Various corporations have portrayed an increased interest in human resources strategic planning. This is because the corporate globe has come to realize the importance of the linkage between organization strategies and objectives of human resource management. The relationship between the mentioned components is principal determinant of an organization gaining competitive advantage. Currently, organizations are formulating strategies to cope up with workplace and environmental challenges. The challenges are such as the rapid change of technology, increased globalization and complex legislation. It is important for individuals dealing with human resource planning to determine what is needed by human resources for purposes of ensuring their plans success.
Therefore, the private office needs not to limit the development and learning activities of its employees. The learning process encompass various steps such as understanding the strategic architecture and intent, identifying shared mindset for employees and customers, specifying the systems architecture for purposes of accomplishing strategic capability and shared mindset sustaining, prioritizing human resource tools, consolidating human resource practices, developing a social architecture action plan, implementing social architecture and measuring of business results and progress.
The private office that will be investigated in the study was founded by Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum on April of 2011. The main purpose of this office is to invest directly in business opportunities that are potential in areas that meet the criteria of the private office investment. Depending on the private office management team wealth of expertise, the office aims to attract ambitious and smart projects, evaluate thoroughly their market potential and assess comprehensively their risk and potential. The strategy of the office is to target market and sectors with significant and distinctive competitive advantage. The market sectors are such as the banking, media, technology, tourism and real estate.
For those projects that are not within the private office preferred sectors of industry or those that do not meet their criteria of investment, the office adds value through leveraging on their contacts wider networks in the region. As such, they assist various businesses in obtaining investment and strategic partners. These make the private office to act as a catalyst providing the connection between ideas, right people, resources and knowledge to come up with the possible outcome.
The private office does a lot of things such as researching the market for business opportunities in various sectors. The opportunities shortlisted are evaluated and identified by the office team of expertise. Once the phase of business plan evaluation has been completed, and the approving of the project has been done for purposes of investments, the execution phase of the business starts. Execution stage comprises the provision of management consultancy and strategic solutions. All these services are often provided by the employees of the private office hence ensuring a successful market entry and sustainable revenue flow.
The office human resource planning performs the following functions: scanning the environment, determining business goals, setting the Human Resource priorities to help in achieving departmental goals and also measure, report and monitor on business progress. Thus, the purpose on this paper is to assess the private office current human resource functions performance, analyze the existing obstacles/ problems and come up with recommendations that will provide solutions to the private office.
Literature Review and Discussion
Human Resource Functions
The human resource planning of any firm comprises of the routine and strategies it has elaborated for purposes of preparing better for the development and analyzing of its human resources. This often depends on the extent to which an organization or private office invests its effort in the elaboration of these routines and strategies. As a consultant, I assume that such investments in human resource planning increases the private office capacity to plan on its development and deployment of organization ends competences. As such, it is good to understand whether a private office has implemented a human resource management strategy that is formal or not. In addition to that, the management team should inquire on the extent to which the organization has routines for purposes of development and training need analysis.
As a matter of fact, the previous research have based their focus on the performance results of practices of human resource(Blundell et al. 1999; Huselid 1995; Delaney & Huselid 1996, pp. 949-969) and extremely little effort has been directed towards the understanding of why organizations invest in those practices(Ethiraj et al. 2005; Gooderham et al. 1999; Larsen 1994). Similarly, the firm resource based view focuses on the resource quality controlled or owned by the organization, rather than the investment of the firm capacity to manage its resources.
From the theoretical and practical point of view, there exists a relative shortage of knowledge about the precondition enabling that are firm specific or encouraging of an organization to invest in human resource planning. Despite the wide body of human resource management practices empirical evidence and policies offering a clear managerial implications, human resource management has remained as an area competing for resources that are scarce such as attention, time and money (Winter 2000). Furthermore, a picture that is more complex of human resource management in a wider firm context needs that the costs being involved in specific human resource planning implementation and the constraints in human resource planning resource allocation are taken into consideration.
Human Resource Management Practices and Policies
Whereas resources that are intangible such as employee competences are significant for competitive advantage, employees and organization performance, they are often static assets whose value depends ideally on the capacity of the firm to deploy and develop such competence resources (Amit and Shoemaker 1993, p.35).
