HR Development and Strategic Human Resource Management

Introduction

The organisations which aspire to use the individual potential of their employees have more possibilities to win in a competitive activity. Targeting, or the statement and the management of the goals, can help the organizations to effectively use the personal achievements of employees for the benefit of the organisation’s strategic targets. The economic situation and the varying nature of the work have given to process of targeting a new sense and high degree of importance.

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Accurate statement of the purposes can to help the organisations and their employees to concentrate the activity on the basic priorities. The primary goal consists in bringing organisation main objectives to the notice of each employee, and to make so that these purposes are supported, and the employees’ permanent job would serve these purposes. Developing the targeting process can concentrate human and other resources of the organisation toward producing better work results.

The role, assigned to traditional HR-department, consists of achieving the tasks assigned at the moment and the solving operative issues. Organizational leaders should accurately define what they expect from HR, including, defining the priority directions of activity, introducing corresponding systems and allow people in their working places to implement correct HR acquisitions according to the tendencies of business development. It is necessary to stimulate HR experts and linear managers in work in team over solving the arising personnel issues, thus linear managers should carry their share of responsibility in this process.

Accordingly, it can be seen that implementing changes in HR policies is a consuming and collaborative effort that involves well defined goals. In that regard, this present an outline of the strategic and practical implementation of HR changes based on the case study of Savastores, a supermarket chain operating across the United Kingdom.

Case Study Overview

Savastores is a supermarket chain operating across the United Kingdom with nearly 600 stores over a head office in the north west of England and three regional distribution centres. With a solid performance over the last years, the recent pressure from European Budget supermarket chains urged the board of directors to change its strategy. In light of HR considerations, the Savastores areas of development concerned with the following issues:

  • Rebranding – the brand of the company lies within the overall image represented by the quality of the products, level of service, and reputation. It can be said that the current position of the company does not bear any branding qualities, where it can be assumed that the only mutual aspect in the stores chain is the company name and the promotions. In that sense, the assumed brand of the company can be seen in the old established corporate culture initially establishing the company in a lower niche in their competition with the new supermarkets.
  • Recruiting – in searching for change, the company is seeking to establish the new corporate values and culture through recruiting new employees in managerial positions. The recruitment requirements are taken with consideration with long-term possible international expansions.
  • HR positions within the company – The Company intends to change the priority of HRM, as the complaints of the workers points out to deficiencies in HRM competencies. It can be assumed that HRM duties mostly include operational management of the personnel lacking any HR initiatives.

The Role of HR Strategic Management

In regard of the relation between HRM, recruitment and the company’s brand, an overview of the branding and rebranding functions should be outlined. The company’s brand should have an ideology and a development strategy. The strategy is a way of achieving the assigned goals, first of all – financial. Ideology is a higher category. It is difficult to present, that the ideology can change to please strategic interests.

The ideology can become different in connection with the process of natural development or the company or the brand. The commercial approach here is practically excluded – whereas strategy is constructed on the financial bases. Strategy can vary depending on market conditions, target group, product categories and etc. Strategic development of the brand in some cases can become the change of its positioning – if it can be assumed, that for the achievement of assigned goals a new market development or a new audience along with style change is required.

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The strategy of brand development can be realised both in changing, and in preserving its components. Besides, the brand can develop not only strategically, but also tactically as its daily life and activity also represents development. Manufacture, logistics, sale, or the development of new products all are components of brands activity. More often, especially in the advertising business, the mainstream of brand activity considers only forming of communications, i.e. working toward the brand’s recognisability, the relation to the brand, but without any actual operational activity.

The role of HR in rebranding can be seen the fact that, “aligning the external, corporate image of organizations with internal employee identity or engagement provides a key opportunity for HR to earn greater voice in business.” (Martin et al., 2005). In that sense, establishing a strong employer brand can be seen as a vital factor in changing the employees’ relation to the company during the working process as well as during recruitment. The brand becomes the image as it is seen through the eyes of the employees and potential recruits. Creating a strong brand reputation through HR organizational identity can be implemented through practices such as the following:

  • Keeping the balance of the psychological contract between ideological, relational and transactional elements; ideological elements imply the degree to which the employees are asked to commit to higher order cause; relational elements imply security and careers, while transactional implies pay, employability.
  • Employer of choice policy.
  • Credible, novel and persuasive employment propositions.

Regarding recruitment, it can be considered along with retention as the main resourcing strategies for the organization which are not less important than strategic planning. Analyzing the factors that might play the role in attracting new talents such aspects could be considered:

  • Corporate social responsibility – a factor that is used to demonstrate the attractiveness of the employer, where according to the international business report, implementing corporate social responsibility can act as a stimulus for the recruitment and the retention of qualified employees. When the employees can witness the results of their hard work and their deposit in the company’s success, it serves as main base of the attraction of the employer.
  • Required qualification – The availability of adequate systems of search of suitable qualification. Efficient plan and clearly formulated requirements for the qualifications can help finding specialists, and correctly determine their position in the company, along with developing their potential in the right direction. A corporate site can act as the main communication tool, serving as the vacancy advertisement for potential employees of all levels, giving a real presentation about the environment that the employee is going to work in, and at the same time informing them about the corporate values of the company.
  • Further talent development – The concern about the employees’ professional growth, can strengthen the personnel loyalty along with giving the opportunity within the company to raise employers for leading positions.
  • Using appropriate tools of selection -Using appropriate collaborative efforts of HR management and third party agencies to develop a selection criterion based on the individual aspect of each labour market within the company’ set of corporate values.

