Strategic Human Resource Management and Objectives

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Understand how the strategic management of human resources contributes to the achievement of organizational objectives

Explain the importance of strategic human resource management in organizations

In a fast-changing world that is characterized by a highly competitive business environment, firms must operate efficiently by applying the best strategies that will ensure that they remain competitive. According to Boxall and Purcellv (2011), one of the best ways that an organization can gain a competitive advantage over other players in its sector is through ensuring that it has the best personnel in its team.

In this case, strategic human resource management plays an important role in organizations in guiding all the activities and resources that are dedicated to attracting and maintaining a highly motivated workforce that can drive the firm’s business agenda. Firstly, the human resource unit represents the most important asset in any organization. Thus, a business that is keen on attaining and maintaining its success must start with the right staffing.

As such, Bratton and Gold (2012) assert that strategic human resource management guides an organization towards the attraction, recruitment, and maintenance of the optimal number of employees with the right skills for all the relevant tasks. Secondly, a good working environment provides for open communication and a sense of teamwork. Employees who are satisfied and in agreement with the goals of the company can work more productively. In this case, strategic human resource management guides an organization in attaining a culture that facilitates teamwork and motivation towards the achievement of individual and the firm’s goals.

Assess the purpose of strategic human resource management activities in an organization

The main purpose of strategic human resource management activities in an organization is to provide a strategic and logical approach to the management of a firm’s most important assets, namely, the people who contribute to the attainment of the goals of the business.

Besides, strategic HRM is tasked with setting an organization’s goals, identification of the organization’s needs, the utilization of human resources, and the identification of relationships among the numerous departments. It also determines workers’ responsibilities and duties, sets the appropriate human resource type for an organization, and/or establishes performance evaluation strategies. The case of Marks & Spencer Group provides an important basis for the discussion of the purpose of strategic human resource management in an organization.

Marks & Spencer Group is the world’s leading British retailer dealing in apparel and related products. The company, which was formed in 1884, has grown tremendously. It currently operates a global chain of retail stores that sell its products to millions of people. As a company with a premium brand and reputation, Mello (2014) reveals how human resource management forms a major basis for its strategies of ensuring that it maintains its name and success in the industry. The company has revenue of approximately £10.6bn. It employs an average of 82,948 people who provide important skills for the respective roles that exist in the organization.

The strategic human resource of Marks & Spencer Group is very well developed. The company recruits approximately 20,000 employees within a year, with some working temporarily depending on the amount of work available (Mello 2014). Such a situation places immense pressure on the human resource managers to predict and correctly recruit or retrench employees in response to human resource demands due to the fluctuating flow of business. To guarantee effective human resource management, the structure of management of Marks & Spencer is as follows:

  1. Board of Directors
  2. Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director
  3. Country Directors
  4. Chief Financial Officer
  5. Chief Technical Officer
  6. Divisional Head
  7. Retail Store Managers
  8. Other Employees (store staff/Attendants and customer care)

In the case of Marks & Spencer, strategic human resource management plays a significant purpose. Firstly, due to the high numbers of employees recruited, as well as those who leave the organization, strategic human resource management ensures succession planning that leads to a smooth transition in the event that employees leave and/or new ones are employed. Secondly, according to Armstrong and Taylor (2014), the strategic human resource management at the company facilitates employee engagement.

Such an approach ensures that a high number of employees are motivated to work for the best interest of the organization. Lastly, as a multinational company, Marks & Spencer envisions a workforce, which is more mobile and able to undertake different tasks when the need arises (Armstrong & Taylor 2014). Consequently, human resource management plays an important role in facilitating training and employee development.

Evaluate the contribution of strategic human resource management to the achievement of an organization’s objectives

The role of strategic human resource (SHR) planning is to predict future human resource requirements by prior analysis of the current labor and human resource market. In most cases, strategic human resource planning is mistakenly assumed to be the same as operational planning. However, the main distinguishing factor between the two business planning components is that strategic human resource planning keenly analyzes HR management issues, which are external to the firm, and consequently develop future situational analysis, which is not the case with operational planning.

As a case in point, Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) at Mark & Spence played an important role in ensuring that it could achieve its goals through a vibrant and highly motivated workforce. Numerous opportunities are available for entry and growth at the company. Such opportunities are a recipe for a highly motivated workforce. In addition, the company is able to attract and maintain the right employees for its different tasks because of its effective SHRM. Consequently, the strategic human resource management at the company has been effective in facilitating the achievement of its goals through an efficient and professional workforce.

Developing human resource plans for an organization

Analyze the business factors that underpin human resource planning in an organization

Human resource planning ensures that businesses keep up with the legislative, economic, technological, and social trends, which affect them externally or internally. Human resource plans ensure that organizations are prepared for any projected and unforeseen changes in the business environment. Hence, several factors underpin human resource planning in an organization. Firstly, business growth is an important factor for human resource management in any organization.

