I completely agree with Francis And Keegan (2006) That current models of HRM suggest that expectations about hr roles are changing as organizations are striving to make the hr function leaner and more strategic. (Francis and Keegan 2006:231). As wide-ranging technological, social, and economic changes affect organizations to do well as their employees’ efforts have helped increase recognition of human resources management (HRM) to hold the human side of business are no longer successful.

The net result is a tremendous challenge for HRM personnel to rethink their roles as well as responsibilities in helping their organizations endure and thrive in the new economy (Storey and Sisson 1993). HRM personnel have seen a remarkable increase in their change agent responsibilities with the expansion of a strategic human resources management (SHRM) perspective within organizations. One well-known figure in the development of the SHRM perspective argues that changes like those we are seeing in the new economy present numerous competitive challenges that are quite diverse from those faced by organizations in the past (Ulrich, 1998).

Over time and throughout quickly changing circumstances, organizations should be able to sustain the competitive advantage that the knowledge and skills of these employees give. In the past, competitive advantage could be achieved through finding better, cheaper access to financial capital, marketing a new product, or creating some new technological gizmos. As cheap and ready access to capital, high quality products, and new technology remain significant components of any organization’s competitive advantage, today’s new business environment needs a greater focus on the human resources element in business.

Out of this realization have come SHRM and the increased change agent role of HRM personnel (Simons, 1994). As change agents in the new economy, today’s HRM personnel should increasingly share responsibility with senior executives, managers, and other employees for forming and maintaining a climate in which change can be established rather than resisted. In their own area of responsibility, and with respect for the HRM function in other elements of the organization, they are accountable for introducing and evaluating change; they should actively participate in developing plans for making change happen (Philpott, and Sheppard, 1992).

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In addition, HRM personnel have another significant responsibility: they should help other members of the organization effect changes of their own. They can best do this through originating and implementing HRM strategies (i. e. , specific HRM courses of action the organization uses to attain its aims) at three key organizational levels-corporate, competitive, and functional-that are intended to achieve desirable end results, such as high-quality products and services and publicly responsible behavior.

In other words, sound strategies are planned to result in growth, profits, and survival. To successfully fulfill their change agent roles HRM personnel should plan HRM activities that expand responsiveness of possibilities, identify strengths and weaknesses, reveal opportunities, and point to the need to assess the probable impact of internal and external forces. Helping their host organizations develop ingenious organizational strategic plans permits HRM personnel to widen HRM plans.

The HRM orientation of the firm is more likely to emphasize development and retention rather than focus on the containment of costs and the control of employees. Where management development does occur in micro firms it is more or less ad hoc in character. There is limited evidence of concern to identify management-training needs, devise learning objectives, implement systematic management development activities or evaluate the results of management development.

There is little or no integration or alignment with other HRM practices such as succession management or performance management. Miles and Snow (1978), in respect of strategy, must be understood in a dynamic rather than a static way. The HRM orientation of the firm is significantly related to a number of management development activities. Firms that espouse a developmental rather than a cost containment HR philosophy are more likely to implement formal management development processes, in addition to the use of HR activities.

HRM personnel should help other members of the organization (particularly middle managers and senior leaders) learn as much as possible concerning HRM best practices and then design a practice that’s dependable with what their organization wants to achieve (Jackson, Hitt, ; DeNisi, (2003). The reality is that today’s organizational success is increasingly dependent upon flexibility in HRM practices (such as the organization’s reward system) and the capability of HRM personnel to change as competitive conditions pressure their organizations to constantly change their strategy and ways of doing business.

In today’s new economy it is significant to recognize that the capability (and strategic future) of the role of HRM personnel in organizations means that HRM desires to focus more and more of their efforts on activities that obviously add value to the organization’s success or bottom line-activities such as 22strategic planning, change management, corporate culture evolutions, and developing human capital (Gorlin, 1992).

Ulrich (1998) has noted that HRM can assist in deliver organizational excellence in four main ways. “First, if strategy implementation requires, say, a team-based organizational structure, HRM would be accountable for bringing state-of- the-art approaches for forming this structure to senior management’s attention. Second, HRM must become an expert in the way work is organized and executed, delivering administrative efficiency to make certain that costs are reduced while quality is maintained.

Third, with employee behaviour increasingly becoming the key to competitive advantage, HRM must become a champion for employees, dynamically representing their concerns to senior management and at the same time working to raise employees’ commitment to the organization and their capability to deliver results. Fourth, HRM needs to ensure the organization has the capability to embrace and capitalize on change, for example by making sure that broad vision statements get transformed into specific behaviors” (Ulrich 1998: p124-134).

As the tasks they face grow more complex, HRM personnel have a significant change agent role to play in their organizations. HR organizational approaches must relate to strategic focus. One focus shows particularly strong results. While companies focus on growth, then decentralization, resource efficiency, HR service teams, and rotation all are more common. Rapidly growing organizations are under pressure to raise and develop their HR function. Decentralization, teams, and the development of individuals through rotation are all ways to add strategic and operational ability to the HR function.

Resource-efficiency approaches can be required to prevent the HR function from being besieged by the transactions that are required to staff and service a growing organization. The use of HR service teams is considerably related to all of the strategic focuses; the relationship is mainly strong with knowledge- and information-based strategies. The most likely reason for this is that strategy implementation frequently requires the development of cross- functional organizational and individual potential and the introduction of new organizational designs.

Teams are one means to assemble the diversity of knowledge and skills required to address the composite HR issues that result. A number of strong relationships are apparent. The use of outsourcing is linked to all three change initiatives. This suggests that while an organization seriously addresses issues such as performance, reformation, and knowledge management, it may free up HR resources by outsourcing, shedding transactional tasks, and securing outer expertise to complement internal HR talent so as to implement these initiatives.

