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What is Strategic Human Resource Management Essay

Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) is concerned with establishing a specific and managed cause and effect relationship between an organisation’s actions to survive and grow and its HRM principle and practices. It is also concerned with the mechanism through which people in an organisation gain an understanding of the purpose of the organisation, its goals and strategic objectives. As well as how the organisation related to its external environment in order to achieve these goals and objectives (SHU International MBA, Intro to SHRM unit p.1)


Human resource management (HRM) can broadly be defined as a strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organization’s most value asset – the people work there, who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of its objectives for sustainable competitive advantage.

As described by beer et al (1984): Human resource management involves all management decisions and action that affect the relationship between the organization and employees – It human resource.1

The different between Strategic Human Resource management (SHRM) and Human Resource Management (HRM) can be seen as the word of “Strategy”, Strategy, as it has come to be applied in business, is a market-oriented concept – it is fundamentally concerned with products and competitive advantage. The different between are integrated as follow:

Strategic human resource management is concerned with those decisions which have a major and long -term effect on the employment and development of people in the organisation, and on the relationship which exist between its management and staff.

An HR strategy will express the intention of the enterprise about how it should manage its human resources. These intentions provide the basis for plans, development and programmes for managing chance.

The aim of SHRM is to ensure that the culture, style and structure of the organization, and the quality, commitment and motivation of its employees, contribute fully to the achievement of Business objective.

Main features of strategic human resourse management

It has been suggested by Hendry and Pettigrew (1986) that the main features of strategic human resource management are as follows:

The use of planning

A coherent approach to the design and management of personnel systems based on an employment policy and manpower strategy, often underpinned by a philosophy

HRM activates and policies are matched to some explicit business strategy

The people of the organisation are seen as a strategy resource for achieving competitive advantage

Formation of Strategy

To understand how the SHRM can effect the whole organisation, we need to go thought the Organisation Structure and see the how Strategy Management works. The strategic management process is typically broken down into five step:

1. mission and goals

2. environmental analysis

3. strategic formulation

4. strategy implementation

5. strategy evaluation

We are not interested for Step 1 and Step 2, because at these two stages, the Strategy is not form yet. It was still in the planning process, after the Strategy had been developed, it will transfer to Step 3- Strategic Formulation.

Strategic Formulation involves senior manager evaluating the interaction between strategic factors and making strategic choices that guide managers to meet their organisation goals. Some Strategies are formulated at the corporate, business and specific functional levels.

Hierarchy of Strategy

Another aspect of strategic management in the multidivisional business organization concerns the level to which strategic issues apply. Conventional wisdom identifies different levels of strategy – a hierarchy of strategy




It’s because we are not interested in Corporate-Level strategy & Business-level strategy. The deeper explanations will be place in the appendix.

Functional-level strategy

Functional-level strategy pertains to the major functional operations within the business unit, including research and development, marketing, manufacturing, finance and HR. This strategy level is typically primarily concerned with maximizing resource productivity and addresses the question, ‘How do we support the business-level competitive strategy?’ Consistent with this, at the functional level, HRM policies and practices support the business strategy goals.

Developing human resource strategies

Human resource strategy contributes top the business strategy but is also justified by, the aim should be make it imaginative, innovative, clear and actionable. It’s must also be selective, focusing on priorities, and flexible, rapidly adjusting to change. HR strategy should be formulated by s continuous process of analysing what is happening to the business and where it is going.

So, we do know why we need SHRM to support organisation strategy, but how can we implement the SHRM to the organisation, and what kind of tools and practice we can use to shaping the organisation strategy in the term of Human Resource Management. The answer for this is fairly easy, we know the Top Level is the Strategy, and the bottom level is the worker on work floor. The linkage between these is a linkage mechanism, which general identify as Manager of that particular department.

What is the responsibility of manager?