In this case, as an organization grows in its market, Boxall and Purcellv (2011) assert that it has to anticipate and take proactive measures to meet its human resource demands and needs. In this case, a good human resource plan ensures that the organization has the optimal number of employees at any given time. Secondly, the changing nature of work is a critical driver of human resource planning. According to Bratton and Gold (2012), such changes can be brought about by new technologies, new competition, or entry into new markets, among other factors. Each of these situations presents an organization with new challenges that it must address through its human resources. Consequently, the organization must ensure that its plan can adequately make employees adapt to new changes or roles that may arise.

Lastly, technology can easily render some tasks irrelevant or obsolete while at the same time creating new roles. A human resource plan ensures that the adoption of new technology does to affect the operations of a company negatively. Instead, it should contribute to the achievement of the goals of the organization. Human resource planning also ensures that an organization stays ready for future expected and unexpected changes in the business environment by being flexible and finally. Besides, it ensures that the firm is always furnished with skilled personnel whose role is to meet the operational plans and strategic goals of the organization.

The HR planning strategy involves the analysis of the current human resource capacity within a firm, predicting future HR requirements, gap analysis, and the development of strategies that support the organizational goals.

Assess the human resource requirements in a given situation

The entry of Subway IP Inc. in sub-Saharan African, specifically in the East African Republic of Kenya, presents the world’s leading fast-food chain with unique human resource requirements that it must address. Firstly, the company will have to identify personnel requirements that will be able to run and operate its outlets in the new market. It will need to consider the skills, the number of employees, and qualifications that are essential in operating its outlets. The second important requirement will be the ability of the company to adhere to local labor laws and regulations as per Kenyan law. Lastly, the company will be hard-pressed to ensure that employees who are recruited understand the goals and mission of the company to facilitate the additional success of its global operations.

Develop a human resources plan for an organization

A human resources plan is very crucial in an organization. It includes several activities such as recruitment, retention, employee development, and succession planning, among others. In addition, it is critical in determining a business outcome, planning of goals, and setting of SMART Targets. The following represents a human resource plan for Subway IP Inc.:

Objectives of the human resources plan

The objective of the human resources plan is to ensure that the organization can recruit, train, develop, and retain appropriate staff members who can guide the firm towards the achievement of its objectives of an excellent fast-food industry player.

Selection and recruitment

In this role, Foot and Hook (2008) assert that the human resources plan will facilitate the designing of job descriptions that capture the expected competencies in employees. In addition, it will ensure that qualified individuals are selected and recruited to occupy positions that best match their skills and competencies for the best outcomes of the organization.

Employee development

The human resource plan will facilitate the growth of employees through training and appropriate promotion opportunities for deserving individuals (Mello 2014). The plan will ensure that Subway continues to have highly competent and motivated employees with up to date skills.


Retention of employees is an important part of any effective human resources plan. According to Armstrong and Taylor (2014), Subway desires to attract and retain its best talent. As such, the human resources plan will facilitate the implementation of factors of motivation such as a good working environment and good compensation, among other factors that will reduce the rate of employee turnover.

Critically evaluate how a human resources plan can contribute to meeting an organization’s objectives

The main aim of any human resource is to ensure that workers are utilized to their best benefit and that of the organization. This goal is achieved by ensuring that the organization has the ideal number of employees with the right competencies for the available positions and tasks. In this case, human resource planning facilitates the achievement of an organization’s goals in various ways.

Firstly, as Mello (2014) reveals, human resource planning ensures the recruitment and retention of the optimal number of employees. If an organization’s activities are increasing through expansion into a new location or increasing the number of customers, then the human resources plan ensures the recruitment, training, and retention of the optimal number of employees. On the other hand, if the business is shrinking, the human resource plans will facilitate the retrenchment of employees.

Secondly, the human resource plan ensures the recruitment and retention of the right people for the right job. This factor is critical in determining the success of an organization. Hence, the need for the right people, the right number of them, and the right job are non-negotiable for a company that seeks to remain competitive.

Lastly, a human resource plan ensures the achievement of goals through cutting business costs. A bloated and unqualified workforce brings about some of the unnecessary costs. As such, human resource planning ensures that the organization has the optimal number of employees with the relevant skills.

Understanding human resources policy requirements in an organization

Explain the purpose of human resource management policies in organizations

Human resource management policies play an important role in an organization. Such policies guide the conduct of employees while facilitating their smooth interaction in the organization. Some of the purposes of human resource management policies in a company include:

Health and safety

An organization has a critical role in protecting the health and safety of its employees. If employees do not feel safe, they cannot work optimally. Thus, as Schuler and Jackson (2008) confirm, insecure employees can jeopardize the achievement of the company’s goals. As such, the human resource policies ensure that employees are safe from injury, fire, diseases, and accidents.

