Strategic Human Resource Management

January 8,2020

Human Resource

Strategic Human Resource Management

Nowadays, a lot of talks about Strategic Human Resource Management can be heard in Human Resource (HR) and management circles and many expensive books on the subject can also be seen for sale in bookshops. What exactly is Strategic Human Resource Development or SHRM, what are its main features and what makes it different from the traditional human resource development?

A branch of Human Resource Management or HRM, Strategic Human Resource Management or SHRM is a practically new branch that has broken out of the original branch of Human Resource Management. The idea of strategy was given a superficial treatment by the early HRM texts, like a purely operational matter, the consequences of which were passed down throughout the whole organization. An unsaid and unmarked division of territory existed between the people-centred values of HR and the tougher business values to which corporate strategies actually belonged. Very often, in the war room like atmosphere where corporate strategies are planned, most HR practitioners feel out of their comfort zone.

Definition of SHRM

We can define Strategic Human Resource Management as the alliance between human resources and strategic aims and objectives in order to bring about improved business performance and also develop an organizational culture that promotes innovation and flexibility and increase competitive advantage. When considering an organization, SHRM means adding the HR function and involving them as a strategic partner in the planning, formation and implementation of the strategies related to the company’s growth through HR activities like recruiting employees, selecting capable employees and giving them extensive training to improve their skills and rewarding those who perform excellently.

How SHRM differs from HRM

The last two decades have shown an increase in the awareness that HR operations were pretty isolated having softer values that were more people oriented that was worlds apart from the cut throat world of real business. To validate their existence, HR operations has to be shown as having a more intimate connection with the strategy making and day to day operations of the business part of the company. In the late 1980’s, many writers began demanding for a more strategic method to manage people rather than use the traditional methods of people management or the industrial relations models. Strategic Human Resource Management has its key focus on human resource programs that have long-term objectives. Rather than focus on human resource issues internally, the emphasis is on confronting and finding solutions to problems that affect people management programs in the long run and often, across the globe. It can therefore be stated that the primary objective of Strategic Human Resources is to bring about an increase in employee productivity by keying in on business obstacles that happen outside of human resources. The initial actions of a Strategic Human Resource Manager should be to identify crucial HR areas where overall employee motivation and productivity can be improved in the long run by execution of strategies. It is also vital that communication between HR and top management takes place on a regular basis as co-operation is not possible without active participation.

Key Features of Strategic Human Resource Management

The main features of SHRM are

  • A direct link exists between the HR policies and practices and the overall strategic aims and also the environment of the organization.
  • Some organizing schema that links individual HR interventions exists so that they support each other mutually
  • Most of the responsibility for human resource management is transferred down the line

Trends in Strategic Human Resource Management 

The issues mostly faced by Human Resource Management Personnel in the globalization context are employee participation, human resource flow, managing employee performance, systems to reward deserving employees and high commitment work systems. Most of the older solutions and formulae that worked in a local environment are not applicable in an international context. Here, a major role is played by cross-cultural issues.

Halfway past the second decade of the 21st century, these are some key issues that professionals in Human Resources and top management involved in SHRM are struggling with

  • Internationalizing market integration
  • Increase in competition, which may be local or national through free market ideology
  • Rapid changes in technology
  • Innovative ideas of line and general management
  • Constant changes in ownership and corporate climates resulting therewith
  • Cross-cultural issues
  • Shifting economic gravity from ‘developed’ to ‘developing’ nations

Also reflected by SHRM, are some of the major present day challenges faced by Human Resource Management: Regulating HR with core business strategy, demographic trends that affect employment and the labour market, incorporation of soft skills in HRK and lastly, Knowledge Management.

Attributes of a good Hr Manager

Exactly the way a good teacher is always remembered, a good manager is also easily recognised. A good manager is a person who makes the concept of managing look like kids play. The irony of the fact is that being a manager is a very difficult job and the people who make it look easy are in fact the ones who excel at it.

Successful managers are the people who have the skills to perform a variety of roles and have the ability to elicit the best performance from their employees too. In fact, a successful manager needs to be much more than the best HR Advisor or Business Partner in the company when they move into the management circle. This entails recognising the individual qualities and skills the person who is already successful in the job of a manager possesses.

The people who are successful in the industry possess three definite attributes, namely; multitude of experience, multifaceted project management skills and a strong commercial awareness. Once these attributes are looked into deeply, one can find a variety of key fundamental factors that are characteristic to a good manager. These include:

  • Considerable experience gained from working in various HR positions
  • An excellent working knowledge of the employment legislation
  • Ability to focus at the task on hand while being flexible at the same time
  • An approach to business that is solutions-driven
  • A sound business decision making ability
  • Confidence when communicating with others and good influencing skills
  • An aptitude to motivate staff
  • The determination and drive to deal with a workload that can be demanding

Most often, HR managers will find themselves in situations where they would be overseeing multiple projects at the same time and also working with senior managers who oversee various other departments in the organisation, each one having their own requirements and demands that need to be met. Therefore, having the ability to effectively manage time and prioritise the tasks will help HR managers to become successful.

Another attribute whose importance cannot be underestimated is a confident style of management, for HR Managers have to often get involved in procedures relating to grievances or pay disputes which may have the involvement of union representatives. Hence, the ability to perform well under pressure is essential.

Employees consider honesty and transparency as vitally important factors in a business. When letting your employees know what is anticipated from them and they produce the results, give recognition to their efforts and achievements and also make them feel that they too are a important part of the decision making process. As a result, you will gain a motivated and committed team who would be happy to work for you, making you a successful manager by default in the process.


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