In general, the key of a manager is to keep a good relationship with the employee, without the good relationship, the organisation will unable to run the daily task to achieve what they got to achieve. In other word a manager is trying making out the most from the employee to optimise the company performance. And the follow is what a manager should do for their duties:

Ability to Motivate worker

recruitment and staffing

employee development

employee relations


Communication and culture


Ability to motivate worker

Motivation is defined as the willingness to do something conditioned upon the action’s ability to satisfy some need for the individual. (Robbins & De Cenzo, 2001) Motivation is the key to getting the job done because without it, projects and jobs are completed with no purpose or direction. Moreover rewards and bonuses gained by employees increase their moral as well as benefiting the organization. Appraisal systems for some time have served to prove that the performance of employees is under control or to give the appearance of control

Recruitment and Staffing

Recruitment and Selection is a well-worn topic, which is treated fully in all major texts. Just remember that there is always a tension between getting the right person for a job and how much resource in terms of time and money is devoted to recruitment. The more accurate the recruitment, the more benefits the organization will achieve. This is because the employee will carry out their tasks more appropriately and will be ‘ideal’ for the new post and will be able to take responsibilities. The more recruitment in an organization, the higher the overheads and therefore HRM needs to be effectively managing and deciding whether there is a need of recruitment or not.

Training and development

Training and Development are currently big issues for many businesses in most parts of the country, especially where there are low rates of unemployment. Moreover, Increase in training and development has increased productivity as well as employee’s moral. This is beneficial for both, the company and the employees. Although the costs of HRM increase in the short term as training and development is very expensive but at the long term it is very beneficial for an organization as job commitment is reinforced and quality increases to

Employee relations

Develop and maintain effective employee relations activities and programs which you can use to help create a positive organizational culture. Handle difficult employees with confidence, and learn how to reinforce good behavior as well as discipline, and terminate properly if the need arises. In addition, you will look at ways to get your employees involved and assess their needs and opinions.


The leadership is someone who exercises influence over people. The ability to influence also needs the permission of those to be influenced. The functions of Lead in organization may include

Enabling people and group to achieve their objectives

Setting and communication objectives.

Monitoring performance and giving feedback

Administering rewards and punishments

Clarifying and solving problems

Making decision on behalf of others

Represent the group to others

Providing information, advice and expertise

Communication and culture

Communication is very important to a manager, the purpose of the manage is get people connected together, from the top-side of the CEO to the bottom side of the Shop-floor worker, without the communication skill the manager may send the wrong message the audience.


Teamwork emphasizes the successful of business. As we know there are a lot of task cannot carried out by one people such as decision making, planning and problem solving. Teamwork can speed-up the task to achieve the goal in a efficient way.

Factors to implementing change to the organisation

After we understand the role of the management, but how cans a manager to implement the strategy to his department, the Keyword is “CHANGE”. The question is how can a manger to change the behaviour of the worker to ways that will match the organisation goals and strategy.

Before the implementation of change, we should make sure the manager had got the capacity to handle the change. And there are three questions to ask the manager.

Does he have the right attitude?

Does he have the appropriate knowledge?

Do we have the necessary skill?

Right Attitude for the manager

A change agent cannot succeed without great persistence. Change is a complex and laborious process that arouses strong feelings and emotions. Angry people, frustrated teammates, conflicting priorities, unforeseen problems or behind-the-scene resistance pose daily challenges. A project manager cannot lead her team through these minefields without determination and stamina.

To avoid mid-course changes in leadership, the person must be fully committed to see the project through completion. A good way to ensure that is to appoint an ambitious individual who presents substantial potential for career advancement within the organization. She will look at the challenge as a terrific career-building opportunity and will be highly motivated to succeed. The benefits will actually extend well beyond the project’s time horizon. Indeed, the initiative will provide this high-potential employee with a broader understanding of the business, an extended network of relationships and stronger leadership skills.

Appropriate knowledge of what we going to change

I am absolute sure that the developer of the strategy do know what is needed to change to meet their target. But the question is the project manager is in a functional- level of the business, he is a subject matter expert in their respective area of responsibility. Are we sure he got a detail understanding of what is going on of the strategy. An expertise of the strategic goal will be needed to assist the functional level to achieve what they should achieve

The necessary skills

Change is complex subject; it will generate lots of pressure due to the instability and uncertainty. And also the manager has to handle manage conflicting priorities, multiple constituencies and fast-approaching deadline; Responsible for gilding the organisation through the numerous challenge of the transition. Therefore, the project leader must possess the proven ability to remain highly effective under intense fire. Otherwise, the breakdown will occur when that person is overseeing a critical phase, so the whole project can be failed or delayed. Which is opposing what we trying to do.