Accordingly, a proper strategy for retention is also required, where these strategies “aim to ensure that key people stay with the organization and that wasteful and expensive levels of employee turnover are reduced.” (Armstrong, 2006). Skilled employees are the best representative and an effective method of creating the corporate brand of the company. The loss of personnel might create obstacles for the company’s employer image, as a company that is negatively perceived in the labour market due to constant complaints from the employees, and additionally raises the loading on the rest of the employees and HR management division.

The factor that might affect the company’s retention could be seen through the following outlines:

  • Factors affecting areas of commitment and dissatisfaction. These areas might include payment, job design, working schedules, career development and etc.
  • Effective occupational pension schemes – This factor is important specifically for the international market as different local policies implement different schemes in that direction. In general plays a major role as staff retention device. As stated in “Occupational pensions and employee retention” by Stephen Taylor “the presence of a defined benefit pension should act to deter individual, economically rational employees from leaving an employment unless they are compensated for so doing with a considerably better paid position and membership of a comparable pension scheme.” (p.249)

In regard of the strategic and the operational approaches of HRM, a difference should be established between the both. For each concrete situation HR can carry out a strategic or a traditional role. For example, if HRM conducts a standardised estimation of the working qualities of all employees, it carries out a role which is not strategic. If HR conducts an estimation of working qualities of each separate employee depending on the hisher official duties, HRM carries out a strategic role. These distinctions depend on a reflective process. Strategic HR always considers the influence, which undertaken actions can render on the efficiency of work of the personnel and the achievement of the business goals.

Many of traditional functions of HR, such as the management of indemnifications and performance appraisals, can be transferred to other authorised person. It is important to isolate that activity which is not performed by HRM from a range of performed activities. For example, termination of employment is in the area of the relations between the employer and the employee, where the employer function can be performed by top managers and heads of the departments, and in that sense, this function has a little in common with HRM.

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The role of HRM can be limited to developing the policy of the enterprise. Line manager are already overloaded, and thus, it is impossible to assign them additional work. The basic idea here consists in releasing HR experts from such duties, so they can be concentrated on other functions such as searching, managing, developing and controlling the retention of talented employees.

Organizational leaders should accurately define what they expect from HRM, including the top priorities of the organization. The work of HR should be collaborative in order for the work to be effective. Addressing strategic HR, there is an important aspect that could be called operational HR. Its role consists in the maintenance of the work of established systems and policies. Operational HR is a first line of contacts with the most important HR users, i.e. the employees of the company.

Operational HR plays the main role in the realisation of HR strategy. The operational part of HR cannot be confused with the transactional or the administrative activity usually attributed to HR, an aspect that can be evident in the case of Savastores stores’ employees. Although such activity as replying to the questions of the employees can be of great importance, it nevertheless does not strongly influences the organizational purposes.

A corresponding culture of the organisation plays an important role in maintaining the reliability of the functioning of HR systems. A necessary aspect is that experts in the field of HR can visually imagine the required culture for a particular organisation. One of the ways to realize such aspect is defining the values and the strategic goals of the organisation, as well as the basic characteristics and approaches which are required for the management of the employees in the organisation.

Further it is necessary to support the given values and the purposes by every possible means, as well as encourage them. In that sense, creating organizational culture, where HR managers would be able to envision their role in providing adequate policies and values that correspond to the company’s strategies, is achievable only where the role of HR mangers is clearly defined. Dividing the aspects of strategic HR and operational HR could be seen as an effective approach in that direction.

Conclusion

It can be seen through the paper that HR management could address each area of concern of Savastores. The main aspect of a successful implementation of HR missions could be seen in acquiring key characteristics of a strategic HR development. Such characteristics include, but not limited to such requirements as a successful integration with the missions of the organisation, support from top management, a thorough knowledge of the business environment, and accurate formulation of the plans and the policies. Therefore, before implementing HR practices to address each are of concern in Savastores, the organisation confirm that the aforementioned requirements are fulfilled.

References

(2008) Corporate Social Responsibility – a necessity not a choice for privately held businesses – press release. International Business Report. Web.

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ARMSTRONG, M. (2006) Strategic human resource management: a guide to action, London; Philadelphia, Kogan Page.

BEARDWELL, J. & CLAYDON, T. (2007) Human resource management: a contemporary approach, Harlow, England; New York, Prentice Hall/Financial Times.

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FERRIS, G. R., HOCHWARTER, W. A., BUCKLEY, M. R., HARRELL-COOK, G. & FRINK, D. D. (1999) Human Resources Management: Some New Directions. Journal of Management, 25, 385-415.

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LIEVENS, F., DAM, K. V. & ANDERSON, N. (2002) Recent trends and challenges in personnel selection. Personnel Review, 31, 580-601.

MARTIN, G., BEAUMONT, P., DOIG, R. & PATE, J. (2005) Branding:: A New Performance Discourse for HR? European Management Journal, 23, 76-88.

Taylor, S (2000) Occupational pensions and employee retention Debate and evidence. Employee Relations. 22, 246-259.

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