In any competitive business environment, structures need to be put in place to ensure that every department operates at optimum efficiency. Coffee Bean Industries is no exception. The Human Resource department helps the company to meet its clients’ demands. Without specific guidelines, an organization can over-exhaust its resources. These resources are represented in terms of manpower, time, and money. Human resource strategies are therefore important for any business to thrive in today’s high-tech, the fast-paced world (Small Business Bible 2008). An article from the Small Business Bible (2008) states that “It not only helps an organization to manage its employees, but it also ensures that work is done effectively and efficiently so that both the employees and the management are satisfied”.
According to Schuler and Walker (1990), Human Resource Strategy (HRS) is defined as “a set of processes and activities jointly shared by human resources and line managers to solve business-related problems”. An alternative Human Resource Strategy requires a manager to think in terms of business and find out whether or not a new upgraded system will improve the organization’s performance (Minneman 1996). According to Minneman (1996), this approach ensures that the value of work is improved. This can be done by focusing on the strategic contributions that the new system will make towards achieving the specified business objectives (Minneman 1996).
Health Manpower Management, a book by Thomas (1996) describes Human Resource strategy as a formal process that involves specified concepts and ideas. These concepts are used by managers to improve an organization’s overall performance (Thomas 1996).
HRS is supposed to maximize employee performance while meeting the clients’ demands (Minneman 1996). HRS provides internal services that are paramount in any successful company (Minneman 1996). Human Resource Strategies also provide an organization with vital information (Minneman 1996). This data can be used to develop the pre-existing skills of employees and ensure that all departments are run by competent parties (Minneman 1996).
A sample paper on Strategic Human Resource Management (Feinberg 2009) concurs and states that HRS is linked to an organization’s overall strategy. All the departments of an organization should be in tune with whatever business strategies may be implemented (Feinberg 2009). This will ensure that communication between the staff and the HR department takes place effectively (Feinberg 2009).
According to an article by HR Magazine (Minneman 1996, n.p.)
“The value-added approach tackles the cost justification issue by linking the capabilities of the HRIS to the organization’s key business strategies. Using that approach, the human resource systems manager first identifies the way the comprehensive workforce information supports the organization’s business goals and makes achieving them easier. The manager then develops an HRIS architecture and deployment strategy tailored to support those goals.
Value-added or strategic justification recognizes the business value of employee information. Using this approach, the HRIS manager can define a pyramid of value to the organization, with each level of the pyramid supporting the levels above it. The pyramid is defined from the top-down because the manager must know and state the requirements of each level to define the requirements for supporting it.”
According to Becker, Huselid, and Ulrich (2001), one of the best decisions a Human Resource manager can make is to ensure that they strategically come up with a system of measurement that examines how Human resources impacts employee performance. Schein (1984) argues that such strategies must be directly linked with a corporate culture so that employee performance is optimized. These strategies can also give the organization an edge over its competitors (Schein 1984). “To design such a measurement system, HR managers must adopt a dramatically different perspective, one that focuses on how human resources can play a central role in implementing the firm’s strategy. With a properly developed strategic Human Resource structure, a manager can understand exactly how people can create value.” (Becker, et al. 2001).
In their book, The HR Scorecard, Becker et al. (2001, n.p.) state that “With the right mindset and measurement tools, the HR architecture can mean the difference between a company that’s just keeping pace with the competition and one that is surging ahead”. Eastern Point Consulting Group Inc. (2003) prides itself on the implementation of Human Resource policies and procedures that deal with Environmental Assessments, performance management processes, performance review systems, and conflict resolution. This company can use the same techniques to ensure that all recruits qualify for any available positions within the organization. This can be done through interviews that work based on scrutiny (Eastern Point Consulting Group Inc. 2003).
Cantwell (2009) states that HRS enables companies to retain good workers while ensuring that they adapt to new business environments. Employee performance can be improved by finding out whether or not they are interested in upgrading their skills (Cantwell 2009). A report from Strategic-Human-Resource.com agrees, stating that HRS can be used to “engage, motivate and retain your talented employees” (Strategic Human Resource Management 2009). Taking the time to find the best fit for a specified department can be quite rewarding (Cantwell 2009). According to Cantwell (2009), potential employees should have extensive screening processes and top candidates should be interviewed on multiple occasions.
Lines (2010, p.1) applies a similar approach by stating that “stability of the workforce is just as essential as uninterrupted sources of raw material and transport.” Lines (2010, p.1) emphasizes that employees are an organization’s core driving force.
Employees tend to act impulsively in the workplace. Strategies are therefore necessary to ensure that there are standards of integrity that apply to an organization’s co-workers (Sarvadi 2010). Expectations must therefore be set to ensure that employee performance is improved (Sarvadi 2010). Employees must also be encouraged to meet these expectations. A New Human Resource Strategy is one of the most effective ways to deal with inefficiency in the company.
One of the major steps in making a new Human Resource Strategy is defining the specific roles people play in a company. People should be aware of their responsibilities. A new HRS ensures that there are clear reporting structures that state the hierarchy of responsibility within an organization (Sarvadi 2010).
According to Sarvadi (2010, n.p.), “This approach applies not only to intradepartmental structures but also to company-wide or interdepartmental projects. In addition, role definition is a foundational part of establishing clear performance expectations for each employee” (Sarvadi 2010)
A new HRS ensures that project managers and their subordinates have a precise definition of acceptable behavior within the organization (Sarvadi 2010). Clients are likely to lodge complaints if an organization violates their rights. Human Resource Strategies help to outline what is expected of company employees. On more than one occasion, people in charge have been held accountable for the faults of their employees. Legal action can be taken against an organization if certain standards that the client expects are not met (Eastern Point Consultancy 2003). Clear and precise behavioral standards should therefore be set. This should be done in the form of rules and regulations which establish a framework for identifying and dealing with the violations of these standards (Sarvadi 2010). The standards should be documented to ensure that offenders are held accountable for their actions. Specifying expectations saves company resources by making sure that legal action is only taken when it is necessary. Lawsuits are expensive, especially if an entire department is irrevocably at fault.