Human resource management policies and practices utilized in strategy management forms the basis for considerable contribution to human resources performance (Inchniowski and Shaw 1999; Huselid 1995). Efforts have been called by Becher and Huselid (2006) to open human resource practice black box by establishing empirical measures of these processes that are intermediate. On the contrary, it is argued that processes that are intermediate and related to human resource functional areas are dependant variables that are appropriate in researches that are empirical within the view that is resource based.
The resource-based theory emphasizes on the protection and deployment of competences that are valuable rather than the firm’s ability to establish these in the long-run (McEvily et al. 2004). Human Resource planning that has the capability of implementing the development of strategic competence should focus on adding to the actual firm resource competence (Døving and Gooderham 2008). Human resource management strategies should ideally provide a connection between competence management and corporate strategy. In addition to that, it should provide analysis of competence development requirements that links developmental processes to human resource management strategies at the level of operational.
Since human resource management of a firm has a wider perspective in comparison to mere employee development and training, the key factor to such a strategy lies in the development of competence resources in the firm through workplace learning and training (McNamara and Baden-Fuller 1999). The presence of human resource functions in the private office for need analysis indicates clearly that the office has invested in human resource planning that is elaborate. However, the office has no plans of training its employees to enhance their competitive advantage in the business environment. Thus, there is need for the private office to invest in human resource planning so that it can compete competitively in the business environment.
Investing in Human Resource Planning
Human resource planning encompasses the office investment in effort, attention, money and time. Since these resources are remarkably scarce and exhibit alternative potential uses, it is obvious that resource and incentive constraints are principal determinants of human resource management investments. Implementing and devising human resource management practices and policies might demand resources that are specific and unevenly distributed among organizations making it damn expensive to achieve.
The anticipated or benefits varies with firms. From the supplementary or alternative view point, it can be contested that, human resource practices are not only implemented because of their proven or assumed benefits, but actually for the pressures from external institutions to embrace certain standards for purposes of remaining and becoming the society and industry legitimate actor (Dimmaggio and DiMaggio 1991; Rumelt et al.1994; Scott and Christensen 1995; Gooderham et al.1999). The above explanation finds its root within the organization theory new institutionalism that focuses on the role of the institutionalized pressures.
All these manifest themselves within and between firms. For example, in majority of European countries, human resource practices of a firm easily become similar knowledge. This is true with those countries with unions that are strong and conditions at the work place are regarded as the issue of the public. Firms have also the capability of exploiting public knowledge with the intention of building an employer brand and also strengthening the reputation of the firm (Martin et al. 2005, pp. 76-88). Liable to institutional pressure, human resource practices and policies in deed are.
Constraints on investing in Human Resource Planning
Human resource management is among the private functional areas that compete for scarce organizational and managerial resources. Costs and resource constraints concerns the ability of a firm to invest in human resource management policy or practice that is specific (Makadok 2001). Previous research findings have highlighted the role of resources in an organization. Carson et al. (2000, pp. 1143-1158) provided a variation with regards to the burdens and difficulties on management implementation across various managerial practices. The findings suggested that, access to personnel that are specifically trained or dedicated lowers human resource practices and policies implementation threshold (Williamson 1985).
There exist discrepancies when it comes to human resource management practitioners’ employees’ selection method that they would like to utilize and the ones they apply in real life situations. This illustrates that practitioners are often unable to come up with practices that are most desirable because of cost considerations or budget constraints. Scale economies or costs have been correlated with the utilization of training and compensation practices. In that case, cost-minimization approach is essential in explaining industrial and human resource management relation practices (Schmitt and Sadowiski 2003, pp. 415).
In the light of the above, it can be argued that, a private office decision to invest in human resource planning systems and practices are merely not dependent on organizational resources or cost considerations already available. However, the private office depends on the perceived or actual benefits of numerous effective and efficient human resource management elaborate approaches. This illustrates the existence of a trade-off between human resource improved husbandry on one hand and human resource management processes cost involved on the other hand.
Research conducted previously has indicated that the benefits of improved development and training greatly depend on job performance variability (Schmidt and Hunter 1998, pp. 265). For managerial and professional jobs, performance variability tends to be larger substantially in comparison to semi-skilled and unskilled jobs. This implies that the advantages of using practices and policies that are more sophisticated in the human resource management of a firm depends on the prevailing categories of jobs in a firm. Therefore, it is expected, that private offices with large number of professionals will tend to invest largely in elaborate and formal human resource policies and practices.
