Comprehensive Human Resource Strategy

Human Resource Management plays an important role in the enhancing the performance of employees in the organization. The efficient HRM policies are being designed in an organization to enhance the performance level to its maximum. Human resource management (HRM) is the process of linking the human resource functions with the strategic objectives of the organization in order to improve performance. We may call in the way that human resource management holds the central live blood role in any organization.

An important aspect of an organization’s business focus and direction towards achieving high levels of competency and competitiveness would depend very much upon their human resource management practices to contribute effectively towards profitability, quality, and other goals in line with the mission and vision of the company.

A comprehensive Human Resource Strategy plays a vital role in the achievement of an organization’s overall strategic objectives and visibly illustrates that the human resources function fully understands and supports the direction in which the organization is moving. A comprehensive HR Strategy will also support other specific strategic objectives undertaken by the marketing, financial, operational and technology departments.

In essence, a comprehensive Human Resource Strategy should aim to capture “the people element” of what an organization is hoping to achieve in the medium to long term, ensuring that:

  • It has the right people in place,
  • It has the right mix of skills,
  • Employees display the right attitudes and behaviors, and
  • Employees are developed in the right way.

If, as is sometimes the case, organization strategies and plans have been developed without any human resource input, the justification for the HR strategy may be more about teasing out the implicit people factors which are inherent in the plans, rather than simply summarizing their explicit people content.

A comprehensive Human Resource Strategy will add value to the organization if it:

  • Articulates more clearly some of the common themes which lie behind the achievement of other plans and strategies, which have not been fully identified before; and
  • Identifies fundamental underlying issues which must be addressed by any organization or business if its people are to be motivated, committed and operate effectively.

The first of these areas will entail a careful consideration of existing or developing plans and strategies to identify and draw attention to common themes and implications, which have not been made explicit previously.

The second area should be about identifying which of these plans and strategies are so fundamental that there must be clear plans to address them before the organization can achieve on any of its goals. These are likely to include:

  • workforce planning issues
  • succession planning
  • workforce skills plans
  • employment equity plans
  • black economic empowerment initiatives
  • motivation and fair treatment issues
  • pay levels designed to recruit, retain and motivate people
  • the co-ordination of approaches to pay and grading across the organization to create alignment and potential unequal pay claims
  • a grading and remuneration system which is seen as fair and giving proper reward for contributions made
  • a consistent performance management framework which is designed to meet the needs of all sectors of the organization including its people
  • career development frameworks which look at development within the organization at equipping employees with “employability” so that they can cope with increasingly frequent changes in employer and employment patterns
  • Policies and frameworks to ensure that people development issues are addressed systematically: competence frameworks, self-managed learning etc.

The comprehensive Human Resource Strategy will need to show that careful planning of the people issues will make it substantially easier for the organization to achieve its wider strategic and operational goals.

In addition, the comprehensive Human Resource Strategy can add value is by ensuring that, in all its other plans, the organization takes account of and plans for changes in the wider environment, which are likely to have a major impact on the organization, such as:

  • changes in the overall employment market — demographic or remuneration levels
  • cultural changes which will impact on future employment patterns
  • changes in the employee relations climate
  • changes in the legal framework surrounding employment
  • HR and employment practice being developed in other organizations, such as new flexible work practices.

Finding the right opportunity to present a case for developing an HR Strategy is critical to ensuring that there will be support for the initiative, and that its initial value will be recognized by the organization.

Giving a strong practical slant to the proposed strategy may help gain acceptance for the idea, such as focusing on good management practice. It is also important to build “early or quick wins” into any new strategy.

Other opportunities may present the ideal moment to encourage the development of a comprehensive Human Resource Strategy:

  • A major new internal initiative could present the right opportunity to push for an accompanying HR strategy, such as a restructuring exercise, a corporate acquisition, joint venture or merger exercise.
  • A new externally generated initiative could similarly generate the right climate for a new HR strategy — e.g. Black economic empowerment initiatives.
  • In some instances, even negative news may provide the “right moment”, for example, recent industrial action or employee dissatisfaction expressed through a climate survey.

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