After reading the literature provided and carrying out research on this course, I have come across new information on the connection between strategy and human resource management that has caused me to change my thinking on both ideas. I had always assumed that HRM is limited to the management of employees so they can live up to the mandates of their organization. However, strategy in an organization involves making choices and decisions, which can be employed in the aligning of various HR strategies (Sahoo, Das & Sundaray 2011). Alvesson underpins the connection between HR and strategy by positing that it is a critical aspect of the overall business strategy to facilitate the comfort and convenience of a company’s human resources (2009). Indeed, this is very logical given that the human resource is directly responsible for achieving the aims and objectives of the organization. Ergo, unless they are managed strategically in a way that reflects the company’s long-term plans and goals, it is unlikely these (plans) will be achieved.
Linking HRM with strategy
Strategic human resource management (SHRM) involves the application of strategy in managing human resources to ensure they are both effective and motivated (Sahoo, Das & Sundaray 2011). An example of SHRM is where employees get a chance to contribute to decision-making in the organization as it makes them feel valued and respected. The integration of Strategic HRM is designed to create the best “strategic” fit through vertically integrated strategies. Among the advantages of Armstrong’s approach to HRM, a strategy is that it can actively contribute to the planning process, which brings about a congruence between the HR and business strategy (Armstrong 2003). Essentially, through a combination of vertical and horizontal integrations, the elements of HR and the business strategy can be blended to fit support each other. Furthermore, there should be pre-set rules and conditions for the motivation and promotion of employees to ensure that hard work and innovativeness are rewarded (Pinnington 2011). As a result, these strategies will help increase the enthusiasm of staff and facilitate the recruitment and retention of intelligent and potentially successful talent.
Although many of the theoretical notions discussed here appear rather obvious, from experience, I have noticed they are not always as widely applied, as most people assume. During my internship, I worked in a company where the personnel manager believed that human resource is the most flexible resource and should be forced to adapt to other resources such as money. As a result, when the board put pressure on the firm’s managers to cut costs, HR was encouraged to lay off all “Non-essential” staff. In addition, those of us not fired had to work longer hours for the same pay. Consequently, there was a high rate of employee apathy and most of those who were retained ended up leaving as well. From this experience, I concluded that strategy should not only be seen in actions like upgrading equipment and premises, but also improving the terms and conditions of their human resource. When one is secure in their job and they are sure they will be rewarded for their efforts, they ultimately work harder to live up to the standards the firm has set. Therefore, it is my belief that HR and strategic management should be closely linked because the potential of an effectively managed and motivated staff cannot be overstated.
Alvesson, M 2009, ‘Critical perspectives on strategic HRM’, in Storey, J., Wright, P. M., & Ulrich, D. (ed.), The Routledge companion to strategic human resource management. Routledge, London, pp.52-68.
Armstrong, M 2003, A handbook of human resource management practice, Kogan Page, London.
Pinnington, 2011, ‘Strategic management and IHRM’, in Harzing, A.-W. & Pinnington, A.H. (ed.), International human resources management. Sage, London.
Sahoo, C., Das, S. & Sundaray, B. 2011 ‘Strategic human resource management: exploring the key drivers’, Employment Relations Record, 11 (2), pp.18-32.