The break is over and it’s back to work with a new subject this term, Strategic Human Resource Management. This seems to already be causing some consternation on the chat forums with some excited about the subject and others finding it difficult to engage. Personally, I haven’t really been exposed much to Human Resource Management in a traditional sense through my career as I have been mainly either working for myself or for small organisations.
The first point of difference talked about in the subject is that there is a difference between Human Resource Management and Strategic Human Resource Management. We will get back to that later. For me, I dislike that humans are referred to as resources in the first place. It makes it sound like people are a commodity to be mined and exploited for maximum profit. A more contemporary term coined in the text is “People and Culture”, which I think is far more accurate.
There is a suggestion that the HR function is the key factor in the success of an organisation according to Nankervis (2020). An interesting piece of conjecture given that marketing and finance also think they are the most critical in an organisation. My position is simply that all businesses and organisations revolve around people. People work in marketing, HR, Finance, Operations etc. People make decisions, people create cultures and maintain them, people write diversity and inclusion policies, people have families, careers and aspirations. Where would we be without people?
“…the need for HR plans and strategies to be formulated within the context of overall organisational strategies and objectives, and to be responsive to the changing nature of the organisation’s external environment (i.e., its competitors, the national and international arenas). (Nankervis et al. 2020, p. 13)”
Traditional vs Strategic HRM
- Traditional HRM tends to be more reactionary whereas SHRM is more proactive and tries to prevent issues occurring in the first place.
- Interesting comment in that any time someone leaves and organisation, SHRM should review that position in line with the organisation’s current objectives and determine if the position should be filled as is or restructured to meet current objectives.
Trends in People and Culture
This video highlighted some interesting points as the present themselves in 2022. These included that we need to embrace complexity and that many employees will be open activists and not silent about their views on important social matters. Another point I found to be of noble value was that Life Coaching would be provided by employers. That builds value in people both as human beings and employees.
Connecting Business Strategy and HRM
Nankervis (2020) argues there are three types of links between business strategy and HR. These are:-
- Accommodative – where HR simply goes along with the business strategy and supplies the resources required.
- Interactive – Two way co-ordination where HR actually contributes to the organisation’s overall business strategy.
- Fully Integrated – This is where HR is an active strategic partner and fully involved in strategic planning and execution.
Having HR fully integrated in an organisation ensures SHRM works effectively. There is direct communication with management. The notes point to the enormous level of resilience and adaptability that HR departments have had to display during the Covid pandemic.
Employees as a strategic resource
This resource based view (RBV) suggests that employees are actually a resource for an organisation. This includes “employee’s knowledge, capabilities and dynamic capabilities” (Lockett, Thompson & Morgenstern, cited in Nankervis et al. 2020 p. 14). Scholars argue that if an organisation develops organisationally based employee resources that are rare and valuable that they add value to the firm and to the employee and they can more effectively deploy such talent. In turn, this could lead to strategic advantage.
Hard vs Soft HRM
Hard HRM regards employees essentially the same as assets and not people. Just a resource to achieve the goals of the organisation. Soft HRM on the other hand regards employees as people and as valuable assets. The organisation seeks to build them up, develop their skills and abilities and improve their level of contribution to the organisation (Nankervis et al. 2020).
An additional issue affecting SHRM is what is known as the “Future of work”. This is the rapid transition into new technologies including AI. Covid has also forced re-evaluation of many roles within work. Things are changing rapidly in the work space.
I think this will be a fascinating subject. I enjoy new technology and the speculation around the changes that it may have in society. Life is constantly full of change and being prepared for that change makes adaption so much easier. The concept around the Future of Work will be full of futuristic ideas and it will be very interesting to explore these. This will not just be from a work aspect, but also from the perspective of the impact that it will have on our communities and society at large.References
- Nankervis, AR, Baird, M, Coffey, J & Shields, J 2020, Human resource management : strategy and practice, 10th edn, Cengage Learning Australia, South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.