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Main Characteristics of Human Resource Strategies

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 5039 words Published: 2nd Jan 2018

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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 Resource?

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 HR Strategies?

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:

There must be a strategic objective i.e.(What the strategy aims to achieve)

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

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.









It’s quite obvious that training and development exercise is necessary in every organization, firm/company. However, before we look into the benefits of training to staff and organization, there is need to understand the meaning of training.

Training: It’s often said that training is an expensive unwarranted exercise but training is seen as something that is work related on job training, off job training or employment training schemes and also to assess organizational, departmental, divisional group, occupational and individual performance.

We shall be addressing the benefits of training from the following point of view as we progresses.

JOB ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION: In this context training helps the effectiveness of the job in terms of the present and immediate future, the potential usefulness, specific changes envisage in terms of priorities and technology. It also identifies the gap in staff & organization to be filled.

GOOD COMMUNICATIONS: Training aligns itself with the help of effective formal and informal communications and the extent and nature of correcting misunderstandings. It also helps both in staff and in organisational and operational confidentiality.

ENHANCES JOB FLEXIBILITY: Especially at formal performance appraisal times and intervals which requires the ability, willingness and flexibility to accommodate issues raised in both approaches.

FULFILLING REQUIREMENTS/STANDARDS FOR REGULATORS: Identifying those areas required and usually to consider the absolute standards required in skills, knowledge, attitudes, behaviour, expertise, and performance in both staff and organization.

INTRODUCTION OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES: Basically when there is an introduction of new tech in the company it is important to train&retrain staff/organization to be more versatile and get used to how to make use and work with the new product in an effective and efficient way.

RESPONSIVENES AND FLEXIBILITY: This refers to the ability to deal with; shortfalls in the usage, potential, capacity of organizational culture, and weakness, unity and clarity of purpose.

FOR GROOMING NEW LEADERS: Training & development of staff has really shown a great impact in a way of grooming future leaders for better task and product business technology responsibility.

IT ENHANCES PRODUCTIVITY: When and after been train there is possibility of increase in productivity which dovetails into size and market growth, share holders funds.

NEW EMPLOYEE INDUCTION TRAINING: Basically this is getting to know the staff, setting basic standards; indicating required attitudes, values and behaviour; ways of working; meeting colleagues; job description, goals and

target. Meeting key staff with whom they interact; how to interact with key suppliers; customers and clients and general organizational environmental familiarisation which has been of great importance/benefit to both staff and organization.

ENHANCING STAFF WORTH: Ensuring that staffs are aware of legislation; their rights and duties; instilling universal standards of attitude, value and behaviour; intolerance of discrimination; bullying; victimization and harassment on race.

HRM PROCEDURES AND PRACTICES: Basically explaining staff management requirements and expectations, for instance; disciplinary, grievance, dismissal and redundancy procedures, training opportunities, other things to do with contracts of employment and terms and conditions to both organizations.

PROMOTES STAFF EFFICIENCY&EFFECTIVENESS: Ensuring that the staffs are trained in monitoring, reviewing and evaluating the effects of what is done and constantly and actively seeking ways of building on success and strengths by addressing the weakness and gap identification for better productive results.

PROMOTES INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIP: This teaches the staff and organization series of tasks and activities required of them in their daily work and in their perspective and environment. However, it draws a direct relationship between what has been learned elsewhere and how it is now to be applied as required.

Training also enhances level of interest and therefore commitment to the work and organization.

It is also appropriate in some cases in job rotation, enrichment, enlargement and enhancement programmes where staffs are moved from one job to another on a regular and formal basis.

Continuous Training prevents staff from becoming stale or bored in one job and enhances their employability.

It enhances collective and individual confidence, identity, commitments and loyalty and brings out potential in staff.

Effective training and development enhances the staff knowledge and understanding of what is possible in certain circumstances and under particular constraints.

It helps staff in designing, implementing and supporting the required management and supervisory style and increasing higher output per staff.

Training and retraining, it provides the opportunity for staff in setting a moral or value possibly taking pride in the organization and its work on the part of all concerned.

FOUNDATION FOR SUCCESS: Basically coping with the change and uncertainty in products, services, technology, organization and the environment being productive and successful.

Training has been of immense benefit to both staff and organization, accuracy in prioritising those activities that contribute directly to organization profitability and effectiveness

Training of staff on how to deliver and respond to the programmes as a whole and also participating in the aspects which may have good knowledge

Training has been of benefit to staff to address the full range of needs and ability to maximise the full potential, interest capability and willingness of everyone

By enhancing commitment and motivation, clear policy and direction, clear and acceptable set of rules

In monitoring, review and evaluation mechanisms at both and operational management levels

Gives greater employee expectations, employee commitment and enhancing total awareness of potential

Gives a clear common standards in areas of shortfalls in practice, easily identified and effective remedy

Training meets best practice standards whatever the sector or occupation and for actual practice

Training improves high levels of staff value including high levels of pay and rewards. High priority and high quality on the job training.

Training helps to boost and speeds up development processes and reflection of value within the business environment

Training promotes uniformity in staff and the way they interact both with other colleagues and clients and customers. Also maintaining standardization in all aspect of production.

Continuous training of both products and services thus enhances the staff competency, which brings out the best in any staff to work and aim at achieving the desire targets and goals and objectives of the company.

