Strategic Human Resources Management
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Strategic Human Resources Management
The development of a human resource strategy that can support the plan of the business needs HRM planning to be included and recognized as an integral part of business planning strategy. The integration of the HR strategy and strategic planning is one of the chief elements that contribute to entrepreneurial excellence. Four themes underpin the integration of HR strategic planning (Dawson, 1995). The first theme or assumption is that excellence in business entails a wider scope than just the mere accumulation of practices that are excellent. Secondly, achieving excellence in the corporate arena is the single most vital element that can be used by a business to achieve its missions, goals and visions (Agrylis, 1999). Thirdly, the aforementioned element gives the organization a holistic view where the focal point is the total organization and the totality of the team being the underpinning concepts. The fourth assumption is that people tend to do the things they consider important, the ones the boss regards as important or the ones they enjoy well.
In recent years, organizations have been on the decline especially due to the external climate created by mergers and acquisitions. Businesses have been forever in search of better ways of doing business while others have been keen in the adoption of strategies for survival. These strategies include reengineering, management of total quality, while other struggle in the maintenance of their competitive advantage. Most businesses have become vulnerable to the external climate because they have not learnt the lessons of excellence (Bennis, 1989).
Organizations must in the modern business climate try to respond with speed to avoid the risks of the external climate and the internal complications. This is why most organizations are shifting from the traditional heavy economy to knowledge economy meaning that the human resources have become the single most important drivers of many enterprises. Global trading, information management and the selection and recruitment of people because of their knowledge and creativity have become the established norms in the modern entrepreneurial world (Smallbone, 1995). There is a lot of emphasis on the investment in the development of the organizational human resources where the traditional crude pay is being reinforced with rewards, retention and other HR practices that are strategic (Scott, 1992). This means that the HR departments must realign their functions in order to create a mindset that revolves around motivation of workers and mixing long term and short-term strategies that underpin the strategic direction of the business. This means that if the aspirations of the business are the major assets of the business, the only other asset that can work hand in hand with those aspirations, goals and objectives are the people.
The HR departments in many organizations have become strategic meaning that they are an integral part of the realization of the visions and missions of the organization. Various HR practices like Recruitment and selection induction and training, career development, succession planning, compensation management, outplacement and retirement are not being done in the conventional arbitrary method but they have to be in like with the strategic direction of the firm (Peters,1992). This is why strategic decision-making must precede the HR functions of the organizations because it is the strategic decisions made that will determine how the strategic functions will be carried out. An organization must therefore identify its missions and visions, which must be articulated to all the shareholders. Clear visions and missions are very fundamental for the development of HR strategies because they have to be relevant with the literacy levels and the competencies of the employees who will have to face the challenge of delivering it.
One of the problems faced by organizations is the development of unrealistic strategic plans that completely destabilize the HR functions. This is because at times there is absence of leadership competence that does not understand that an umbilical cord connects the strategies with their relevance to the people who will be supposed to execute it. This is why the HR department must also be part of the strategic decision making process. The best way of helping in the making of the strategic decisions is by using its competencies model where the competencies of the already existing employees are factored in such that while most of the visions and missions will be planned around the competencies and the creativity levels of the existing employees. This will minimize the need to make a complete overhaul or a reengineering that would be occasioned by strategic decisions that do not factor in the competencies of the employees. Where the strategic decisions go beyond the competencies of the existing HR, external recruitment would be the most appropriate HR function otherwise, internal promotions based on competencies and performance would be the most viable option as long as the competencies and the performance of the existing HR is factored in during the strategic decision making process (Oakland,1995). The strategic plans can be easily realized using a HR team that is already acquainted with the practices of the organization meaning that the internal promotions would be the most viable HR practice especially when recruiting for middle level and top management positions. This will be a key factor that will address the challenges in the identification of the routes that an organization will take in order to achieve the strategic visions by creating the critical success factors that will ensure that there is optimum advantage and customer satisfaction.
