist theory towards employee management and therefore cultivate a culture of trust between personnel and organizations management (SouthPacific.edu, 2010).
Number five characteristic is the need for organizations to have Proffered organizational theory which should ideally be a devolved structure with flexible employee roles. Closely related to this characteristic is the organizations role in creating personnel jobs; as such employee job responsibilities according to SHRM should be integrated with organizational operational and business strategies.
Finally, SHRM requires organization to redefine the way it undertakes it evaluation criteria which should involve engaging with employees for purposes of maximum utilization (SouthPacific.edu, 2010). Collectively these seven characteristics as well as the various SHRM models defines the concepts of SHRM that organizations are ideally expected to implement which is different from traditional human resource management approaches.
Roles of HRM
A core feature of HRM involves personnel management duties as well as management of systems within the work systems. Thus, because HRM is a process that involves personnel and systems management there are two possible approaches that HRM can adopt which include instrumental (hard) and humanistic (soft) (Stone, 2006).
Under Instrumental approach the HRM recognizes the need to strategic and qualitative management of human resource under a framework that is oriented towards improving employee performance and increasing the competitive advantage.
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In humanistic approach the HRM strives towards integrating the organizations policies in employee job responsibilities without compromising on employee development, trust, collaboration, informed choice and active participation. It is from this background that the roles of a human resource manager can be comprehensively understood because they are based on these two approaches and core duties that we have so far discussed.
In this section we are going to discuss the major roles of a human resource manager based on the SHRM model and concepts. There are four major roles that an effective HR manager must consistently strive to perform in order to achieve ideal employee work output in an organization.
The major roles of a HR manager according to Stone involve strategic management, administrative expert, employee championship and catalyst for change agent (2006). One of the unique features of SHRM that sets it apart from other human resource management approaches such as Clerks of works or even Contracts negotiator is its strategic management aspect.
As a result, strategic management is arguably one of the core duties that HR manager is expected to deliver under the SHRM model; the essence of strategic management is based on five components. These are organizational mission and objectives, industry environmental analysis, SWOT analysis, strategy implementation, performance evaluation and a component for feedback (Stone, 2006).
These five components are essential to designing the types of strategies that HR manager needs to develop for the organization. Some of the types of strategies undertaken by HR manager include retrenchment, stability, growth and international strategies among others (Stone, 2006).
Ultimately the objective of strategic management by the HR department is undertaken for several reasons some of which include integration of HR functions with organizational business operations, focus on empowerment and utilizations of organizations human resource, management of organizations culture, behaviour change and work environment among others.
The importance of HR managers role of strategic management cannot be more emphasized if one was to consider the fact that good employee management skills is crucial in enabling an organization attain high level of employee retention which is key to its competitive advantage.
Examples of strategic management activities in organizations include harmonizing employee career objectives and that of the organization to ensure that employees and organization achievements feed on each other which is consistent with SHRM hard model framework.
Another example of strategic management role of HR includes focus on employee skill building and adoption of policies that recognize employee as a core resource for the company. It is also through strategic management that HR manager is able to work toward strengthening the overall employee teamwork relationship in a way that employee workforce is efficiently directed towards meeting organizational objectives.
Because a big part of HR department duties and responsibilities involve people and administrative management, the HR manager is essentially an administrative expert responsible for ensuring smooth operation of organizational systems. As an administrative expert HR manager should strive to increase both organizational and personnel value through implementation of systems and policies that strengthens both these aspects.
Some of the administrative tasks for HR department include job procedures which include defined process of work, problem solving skills, work innovation among others that enables the organization to increase production. It is the responsibility of HR manager to ensure that employees abide by work guidelines and continuously acquire new skills that improve and make their work more efficient (Boxall and Purcell, 2008).
Thus, the administrative duties of a HR manager must involve activities that increase organizational value through employees as drivers of such a process.
Pfeffer has identified seven key areas in organization that build on employee efficiency and directly contribute to the company performance thereby creating it value.
These key areas are: employment security, self-managed teamwork, pay rise pegged to personnel performance, selective recruitment process, regular personnel training, communication facilitation in organization and reduction employee differentials (McCourt and Edridge, 2004).
An example of administrative roles of HR manager involves reevaluating it perspective on employee to one that recognizes the human resource as valuable to the company growth. This is because administration activities are run according to the organizational policies, as such change of policy is necessary in order to influence the way that HR department implements administration duties.
Another administrative role for HR manager involves initiating organizational culture change where employee commitment to organizational objectives are cultivated rather than enforce commitment through authoritative approach. This requires good administrative systems to be in place so as to attain employee long term cooperation and ultimately ensure that organizations growth is sustained
An integral duty of HR manager that is articulately captured in the SHRM model is the employee championship that requires HR department to anticipate and agitate for employees rights within the organization context. According to Havard model of SHRM, HR manager can undertake several initiatives that are ideally directed towards improving employee working condition within the organization.
Foremost, the HR manager has the mandate to cultivate good relationship between employees and organizational leaders by improving employee welfare. In order to be able to effectively achieve this, HR manager should adopt practices for personnel that boost performance, because employee performance translates to organizational success which means an organization is in a better position to improve employee performance.
As an employee championship, HR manager should adopt to have a policy of cost cutting that does not compromise employee welfare as well as working conditions which is different from what many organizations does at the moment because of the need to deliver on organizations bottom line which is generation of increased profits.
As far as employee welfare is concerned, HR manager should go beyond the mere improvement of employee welfare at work place to include assisting employees to strike a balance between work and rest and therefore promote favourable work conditions that does not involve working under pressure (Boxall and Purcell, 2008).
Employee championship also involves adopting measures that do not exploit employee labour force and which are consistent with labour laws of the country in which the organizational is based. As such, HR manager plays an important role in driving employee reforms within the organization which means they positions themselves as partners to employee unions rather than their antagonists.
As a result HR manager appreciates and respect the role of employees unions as an integral component of employee welfare and explore ways that would improve the working relationship between the union body and the organizational towards the common goal of improving employee welfare. In conclusion an effective SHRM management system must address all these areas and every other area that personnel are managed against which makes up the HR management roles under a framework of SHRM model.
Boxall, P. & Purcell, J. (2008). Strategy and human resource management (2nd ed.). Houndmills. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
Butod, M., (2009). SHRM/HRM Models and Theories. Web.
Fernado, M., Pedro, R., and Gonzalo, S. (2005). Strategic Human Resource Management: Integrating the Univerlistic, Contingent, Configurational and Contextual Perspectives, International Journal of Human Resource Management, 16(5): 633-659.
Pinnington, A., and Edwards, T. (2000). Introduction to Human Resource Management. Washington, DC: Oxford University Press.
Stone, R. (2006). Human resource management (5th ed.). Milton: John Wiley & Sons Australia.
McCourt, W., and Edridge, D., (2004). Global Human Resource Management: Managing People Developing and Transitional Countries. California, Edward Elgar Pub.
SouthPacific.edu. (2010). Introduction to Human Resource Management. Web.