There have been many debates about the roles that human resource management (HRM) plays in modern organizations. In particular, scholars and business administrators may not always agree on the value of HR departments and the way in which they can contribute to the performance of enterprises. For instance, some critics may argue that these professionals do not significantly improve the work of businesses (Maxwell & Farquharson, 2008, p. 305). This paper is aimed at discussing senior executives’ opinions on HRM. These stakeholders may perceive it as the cost center or the part of the company that does not directly increase the profitability of corporations. At the same time, HRM can be regarded as the strategic partner or the entity that assists senior executives in developing and implementing strategies. Overall, it is possible to say that modern managers adopt rather optimistic attitudes towards the role of HR professionals who are more willing to adjust their activities to the long-term objectives set by companies. Moreover, they can assist enterprises in creating the competitive advantage. One can say that this issue can have profound implications for the work of many organizations.
The opinions of leading executives
There have been several studies that can illustrate senior executives’ attitudes towards the role of HRM. For instance, one can refer to the research carried out by Maxwell and Farquharson (2008) who focus on the policies and practices adopted by various companies. The scholars survey many corporate managers who assess the contributions of HR departments. According to them, HRM helps businesses gain strengths that are essential for achieving strategic goals. For instance, the respondents focus on the recruitment of highly-skilled professionals who can effectively improve the work of companies (Maxwell & Farquharson, 2008). Admittedly, it may be difficult to estimate the impacts of HRM on the financial performance. However, these departments can find talented professionals who enable businesses to increase their revenues.
Apart from that, senior executives argue that HRM is vital for designing processes that improve the operations of businesses. Much attention should be paid to such aspects as scheduling, performance appraisal, or accountability of employees. The survey indicates that HR departments do not always take an active part in the design of strategies (Maxwell & Farquharson, 2008, p. 311). In other words, these professionals do not frequently participate in setting the goals that corporations should achieve in the future. Nevertheless, top executives believe that HR professionals should fully understand the peculiarities of business strategies and priorities determined by senior managers. This knowledge will assist them in creating better HR practices. As a rule, senior managers want to engage the representatives of HR departments into the discussion of future strategies. This participation is essential for the evaluation of new policies (Martell & Carroll, 1995). These individuals can evaluate the feasibility of the chosen strategies (Martell & Carroll, 1995).
In addition to that, CEOs of many companies believe that HRM can create the employment brands for companies (Human Resources Professionals Association, 2011, p. 5). In other words, these employees need to show that the organization offers many opportunities to its workers. For instance, many businesses lay stress on the idea that they can enable new hires to display their creativity and improve their professional skills. To some degree, this goal has been achieved by some corporations such as Google or Apple (Tsui, 2009, p. 37). Overall, this task is critical for improving the competitiveness of enterprises and their ability to create innovative products on a regular basis.
The strategic role of HRM is also important at the time when companies need to undergo some profound changes (Human Resources Professionals Association, 2011). This function of HR is the major priority for businesses that need to adopt new performance standards or change organizational structure. In many cases, they may need to take these steps to respond to the new trends in the market. Overall, CEOs believes that HR professionals can act as strategic partners if they gain in-depth insight into various businesses processes (Human Resources Professionals Association, 2011). For instance, they need to understand how different departments operate. Secondly, they should accurately identify the skills that workers should possess to improve the performance of companies. Thus, organizational leaders believe that HR managers do not perform only administrative tasks such as compensation or ensuring legal compliance. It is the main detail that should be identified.
Admittedly, there are alternative views on the value of HR. In this case, much depends on the type of the organization and the goals that it tries to achieve. For example, the research article written by Zahi Yaseen (2013) suggests that in educational organizations, HR departments are not viewed as strategic partners. These professionals do not directly contribute to the achievement of the key objectives identified by the management (Yaseen, 2013). To some degree, this result can be explained by the fact that leading executives of for-profit organizations can better see how HRM makes businesses competitive. Additionally, scholars argue that HR departments are more likely to be regarded as strategic partners in knowledge-based organizations that are driven by competition (Thite, 2004). The senior managers of these enterprises know that HR professionals play a significant role in recruiting and retaining the best professionals. Thus, there are several factors that profoundly influence senior executives’ views on the role of HRM.
It is possible to say that HR departments can be viewed only as cost centers if they do not closely cooperate with the professionals who represent other parts of the company. If this requirement is not met, they will not be able to improve the practices of businesses. More likely, these employees will be able to perform only administrative functions that are not directly related to the strategic goals of the organization. Furthermore, other workers may believe that the HR department is only a burden for the entire company. It is the main pitfall that should be avoided by companies that want to improve their sustainability.
Overall, this discussion shows that HRM should not be viewed only as a cost center. This business function is essential for strengthening the key competencies of companies that help these organizations improve their sustainability and attain strategic objectives. HR departments can make companies less vulnerable to the factors requiring dramatic changes in the business strategies. The task of leading executives is to create mechanisms enabling HR professionals to understand the primary goals of an enterprise. Provided that they overlook this issue, HR departments will remain only cost centers. Additionally, the attitude towards them will be mostly negative. Therefore, HR managers and senior executives should work closely with one another. This partnership can make businesses more responsive to changes in the external environment.
Human Resources Professionals Association. (2011). The Role and Future of HR: The CEO’s Perspective. Web.
Martell, K., & Carroll, S. (1995). How strategic is HRM? Human Resource Management, 34(2), 253-267.
Maxwell, G., & Farquharson, L. (2008). Senior managers’ perceptions of the practice of human resource management. Employee Relations, 30(3), 304-322.
Thite, M. (2004). Strategic positioning of HRM in knowledge-based organizations. The Learning Organization, 11(1), 28-44.
Tsui, A. (2009). Professional Practices of Human Resource Management in Hong Kong: Linking HRM to Organizational Success. New York, NY: University Press.
Yaseen, Z. (2013). Clarifying the strategic role of the HR managers in the UAE educational institutions. Journal of Management and Sustainability, 3(2), 110-118.