Main Characteristics of Human Resource Strategies

Modified: 21st Sep 2023
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To understand the main characteristics of human resource management strategies, there is need to define the meaning of human resource management and HR strategies and how they are linked to each other within business environ, irrespective that HR is our daily routine in the aspect of life, development, advancement and the way we choose to do things for achieving better result in all aspect of administration and social life activities

What is Human Resources?

Obviously HR it’s believed to be a phrase used to refer to how employees are managed by the organization or to the personnel department handling that particular role. Managerially, it’s the responsibility of human resource managers in every corporate business environment to conduct these activities in an effective, legal, fair and consistent manner.

However, the pitch has moved from a customarily administrative task to a strategic one with the aim of recognizing the link between capable and occupied people and organizational achievement. In this context, the pitch draws upon concepts developed both in industrial/organizational psychology and system theory.Besides, Human resource have at least two interrelated interpretations but depending on the context which we shall be discussing as we progresses although this perception is however changing drastically as a function of new and ongoing research into more strategic approached.

Human resource management can also be defined as a unique approach to employment management system which also seeks to achieve competitive advantage through strategic development of a highly committed and capable workforce using integrated array of cultural and structural personnel techniques (Storey 1995).

Going by the word human resource management’s objectives, it consists of the followings:

It simply means to get the most out of the return on investment from the organizations human capital and also curtail financial risk.

Administratively, it’s the responsibility of human resource managers in every corporate business environment to conduct these activities in an effective, legal, fair and consistent manner.

Also considering that management is the process of getting things done effectively and efficiently with and through other people to achieve the objective of the firm and organization.

The need to understand that “human resource management” is the organizational function that deals with issues related to people such as the employee motivation, hiring, communication, health&safety, performance management, compensation, organizational development, administration, training and selection, wages and salary, pension management etc.

What is an HR Strategy?

This simply means a way of putting policy in place in the right areas such as how to recruitment the best employees, how to manage and retain the best employees, how to terminate poor employees, also it does require thinking ahead, planning ways for a company to meet the needs of its employees and the employees meeting the needs of the company and achieving its goal and targets. However, it’s obvious that companies who work very hard in meeting the needs of their employees can develop a work environment favourable for productivity.

HR strategy as defined by Shaun Tyson (1995) as the intentions of the corporation both precise and covert toward the management of its employees, expressed through philosophies, policies and practices, typically, strategic HRM bridges business strategy and HRM focuses on the integration of HR with the business and its environment.

A HRM strategy sets out what the organization intends to do about its resources management policies and practices and how they should be integrated with the business strategies and each other. However, they are described by Dyer and Reeves (1995) as internally consistent bundles of human resources practices and according to Richardson and Thompson, (1999) A strategy whether it is an HR or any other kind of management strategy must have two key elements:

  1. There must be a strategic objective i.e.(What the strategy aims to achieve)
  2. There must be a strategic plan of action i.e. (The means through which such proposed objectives would be met)

We must understand that fundamental types of HR strategies can be identified as follows:

General strategies: This involves high-performance management, high commitment management and high involvement management.

High-performance management strategy basically aims to make an impact on performance of the organisation in the following areas, productivity, growth and profits, levels of customer service, quality. However, it also looks at extensive and relevant training and management development activities, recruitment and selection procedures, incentive pay system and performance management process. These are called high-performance working system which we shall be explaining on how they help employees in problem solving and how it provides incentive to motivate workers to use their flexible effort.

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High commitment management as one of the major characteristics of HRM which lays prominence on the importance of enhancing mutual commitment. However, it’s been described by wood (1996) as a form of management which aims at eliciting a commitment so that behaviour is self regulated rather than been controlled by sanctions and pressures external to individual and relations within such an organisation is often based on trust. It is worthy to note that there are many similarities between high-performance and high-commitment. In fact, there is a common ground between practices according to Sung and Ashton (1995).

High involvement management it’s a precise set of human resources practices that focuses on employee decision making, power, access to information, training and incentives. High involvement was used by Lawler (1986) to describe management system based on commitment and involvement as different to bureaucratic system based on control. The principle is that employees will increase their involvement with the company if they are given the opportunity to control and understands their work. However, it was claimed that high involvement works well because it acts as a synergy and has a multiple effect. This approach requires treating employees as partners in the business whose interest are highly respected and who have interest in matters that concern them, concerned with communication and involvement. The practices included in a high involvement system have sometimes expanded beyond this original concept and included high-performance practices

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In this today modern world, it’s believed that a great human resource strategy provides an undeniable and persuasive business folder for aligning populace and society with business strategy as well as it commands the awareness of management and builds the required obligation for required resources and support for execution. In business, Strategies create or build a sensitive intelligence of value in business development, growth, size, strategic planning, and willingness to change for better productivity.

