“Human Resource Management and Performance” by Guest


The article by Guest (2011) is devoted to a review of research on human resource and capital management (HRM and HCM), and its analysis offers insights into the achievements of HRM and HCM studies. Guest (2011) concludes that multiple areas remain under-researched, but he acknowledges that some progress was made. The present paper is devoted to a part of that progress and employs the articles by Guest (2011), Paauwe (2009), who was cited by Guest (2011), and several others to describe it.

HRM/HCM Metrics

Researchers have demonstrated that there is a correlation between effective HRM/HCM and business performance, but the question of how to maximize HRM/HCM contribution and measure it remains largely open (Guest 2011, p. 8). For instance, Guest (2011) cites a position of HCM researchers, according to which the return of the human capital should be the main metric in the area. Still, the approach may be justified from the point of view of HCM that is differentiated from HRM due to its value-adding rather than cost-managing activities (Armstrong 2006), but it does not appear to fit the needs of every organization.

Initially, the metrics in the area of HRM/HCM were normative, but it was eventually acknowledged that HRM/HCM practices are diverse, and their metrics benefit from being customized. The common developments included the implementation of surveys to complement norms, greater attention to employees, the increasing sophistication of methods, and the attention to the context (Guest 2011; Paauwe 2009).

Nowadays, a professional may employ multiple customized tools that may measure the financial, organizational, and employee-related outcomes (Paauwe 2009), but it is best to combine them and focus on different levels of the company to receive the results on HRM/HCM effectiveness. An example of a specific tool that can be employed by HR specialists is the balanced scorecard (Coe & Letza 2014); also, the use of modern technologies is likely to enhance the assessment processes (Levenson 2013). The contribution of HRM/HCM practices to business performance can also be measured through relevant statistical analysis and scientific research (Guest 2011, p. 6).

HR Leaders and HRM/HCM

An HR specialist can easily respond to the questions on the present and absent HRM/HCM practices, but it is more reasonable to search for information about the level of success in their implementation. Also, an HR leader is better acquainted with both the context and the human resource of the organization, which helps him or her to answer the questions on customization that is necessary for a successful assessment (Guest 2011, p. 3-4).

HRM/HCM Effectiveness in Practice

I do not have much experience with HRM/HCM effectiveness assessments, but I was involved in the assessment of my performance. It can be regarded as a form of HRM/HCM assessment (Paauwe 2009), but it would benefit from its combination with other ones (Guest 2011). It also appears that the information on HRM/HCM effectiveness is likely to be meant for internal stakeholders; for external stakeholders, little information is available in annual reports. For example, Apple, Inc. (2013) states that it employs effective management practices (pp. 13, 15, 29), but does not offer their description. However, Apple, Inc. (2013) works to engage employees in a dialogue with the management (p. 15). It appears that the company uses worker-centric methods of HRM/HCM effectiveness assessments, which is a reasonable measure as long as it is not the only one (Guest 2011).

Reference List

Apple, Inc. 2013, Apple Supplier Responsibility. Web.

Armstrong, M 2006, Armstrong’s handbook of human resource management practice, Kogan Page, London.

Coe, N & Letza, S 2014, ‘Two decades of the balanced scorecard: a review of developments’, Poznan University of Economics Review, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 63-75.

Guest, DE 2011, ‘Human resource management and performance: still searching for some answers’, Human Resource Management Journal, vo. 21, no. 1, pp.3-13.

Levenson, A 2013, ‘The promise of big data for HR’, People & Strategy, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 22-26.

Paauwe, J 2009, ‘HRM and performance: achievements, methodological issues and prospects’, Journal of Management Studies, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 129–142.