Political and institutional processes
While market and cost benefits might influence on the human resource planning extent of investment, they can also be powerful institutional or non-market factors at play. These factors indicate that, human resource policies and practices that are efficient in one country may be considered ineffective or inappropriate in some context (Giardini et al. 2005; Gooderham et al.2004; Gooderham et al. 1995). For the private office, one source of institutional pressure is via ensuring that human resource planning systems are in the needed place stemming from the relationship between trade unions and employers, the former seeking to ensure long-term equal treatment and employability of its members.
Elaborate human resource planning practices and formal strategies are therefore trade unions interest. Unions plays a significant role in acting as employees collective voice therefore transmitting information that is relevant about the preference of employees to managers. Empirical studies carried out have indicated that, unionization is positively correlated with human resource management formal approach in general. It is assumed that, the greater the number of employees who are unionized, the greater the trade union impact on practices and policies of a company. Consequently, it is expected that firms that are unionized have the likelihood of having a formal approach to human resource management. Thus, the private office is not an exception.
In summary, the traditional human resource management practices that deal with management of employees in an organization have significantly contributed to the bottom line of an organization. Human resource management offers administrative and traditional support services in various organizations. These services are such as recruitment, staffing, development, benefits, compensation and training. Human resource management practice indulges itself with the developing, attracting and maintaining a work force that is effective.
Strategic human resource management emergence as a paradigm shift has resulted to a core responsibility that is more value added. In addition to that, it emphasizes on the need for organizations to integrate business strategy with human resource practices. Being a strategic partner model of a business, strategic human resource management beliefs strongly that critical organization performance or capabilities and behaviors are mandatory if an organization wants to attain a specific business goal or strategy.
Strategic human resource management is a more systematic and radical approach to human capital management via placing emphasis on the performance of an organization rather than the performance of an individual. It is only through this practice that the private office can help in creating a congruence or human resource practice integration with the strategies or goals of a business. As such, the private office will be able to achieve a competitive advantage that is sustained.
The private office also needs to consider the following steps in Human resource and strategic integration. The steps are such as understanding the strategic architecture and intent, identifying shared mindset for employees and customers, specifying the systems architecture for purposes of accomplishing strategic capability and shared mindset sustaining, priotizing human resource tools, consolidating human resource practices, developing a social architecture action plan, implementing social architecture and measuring of business results and progress.
The private office needs to ensure collaboration between human resource and strategic planning. For the private office to become the choice of employees, it has to continue to manage and attract people of high quality to continue gaining competitive advantage. Becoming a choice of employees and managing them is not only an option but also a key to the success of any business. In that case, executives need to diversify their pool of employees through hiring of mature adults and forming good relationships with the surrounding organizations such as community organizations and schools.
Before coming up with any strategy in human resource relationship, there is need to focus on the expectation of customers. This concept can be achieved via interviewing customers and finding out their purchasing criteria and coming up with a list of customer expectations. Thus, having skilled employees is a significant ingredient in achieving business success. For purposes of ensuring better employee management, there is need for employee staffing, appraisal, training and offering of rewards.
For the private office to function as a business partner that is very strategic and an agent of change and to handle successfully the emerging strategic human resource management challenges, the office human resource practitioner must be in possession of the needed strategic core competences and skills. The core competences and skills are such as, being highly knowledgeable about the business environment and the business itself, coming up with a vision that is strategic, operating skills that are global, applying and understanding the information and communication technology regime, effectiveness skills organizational, changing managing skills and ability to manage and understand conflict as well as possessing of internal skills of consulting.
Human resource planners are always sensitive while ensuring credibility and relevance from the deployment of human resource practices. Human resource practices are directly related to business performance. In that case, executives who collaborate with human resource and strategic planners have the final responsibility of ensuring the strategic and human resource plans integration. Human resource and strategic practices often merge into a business plan enabling the building of employee and customer linkages and also ensures competitive advantage that is sustained. In addition to that, in societies that are knowledge based, the force of humans becomes the perfect card to gain a competitive advantage. Human resource management practices create the distinction in environments where competition is the principal element and diverse factors influence the economic growth.
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