In Human resource strategy, there is always a link that dovetails from the strategic management process which includes the followings, strategic analysis, strategy formulation, and strategy implementation.

The main rationale for strategic HRM thinking is that by integrating HRM with the business strategy, rather than HR strategies being a separate set of priorities, employees will be managed more effectively, organizational performance will improve and therefore business success will follow, also Human resource in itself may not be effective but integrating corporate strategy and HR matters into an organization and people strategy may prove more successful.

We can also look at other Features of HR Strategies as follows:

Motivation Strategy

This is a conscious decision to direct effort in an activity to achieve goal that will satisfy a predominate need. Also we could look at it as a way of motivating employee of any firm/organization to achieve better/quality productivity and achieving the goals and targets of the company in a business environ considering the fact that It’s obvious that every organisation is operating in its own style of business to maximize profit and minimize risk occurrence but the question ahead of us is that how can a

company motivate its employees in a working environment? Any company/organisation can motivate its staff by the followings: letter of commendation, giving prize, gifts, promotion, and review on increase in salary, required training etc.

Implementation Strategy

This is a strategy which any firm/organisation applies into their policy after and during meeting decision which helps the company to align their strategies from the corporate level to the shop floor workers to work in accordance with the aim of achieving the set target goal and employees also need to have access to the resources and equipment to do their work effectively.

We can also look at other Characteristics of HR Strategy as follows:

Performance management : As one of the characteristics of HR strategy that deals on managing performance which is the key responsibility of line managers and any area where a partnership between HR can be most effective and beneficial. However, HR can be of tremendous help to managers to understand how to define roles in the light of business drivers and how to identify the capabilities required to do the job. The key performance indicators for each role should be derive from the business drivers in making job role more responsive to the changing business environment.

Job security & Job design: In this context HR ensures that the right people are selected for roles which dovetail into helping the employees to see for themselves if they have the capabilities for new roles and HR can work with the line in developing self-assessment. It is obvious that job responsibilities fall between the gaps and most job descriptions are not current for more than a few months. In general, managers most often believe that what workers want most from their jobs are extrinsic rewards such as good wages security, promotions and good working condition but the employees, however, usually rank intrinsic rewards, such as challenging work, recognition for good work, participation in decisions that affects them and sympathetic understanding of personal problems higher than job security and good wages. When they do not get these desire provisions from the organisation they tend to go somewhere else to work.

Designing effective appraisal & development process : Appraisal requires excellent interview and counselling skills if the process is to be motivating for those involved and it relies on managers and employees having a relationship in which discussing performance is not seen as a burden or a threat, however in many cases, managers do not make the time to appraise people’s performance well. In many organisations the link between personal development and the business strategy is atimes weak but with appraisal being used as an annual administrative chore, which means that employees fail to take personal development seriously but HR can help by designing process which are simple to use and user-friendly. Appraising employee is a significant factor that identifies the loose end of an employee & to re-adjust its stand.

Selection & Recruitment: A strategic approach to recruitment and selection needs to incorporate a wider set of policies, such as reward, development and job design which reflects an understanding of employee motivation and closely linked to trends in the changing labour market. Recruitment is a part of an overall career management strategy which is driven by the business strategy, getting the right staff for a specific job and retention.

Remuneration : This is the comparing terms&conditions of employment and salary scales including the structure of share options and to whom they are available, severance terms in contract ,incentive and bonus schemes in terms of immediate and future commitments. Strategic management skills especially understanding how to add value to both employee’s productivity and the new business.

Change & Organizational structure: Being able to manage change means taking a proactive measure rather than reactive role in bringing about change which involves being able to understand how the organization works as a system, identifying where the changes needs to occur to enable the organisation to achieve its goals and requires being willing to assess how well the HR team is equipped to manage and being prepared to improve the team’s capability as appropriate.

Training & development: Every company/firm needs training and development for their employees for better improvement both in procedures that is cost effective. Training helps in organizational development, increasing returns on investment, improving the market share and increasing the levels of product innovation. However, it helps in both awareness raising and skills development of the member of staff. Also certain drivers of training are already starting to transform the employment landscape, by making the employees to be offered roles which makes the best use of their

Talent and uplifting the employees to the right job. Training and development has done a great impact in organization by employee adding value through their positive effect on customers, who will in turn purchase more and produce a positive impact on the bottom line and improve share holder funds.


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