Since successful strategic planning is about unleashing the completely organizational potential, it is important to realize that most of this potential lies in its human resources and these calls for an organizational leadership system that inspires the human resources to share in the vision for the mutual embracement and fulfillment. The use of the correct HR practices will enable an organization to adopt a holistic approach that will enable it to capitalize on the competitive market trends avoiding internal divisions and personal agendas that end up blocking the path to the realization of the strategic plans.
Human resources Plan for 2010-11 for Choithram Supermarkets
The technological, economic and political dynamics around the world have had an impact on the company’s social, business and cultural environment because of the varying employee expectations and consumer relations (Wiseman, 1995). Walmat focuses on growth based profitability making sure that there is advantage of information that creates business efficiency through the management of the creative and intellectual capital to create change that is continuous (Zairi, 1994). To face the emerging environmental challenges, the company has been forced to build a HR system that revolves around competencies and this has helped to promote high standard in the highly competitive retail market. However, the practices need to be constantly reviewed in the face of the dynamic political and business environment and the dynamism in the expectations of the consumers. This will help in the realization of improved customer service, speed, convenience, innovativeness and cost reduction.
In line with the strategic plans of the Choithram supermarket for the year 2010-11, the HR department will carry a variety of strategic HR functions in order to make sure that the plans are carried out effectively. One of the strategic plans that the company has is expansion and acquisitions in order to widen it market reach and profitability. The second strategic plan is cost reduction through the integration of the state of the art technologies that will help in reducing various expenses like power. The third strategic plan is the partnerships with the forever-living company that will see the company add a new division specifically for the aloe Vera based herbal products. There will be a variety of internal and external factors that will affect the way in which the HR department that will carry out its functions that will lead to the fulfillment of the aforementioned strategic plans. Of notable importance will be the expansion and acquisitions because there are a variety of economic and political factors to be considered.
Recruitment and Selection
Recruitment and selection are in many cases viewed as one single process but there is a difference. Recruitment is an overall procedure where hiring is done to fill the available or emergent positions while selection is a more detailed procedure that involves identification of the most qualified individual to fill a position that is vacant (Macdonald, 1995). In the process of achieving the aforementioned strategic plans, new positions will emerge that will force the HR department to conduct recruitments and other positions will fall vacant and this will call for a need to conduct selection. During the expansion of the Choithram supermarkets, most of the middle level managers will be promoted to become senior managers in the new branches, which means that the new management positions will be filled only through internal promotions. This is going to work because the HR department has factored in the performance of these divisional managers and their competencies and a decision has been made that there is no need to source external managers because the management staff that is already there can handle the administration of the new chains with the required competencies. However, the HR will use external recruitment to source for human resources to run the new technologies that the company is going to install in order to cut the costs. This is because the technology cannot run itself and if the technology has not been in the company before, it means that there might be very few people in the current team that can handle the new technology. One of these cost-cutting technologies is the use of the RFID that will help in inventories and surveillance. The recruitment will follow the competencies model where the technological work force will be recruited based on their past performances elsewhere in running the technology (Senge, 1990). For the business partnership with the forever-living international, the HR functions may be very tricky for the department because of the field that the company is venturing into and the current HR management may not be able to conduct selection and recruitment in a manner that is satisfactory. This means that the input of the HR department of the partners will be sourced because it has the expertise of selecting and recruiting the candidates in the herbal health and homecare field. In the selection and the recruitment process, the HR department will use the electronic method so that the company will have a wide reach of the desired candidates for recruitment (Morris, 1995).
Induction and Training
Induction is a very vital process in the modern business world. This is because it can enhance the well being and the productivity of the company. A bad induction can create confusion that will affect the productivity negatively because the staff will not be familiar with their functions or their place in the organization. After selection and recruitment, the HR Company will carry out an induction of the staff but the induction for the internally promoted and the externally recruited candidates will be done differently. For the externally recruited candidates, the induction will include the explanation of the culture of the company, company benefits, payment methods, hours of work, company hierarchy, , job description, the amenities in the company and even introduction to workmates. For the internally promoted ones, the main induction will be the explanation of the job description.
