Strategic human resource management mainly focuses on managing people in such a way as to ensure the maintenance of the employer-employee relationship (Lovell, 2009). At the same time, it also ensures that the strategic goals of an organization are achieved.
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Therefore, SHRM entails the use of human resource in such a way that the organisation is able to attain its strategic business objectives and also to meet individual employee needs (Schuler, Jackson & Storey, 2001). SHRM therefore connects the strategic objectives of an organisation to its human resources.
The current paper shall endeavour to define the concept of strategic human resource management. In addition, it shall also attempt to examine the role that a HR manager ought to undertake using relevant HRM concepts.
Strategic Human Resource Management
Many scholars have sought to undertake an extensive critical evaluation of strategic human resource management. The use of the adjective ‘strategic’ gives the implication that HRM functions should be designed in such a way as to enable an organisation achieve its intended overall objectives (Storey, 2001 SHRM therefore connects the strategic objectives of an organisation to its human resources.
The current paper shall endeavour to define the concept of strategic human resource management. In order for a global organisation to undertake its functions successfully, it is important to ensure that the strategies at various levels inter-relate (Bhattacharya & Wright, 2005).
As a discipline in human resource management, SHRM is always evolving and a number of scholar and academicians alike have sought to study it in-depth (for example, Monks, K., & McMackin, 2001; Saá-Pérez & García-Falcón, 2002).
Nonetheless, SHRM could be thought of as a general process with respect to the goals of an organisation, based on its intended future direction. SHRM has to do with the long-term micro-concerns about quality, structure, values, commitment, culture, human resources issues and matching the firm’s resources to its future needs.
Role of HR Manager
The human resource manager plays a significant role in facilitating the strategic function of the organisation. One of the strategic roles played by a HR manager in the organisation is ensuring workplace safety. Every human resource manager has to ensure that he/she create a safe working environment that is free from potential hazards.
The HR manager is thus crucial in fostering open communication among employees in the workplace (Paauwe & Boselie, 2003). This can be accomplished by giving clear guidelines and support to employees in a manner that promotes a respectful, safe, and positive workplace.
Besides playing a crucial role in promoting a safe workplace, managers should also be quick to rebuke behaviours that are likely to destabilize a safe working environment.
Although we cannot expect the HR manager to know the technical elements of workplace safety, nonetheless, we expect him/her know how and when resources should be made available to address employees’ concerns.
In majority of the organisations, the human resource department is charged with the responsibility of ensuring the health and safety of its employees. If at all the human resource manager is to achieve these responsibilities, he/she should be fully aware of the safety and health responsibilities of the junior staff and other employees (Lovell, 2009).
The HR manager should also be actively involved in ensuring that human resource management policies are implemented, and that everyone in the organization is fully acquainted with his/her responsibilities.
It is the duty of the HR manager to communicate a “safe workplace’ message. He/she should make sure that everybody plays an active role in promoting a safe workplace. The manager should inform employees about the kind of behaviours that shall not be tolerated.
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Moreover, the HR manager should strive to pursue an open-door communication policy as regards the issue of workplace safety. Any employee willing to discuss the issue further should therefore access the HR manager easily (Wright & Dunford, 2001).The HR manager should also assist employees to review safety procedures, explaining the various company procedures and policies.
If at all an organisation is to achieve its strategic goals using the available human resources, employees must enjoy a healthy working relationship. There is need to ensure that each employee is fully aware of what goes on in the organisation and what his/her expected role is, so that conflict and waste of time can be avoided, as noted by Paauwe and Boselie (2003).
When employees are not comfortable working with each other, it becomes hard for the organisation to achieve its intended goal because they generate negative energy that impacts negatively on the overall performance of the organisation. In this case, it is the duty of the HR manager to ensure that employees develop rapport amongst themselves.
In addition Bratton and Gold (2007) argue that the HR manager should inculcate a spirit of teamwork in the organisation so that employees get to know one another. Most employees are so occupied in their daily activities that they hardly get time to interact with their colleagues.
Therefore, the HR manager should help to organize a number of group activities in the workplace aimed at bringing employees together to enhance teamwork. The HR manager, along with his/her junior members, should take the responsibility of organizing different events like annual day, green day, and sports day, among others. The HR manager should also encourage employee to take art in such activities.
This will not only enable them to relax from their daily activities, they will also get to interact with other employee, and this shall effectively boost their morale and consequently, the overall productivity of the organization is likely to increase.
Compensation and Benefits
The HR manager also plays an active role in employee compensation and benefits processes. This means that the HR manager is directly involved in setting transparent employee compensation polices and performance standards, in addition to ensuring that employees receive competitive benefits.
An organisation characterized by effective compensation and benefits is able to manage its personnel costs, as well as the performance and reward system of its employees (Bhattacharya & Wright, 2005). These activities enable an organization to achieve its set objectives. It also helps to bring transparency into the organisation.
More importantly, such a system rewards employees based on their achieved performance. Using the compensation and benefits strategy, the HR manger can be able to create a difference among employees by establishing a high performance culture within the organization.
The organisation’s business image and reputation is partly dependent on the compensation and benefits structure of its employees. For this reason, it is important to ensure that employee are provided with an attractive compensation and benefits package so that they are motivated enough to enhance the organisation’s overall image and reputation (Schuler et al., 2001).
In this case, the HR manager has to be actively involved in designing such an attractive compensation and benefits program. Moreover, decisions made by the HR manager as regards employee benefits and pay scales could have a huge impact on employee satisfaction, in addition to enabling the organisation to recruit more talented employees.
Some of the factors that a HR manager needs to take into account while developing an ideal compensation and benefits structure include labor market conditions, job evaluation, budget constraints, and workforce shortages.
SHRM is a broad term with different meanings. Owing to its complexity, academicians and scholars are yet to come up with a single definition. Nonetheless, it helps to connect the human resource function of an organisation with its strategic goals with a view to enhancing improvement.
The HR manager plays a strategic role in enabling the organisation to achieve its set objectives. Some of the areas where the HR manager is actively involved include ensuring employees’’ safety in the workplace, seeing to it that they get a fair compensation and benefit package, in addition to facilitating a healthy employee working relationship.
Bhattacharya, M., & Wright, P. (2005). Managing human assets in an uncertain world: Applying real options theory to HRM. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 16(6), 929-48.
Bratton, J., & Gold, J. (2007). Human Resource Management:Theory and Practice. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
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