A new HRS outlines the consequences of employee misdemeanor. If it is put in place, it will act as a guideline for managers and executives alike. It can be used when dealing with an employee who does not conform to the organization’s standards of professional integrity. It can also be implemented when managers are deciding whether or not to sack a perpetual non-conformist.
According to Sarvadi (2010, n.p.)
“By nature, people are complex beings who will confound you one minute and astound you the next. And except for violations that warrant immediate firings, it’s usually a wise, compassionate, and financially prudent course to help people strengthen their character by overcoming their weaknesses. Also, this approach provides you with a way to retain experienced employees and recover your investment in their training.”
A new HRS requires a guidebook so that employees can always refer to it whenever they are in doubt (Sarvadi 2010). Guidebooks are vital and improve a company’s chances of avoiding litigation. They save on company time by enabling employees to train themselves.
Training has been known to deplete many organizations of their valuable resources (Sarvadi 2010). Employee guidelines save these resources by avoiding training sessions that would cost the company both time and money.
Kiamba (2010) says,” cost factor is one of the dimensions that affect the general financial results in an organization. An overstrained personnel budget may be due to high uncontrolled employee overheads” (Kiamba 2010). A company’s financial turnover can be improved by reducing the expenses associated with the workers (Kiamba 2010). This is just one of the many Human Resource Strategies applicable in a practical work environment.
According to Kiamba’s report (2010, n.p.)
“Salaried workers usually require a lot of commitment by the company in appreciation of their work. Companies engage in schemes and benefits that put their budgets high. Hiring workers at an hourly rate could be one way to cut down on the huge financial budgets for the staff”.
The Directory Journal (2009) emphasizes the need for a flexible work environment that can motivate an organization’s employees. According to the Directory Journal (2009), employees are more likely to perform if the Human Resource Department gives them some incentive.
A system of open management, where information is disseminated frequently is also advised (Directory Journal 2009). Sharing opinions is one of the key elements of a good work environment.
Performance reviews are crucial and should never be ignored when implementing effective Human Resource Strategies. The Directory Journal (2009) states the following:
“Good performance is appreciated in the form of a pat on the back, bonuses, or giving some other compensation for a job well done. It is important to keep in mind that these bonuses should not be given without a reason unless it is a commitment for annual bonuses or some such thing. Doing so will only reduce the perceived value of the bonuses.”
Feedback concerning the performance of all company employees is equally important (Directory Journal 2009). People respond well to good performance reviews (Directory Journal 2009). They strive to maintain good performance as long as the HR department informs them on how to do so. The same can be said of poor performance. Employees should know that there is always room for improvement. Faults and weaknesses should therefore be pointed out and corrected if necessary. Managers and executives are not above reproach if their contribution to the organization is lacking. They are expected to take responsibility for all of their actions. Good HR Strategies should therefore ensure that the right parties are held accountable for whatever mistakes they make.
This strategy ensures that all employees receive equal treatment within the organization. Every individual opinion is worth being considered (Directory Journal 2009). According to Directory Journal (2009), “every team member is responsible for giving constructive feedback. This kind of system helps to identify people who can perform well as leaders at higher levels in the organization. Even the senior level managers can use this system to their advantage, as a tool to improve themselves” (Directory Journal 2009). Goffee and Scase (1986) argue that subordinates are often subjected to unnecessary criticism. Goffee et al. (1986) state that in any work environment, middle management is often held responsible for the mistakes of upper-level management. This is inappropriate. HRS should therefore ensure that all employees are protected from unnecessary deconstructive criticism.
An excerpt from the Small Business Bible (2008) states the following:
“Most typical human resource strategies last around 5 years and need to be evaluated on a six-monthly or annual basis to be sure that the strategies are not only in line with where the company wants to go, but also take into consideration the situation in the market and around the world. It is also important that the human resource strategy also fits in with the company’s overall business plan.”
An online article states that “Human resource strategies serve to incorporate Human Resource plans into the ‘mainstream of organizational strategy and management” (Strategic Human Resource Management Helps You Achieve Success 2009). According to the article, HRS can help an organization to “instill belief on the importance of people in achieving the overall corporate plan, that your people add value to the business operations of your organization” (Strategic Human Resource Management Helps You Achieve Success 2009).
HRS ensures that employees think and act strategically when carrying out their duties and responsibilities (Strategic Human Resource Management Helps You Achieve Success 2009). The article also states that HRS can be used to “design performance incentive plans which can be used to continuously motivate employees” (Strategic Human Resource Management 2009). This not only cuts company costs but also improves the organization’s productivity.
Time and resources are the most vital things to consider when developing policies and strategies for any organization (Sarvadi 2010). These are investments as well as essential components of a well-documented Human Resource Strategy (Sarvadi 2010).
Ordiorne (1985) argues that subjecting these strategies to tests will enable one to know whether or not they are effective.
Minneman (1996) agrees and states that “once Human Resource leaders understand the key business strategies, they can define the implications those strategies have for the organization’s workforce and the HR function. Human resource strategies are the functions and capabilities HR must provide to support the organization’s business direction. For example, expansion into new lines of business may call for new competencies and skill sets that must be acquired either by hiring new people or by retraining the current workforce” (Minneman 1996).
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