Staff training will be conducted on the job and will mainly involve acquainting the new employees with the Choithram supermarkets’ way of doing things. The employees were hired because they know how to do the job, which means the training, is not to show them how to do the job, but the company specific ways of doing it. Training will be a continuous process because not all these details can be crammed within a day. Spreading the training over several days or weeks ensures that the employees are able to perform the duties assigned to them effectively.
Career development for the employees by harnessing and developing their intellectual capacity and competencies is a factor that is critical to success implementation and it is something that in the past has been compromised by the defensive posture adopted by leadership (Juran, 1996). The defense of the status quo should not be a case in an environment that is competitive. That is why the HR department will formulate plans where training is continuous to ensure that the employees do not remain stagnant in the face of a very dynamic world. This will include the motivation towards employees so that they can take career improvement course and ensuring that the company offers partial sponsorship for the individuals who are taking steps towards the advancement of the career. This is because the HR department understands that continued intellectual and competency enhancement is a vital asset to the company (Kanji, 1995). Apart from self-sponsored career advancement courses, the company will still be getting career experts in various fields to conduct training on emerging trends in the industry to ensure that the employees are up to date with the modern trends and goes on with his or her role as he or she trains.
Job Group wise Vacancy forecasting and plans for filling those vacancies
Job group vacancy forecasting is another function of the HR department that is crucial in the strategic planning process. The HR department will be able to forecast when there is a job vacancy by regular checking of the employment records to monitor the various periods when the contracts of different employees are ending. This will help the company to avoid the pitfalls that are occasioned by the sudden departure of an employee after the end of the contract (Jones, 1996). In this case, the HR department will ensure that 2 months prior to the end of the contract of an employee, the employee is approached for a possible extension of the contract especially the competent ones. The process of recruiting will start months prior to the end of the contract in case where the employee is not in a position to renew the contract or the company does not wish to extend the contract. This will ensure that there is no vacuum created by the departure.
Succession planning and Retirement/ Outplacement of inefficient employees
Succession planning is a process that is used to identify and develop the personnel in the internal organization (Darghard, 1998). It ensures that there is availability of experienced personnel with the capability to fill critical organizational positions meaning that they can fill certain roles when they become vacant. The HR department of the Choithram supermarket will transform the employees from individual contributors to leaders and managers through its succession planning function. The first thing will be developing talent for long term growth where the employees will be prepared to undertake key roles in order to enhance their performance. It will also ensure that the commitment of the employees is improved thus promoting employee retention. It will also counter the difficulties that are posed by external recruitment and ensure that there is no vacuum in the line of leadership continuity. Lastly, it is an effective tool that will help the Hr department in monitoring of the proficiency levels of the employees. Overall, it will reduce the risks posed by leadership or managerial vacuum by creating a leadership model with a smooth continuity. Vacuums are also created by retirement and replacement of non-functional employees and they can be best managed through succession planning. The HR department will therefore use succession planning to groom candidates to take over the positions left by the employees who have retired or those who have been out placed due to non-performance.
The HR department will shift its compensation model from the conventional one to the strategic compensation, where packages are provided to employees in alignment with the strategic plans of the company. This will help the company to retain valuable employees who are useful in the attainment of the visions, goals and objectives of the company.
The aforementioned HR functions are strategic in nature and they will be performed in line with the three strategic plans of the company. Right from selection to compensation, the HR department will ensure that none of the functions delineates from the strategic visions of the company. This is because business excellence is not just about formulating visions and missions; it also entails the management of the process and the resources that will help in the attainment of the visions and missions. That is why all the above strategic plans must be aligned with the company’s HR practices to produce an excellent business solution that will ensure that the strategic plans are achieved.
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