Bullying and harassment

Human resource policies are very strict in addressing bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, discrimination, and racism (Schuler & Jackson 2008). Consequently, human resource management policies ensure that employees are protected from such vices that may disrupt productivity.

Analyze the impact of regulatory requirements on human resource policies in an organization

Organizations do not operate in a vacuum but in environments that have regulatory frameworks, which are put forward by respective governments in areas where the businesses operate. Some of these regulatory frameworks include the Race Relations Act and the Sex Discrimination Act.

For instance, in many countries, the Sex Discrimination Act prohibits the discrimination of individuals based on their sex or on actual or assumed sexual orientation. In addition, no organization is allowed to discriminate against women because of their pregnancy or maternity.

Secondly, the Race Relations Act prohibits organizations or an individual from discriminating people based on their color, nationality, or religion (Schuler & Jackson 2008). Other important regulatory frameworks relate to employment Acts that guide how people should be recruited. Further, the Acts prohibit discrimination against people based on their race, sex, disability, and sexual orientation.

Examining human resources management in an organization

Analyze the impact of an organizational structure on the management of human resources

The organizational structure has an impact on the management of human resources. In this case, organizational structures have two categories, namely, centralized and decentralized structures. In a centralized organizational structure, human resource management is also centralized and thus undertaken from a single office to ease management and decision-making. However, in organizations with operations in different business segments or countries, a centralized organizational structure is not very effective.

It can delay decision-making and further make it difficult for an organization to respond to the country or market-specific problems in the right way (Mello 2014). In this case, a decentralized organizational structure is the most effective since it facilitates the establishment of different human resource management offices that will respond to the unique requirements of a country. Such an approach ensures that the mandate of the human resource management is spread across different business segments or markets, thus responding appropriately to the business needs as per the situations available.

Analyze the impact of organizational culture on the management of human resources

Organizational culture includes all the aspects that guide how employees think about a company, including the values and ideas that they share about the business. In this case, developing a culture where employees hold the company highly and happy to work for is an important aspect and the goal of human resource management (Armstrong & Taylor 2014). The cultural beliefs held by individuals about an organization influence their actions and the success of the firm.

It is for this reason that the culture and HRM function are closely intertwined. The HRM functions, which constitute resourcing, performance management, employee development, working conditions, and employee relations, are all important precursors to organizational culture (Mello 2014). Consequently, the organizational culture and HRM both affect each other in determining the success of a business. If organizational culture is not well established, employees may lack a clear sense of direction or, generally, a lack of shared beliefs, a situation that deprives them of the shared purpose or vision for the business. Such a situation may have devastating effects on the achievement of the business goals.

Examine how the effectiveness of human resources management is monitored in an organization

An effective human resources management is essential for the achievement of the goals of an organization. Successful human resource management approaches uphold the monitoring of roles. They also appreciate changes made where necessary. Without monitoring, failure in human resource management would take a long to be corrected. The effect would be enormous and unacceptable due to the role that human resources play in an organization (Bratton & Gold 2012). It is for this reason that various ways of monitoring human resource management have been established.

Firstly, monitoring of human resources can be undertaken using performance indicators. The measures that human resource management puts in place to improve the performance of employees must have positive results for an organization. If otherwise, it is advisable to change tactics or implement new approaches towards employee performance improvement. This goal can only be possible if the human resource management is monitored through the performance indicators of employees. The second approach is through the measurement of human resource efficiency. In this case, the main goal is to have the organization attain the optimal number of employees with the right skills and the right jobs (Mello 2014). If this goal is not achieved, it can cause a mismatch of roles and poor work outputs.

Make justified recommendations to improve the effectiveness of human resource management in an organization

One of the recommendations that Subway should adopt towards its human resource management is the establishment of country-specific guidelines on the recruitment of employees into its workforce. As it stands, the company strives to apply the same requirements for employees in different countries without considering other factors that may be present and unique in a given country. Another important recommendation is the benchmarking of human resource performance. In this case, there is the need to have established approaches for monitoring the performance of human resource management to ensure that it is performing in the best way possible to drive the company’s agenda through the employees that the HR departments recruit.


Armstrong, M & Taylor, S 2014, Armstrong’s handbook of human resource management practice, Kogan Page Publishers, New York, NY.

Boxall, P & Purcellv, J 2011, Strategy and human resource management, Palgrave Macmillan, London, UK.

Bratton, J & Gold, M 2012, Human resource management: theory and practice, Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Foot, M & Hook, C 2008, Introducing human resource management, Pearson Education, New York, NY.

Mello, J 2014, Strategic human resource management, Nelson Education, New York, NY.

Schuler, R & Jackson, S 2008, Strategic human resource management, John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY.

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