It helps to oversee the design and production of all promotional materials for use in an organization

It helps in developing and devising strategies in meeting the set standards and repositioning in the business environment

EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION: Training motivates staff, drives the need, motive or goal that triggers action. Also a selection process that directs the choice of action to be carried out for better performance.

Training has also helped in understanding where, why and how effective development has taken place and also providing information to be used as a basis for effective corrective action.

REBRANDING & REPOSITION: Training has been proven to be of immense help in rebranding of products which helps in productivity and sales and thus repositioning of companies image within the business environments.

All these benefits through training have been of great impact on staffs and organization in transforming to a better creativity and productivity.









Integrated 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 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.

Shaun Tyson (1995) defines HR strategy as ‘the intentions of the corporation, both explicit and cover, towards the management of its employees, expressed through philosophies, policies and practices’.

Typically, strategic HRM bridges business strategy and HRM and focuses on the integration of HR with the business and its environment.

One of the key elements of HRM is the internal integration of HR policy goals with each other.

David guest (1989) incorporated the HR policy goals of strategic integration, commitment, quality and flexibility into a model. He suggests that these HRM policy goals are a package which Purcell (1996) considers to have six common elements as follows:

Careful recruitment and selection

Extensive use of systems of communication

Team working with flexible job design

Emphasis on training and development

Involvement in decision making

Performance appraisal with tight links to contingent pay.

The 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, organisational performance will improve and therefore business success will follow ,however this in itself may not be enough . Tony Grundy (1998) suggests:

Human resource strategy in itself may not be effective. Integrating corporate strategy and HR matters into an ‘organisation and people strategy’ may prove more successful.

Certain drivers for change are already starting to transform the employment landscape, reversing previous power balance between employers and the employees. Globalisation is highlighting the need for organisation to manage the development of talent as well as to manage knowledge in complex.

Technology and the rapid changes in working practices and skills requirements are enabling employees who are truly employable to command their price and dictate terms to their employers, while line management is quite responsible for the growth and survival of the business and its employees.

HR as a function has potentially key role to play in partnering the line to prepare their organisations for future challenges. This is where operational effectiveness has to be balanced by a strategic perspective.

This need for balance is demonstrated through one of the major thrust of strategic thinking in recent years. Hamel and Prahalad’s (1994) idea of the core competence of a firm suggests that firms should build their strategies to what they do best.

One of the key of challenges for the leaders of any organisation is to provide a sense of direction and a focus for the organisation’s activities.

Ideally, strategic direction involves creating a situation in organisations where the present is being driven from the future, rather than simply being seen as an extrapolation from the past.

In changing times there is a greater need for clarity of business direction than in more stable times when the status quo provides employees with guidance as to what is expected of them.

However, if employees are to be able to contribute their skills in the most effective way in order to realise business aims, it helps if people know what these aims are, knowing the need of what is expected of them and why.

In some organisations, the business direction is made clear in strategic imperatives and the business plan.

However, commentators such as Guest (1987) and Storey (1995) regard HRM as substantially different model built on unitarism i.e. employees share the same interest as employers;

Individualism, High Commitment and Strategic Alignment (Integrating HR strategy with the business strategy). It suggested therefore, that HRM has also emphasized that employees should be considered as assets rather than variable cost.

A strategic HR is likely to have a number of key roles relating to the attraction, development and retention of talent. This may mean competing for the best employees through developing innovative approaches to careers and rewards.

Quality of management is likely to be another key agenda item; this may mean introducing tough and effective assessment and development process to ensure that the organisation has the leadership it needs.

The enabling of high performance is likely to be a key target for strategic HRM. This involves understanding how high performance is built and sustained, as well as identifying and eliminating barriers to high performance and this will probably involve addressing those aspects of organisational life which have an adverse effect on people’s motivation.

HRM policies and practices have been linked to competitive advantage as follows:

Communication/corporate responsibility

which lays emphasis on communication and corporate responsibility


Emphasis on external resourcing and internal resourcing on aspect of training and careers development.


Promoting an empowerment culture, diversity and an equality culture.

Organisational structure and control

Emphasis on flexible organisations/work practices, utilising IT to structure the organisation, horizontal management and reward innovation/creativity.

Strategic – This is where HR planning provides valuable data and is carried out as an integral part of the overall strategic planning process. This involves line managers in developing and evaluating HR practices since this approach recognizes that those who are most knowledgeable about the workforce should be involved in building commitment to the strategy across the organisation.

Typical objectives associated with different areas of HR responsibility (after Lam and Schaubrock) include:

Maximum strategic impact

Aligning HR practices with business objectives, conducting development programmes to support strategic changes. Improving HR adaptability on changing environment and enhancing workforce capability and motivation.


Integrating diverse HR functions and operations, develop compensation and benefit programmes, improve HR project management, coordination between various HR functions and any potential HR problem. Improve team effectiveness.


Improving employee involvement and understanding of HR, communicating HR policies inside the organisations, conducting job analyses for long-term objectives, improving management acceptance of current/new HR policies and also communicating HR policies outside the company.


Improving HR resource procedures and control, managing personnel-related cost, reviewing HR operations procedures, improving HR budget control and clarify budget and resources availability.


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