Outsourcing also can be a way to lessen costs and improve service quality. The use of HR service teams is considerably related to the organizational performance and competency as well as knowledge management initiatives. One likely reason for this is that HR service teams can take together the multiple functions required to focus on performance improvement. At the same time, a team approach can develop competency and knowledge management in HR and in the rest of the organization. Decentralization in HR is strongly linked to restructuring. One possible reason for this is clear.

While organizations restructure into multiple business units and complex business partnerships and networks, decentralization of HR is a way to set up a business partner relationship. It places the HR function close to its customers. Resource-efficiency is considerably related to all three-change initiatives. This suggests that whenever an organization considers change, a main issue is how to improve the efficiency of the HR organization. This is hardly surprising given the history of organizations being concerned concerning the cost of HR as a function and its administrative efficiency.

Rotation into and out of the HR function is considerably related to all three change initiatives. Focusing on major change initiatives can make it obvious to organizations that they can gain a significant amount from having broader knowledge of HR in the organization and having individuals in HR who have a better understanding of the business. Rotation is one way to add to the knowledge and skills of HR professionals. The results do strongly suggest that strategic change has considerable and important effects on the HR organization.

HR is expected to be significantly affected by change efforts that focus on issues like restructuring, organizational performance, and competency and knowledge management (Zuboff, 1998). In many respects, this is hardly surprising as HR is an important cost center in an organization and can add substantial value if it can become SHRM that supports these change initiatives. Given HR’s history of not being SHRM, it is hardly surprising that efforts at restructuring often guide to changes in the HR function that emerge to be targeted toward making HR more of a SHRM.

Large organizations are more expected to have the resources to employ HR specialists (Morissette 1993; Ng and Maki 1993) or to give over time and resources to implementing HRM practices. It has also been suggested that small businesses are less likely to be unionized (have more ‘control’ over their human resource decisions) and hence are not bound by the ‘constraints’ of HRM practice appropriate to large organizations, or employ family members and do not feel compelled to give the same conditions to which large organizations are legally bound.

It is argued that heightened exposures to market pressures in numerous industries have resulted in much of the decision-making in business needing to be comparatively short term (Kinnie et al. 1999). This means that for most businesses, flexibility is greater and conflict is potentially lower than within large organizations, but the opportunity for long-range planning that would maximize efficiency and efficacy and the ability to attract, retain and encourage the best human resources is also potentially necessary.

Moreover, the absence of strategic planning also will often overlap with a lack of attention to innovation and entrepreneurship with the business usually, and in regard to human resources, specifically. HRM has been viewed as a second order strategy of businesses. That is, business and competitive strategies were seen as the first order or key strategies of organizations while HRM functions were viewed as being resultant features of business planning that were used to support the first order strategies.

However, in modern times it has been argued that because of the value of human assets to organizations, HRM must be deemed a first order strategy to be weighted in equal significance to competitive strategies and finance and budgeting (Thompson 1991). That is, HRM strategy advocates implementing HRM planning as a major function not a deliberate development of the other business functions and that ideally this should be done at the inception of a business to make sure that its human resources are affectively deployed and the goal of organizational growth is met ( King et al. 2001).

The aims of SHRM, then, are to facilitate organizations to achieve strategic objectives; ensure all business planning processes recognize the value of people; appreciate SHRM implications of strategic management; assimilate corporate business objectives and HRM objectives; and design and manage organizational structure, culture and policy (Stone 1998:20-1). A framework for strategic management including HRM involves developing a mission statement that answers questions of what businesses the organization is in; formative goals that are general and long term; and setting up objectives that are short term and measurable.

It must also encompass a complete SWOT analysis that incorporates HRM as a functional unit of analysis. It has been argued that ‘time has become the competitive strategy for the firm’ (Schoenberger 1997:45) and that success in business is dependent upon being competent to make the best use of resources in the shortest time frame possible, but at particular junctures of business operations, that is the start-up phase, much time does need to be expended.

Assuredly, it can be hard for businesses that do not have the time to plan but making an investment in planning can be a causative factor to ensuring that the business does not encounter financial ruin down the track. It must be noted though that strategy is not synonymous with planning. Thinking does not have the same mindset as planning – innovation and receptiveness are also required. From the outset, organizations require to pay attention to human resource planning (HRP) and job design if they are to make certain a strategic approach to their human resources.

Despite the monetary and time costs implicated in doing so, small businesses will profit in the long run from such short-term investment. Ng and Maki(1993), utilising Canadian data, found that firms differed in their ranking of the significance of HRM issues. While large businesses highlighted change, development and identifying functions, the small businesses highlighted the retaining function (payroll, health and safety, public relations, holidays), the obtaining function (recruitment and hiring) and the identifying function (HRM planning and job evaluation).

Moreover, in a 1990 article Hornsby and Kuratko (1990) surveyed businesses on what they viewed as being most significant issues for them in relation to their human resources. The top six issues were wage rates, availability of quality workers, government regulation, training, benefits, and job security. Being able to attain efficiency and effectiveness in respect to these key HRM issues is in no small part dogged by careful attention being given to HR planning.

The translation of organizational strategy into specific selection processes that are designed to make certain that the organization has the right person for the right job and fit with overall business goals and objectives, begins with the business forming a view or a vision of what it needs to be like and development of strategies to ensure that it gets there. This is part of a strategic HRM approach and is known as human resource planning.

In essence, HRP attempts to make sure that there is a match between the knowledge, skills and abilities a business will require in its future and those that it believes it will have available. While human resource planning (HRP) is typically designed to be formal and detailed (Kramar et al. 2000), it also needs to be flexible enough to respond to changes in labor supply and other external factors as well as organizational change. Like all aspects of strategic planning, there needs to be room for maneuver and receptiveness to internal and external change.


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