Step for implementation of Strategy within the Human Resource

What is implementation?

Implementation means causing changes to occur somewhere in your sphere of influence as a manager. It is impossible to implement any course of action and not have something change as a result. This means that certain things must be disrupted, discontinues, or deferred and new activities must begin. But most important, it means that after you have initiated action, things will be different. The key is in creating exactly the right amount of disruption. The following guide lines should help you to accomplish the implementation of your action plan with the minimum amount of adverse disruption and maximum of success: (Responsible Managers Get results- Gerald Faust 1998)

Always implement changes from the top down.

Always start with the best first.

Set your own example.

Remember that you can’t motivate people to do something they don’t know how to do.

Recognize and reward desired performance early.

Pace implementation so that the timing is consistent with the needs of your plan.

Provide coaching and follow-up consulting, and, above all, be persistent

Step 1: Planning the Change Process (These step are coming from article: How to implement organisation change)

Like any complex project, change management requires detailed planning. Being responsible for guiding the process, the change facilitation team must see to it that detailed but realistic planning is undertaken in order to minimize divergence from the vision.

Step 2: Goal translation

The executive goals need to be translating to each level of the organisation in a meaningful, achievable target to each individual person within the organisation. For example: if the executive goal is increase the sales by 15 %, but how can salesman known how much is the percentage increase for a particular product. Therefore the goals must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Additive, Reasonable and Time-bound). Furthermore the goal must is translate to a understandable language of different level of the organisation.

Step 3: Barrier identification and Removal

When the goals are clearly understood, we can start identifying the barriers that are preventing the achievement of these goals. The people who actually do the work should identify the barrier. Whenever possible, we must involve these people in implementation decision where these view may be crucial. For that reason, Manager must be able to communicate effectively at all levels and across each function.

Resistance of Change — Employees resist change because they have to learn something new. In many case there is not a disagreement with the benefits of the new process, but rather a fear of the unknown future and about their ability to adapt to it. de Jager (2001) argues, ‘Most people are reluctant to leave the familiar behind. We are all suspicious about the unfamiliar; we are naturally concerned about how we will get from the old to the new, especially if it involves learning something new and risking failure” de Jager (2001)

Step 4: System for Managing

Once the goals have been translated and barrier have been identify, the next critical step will be to develop a system for managing the organisation. Traditionally it will only be measured. But now it will be much larger. Not only a metrics need to designed, but meeting need to be developed, measure automation needs to be planned and specific accountability need to be determined.

As far as the metrics are concerned, they need to report on goal achievement at each organisation level. And the reporting will also translated to its specificity. So if the executive goal is improved effectiveness of 25 % then that is what the metrics needs to report on at that organisation level. Similarly the metric in the finished goods packaging area may be boxed packed per hour and so on.

Step 5: Rewards & Recognition

Rewarding and recognizing employees is essential to any business or organization. Employees like to know that the work they do is noticed and appreciated by their employers. It is important to recognize both the effort put into getting work and projects completed and the result. Recognition is one of the most effective ways to reinforce an organization’s culture, support its objectives, and retain top performers. When we remember to take care of these very human needs for recognition and appreciation, we do a great deal to create an energized workplace we need in order to succeed in today’s challenging times.

Short Example of implementation SHRM to an organisation

Age, skills and training

ASDA will have a range of employees who have worked for different lengths of time and who have different levels of skills and training. The Human Resource planner will seek to have a balance of new people entering ASDA in order to cover those who are leaving. The Human Resource Planner will also want to make sure that skill levels are raising within ASDA, and that training programmes are devised to make sure people have the skills to meet ASDA’s job’s requirements. If all ASDA’s skilled employees are just about to retire, ASDA will have to spend a lot of money on training to build up a new pool of expertise.


Succession is the way in which one person follows another person into a particular job or role within ASDA. ASDA need to make sure it is grooming people to take on the responsibility required. If ASDA do not do this, it will suddenly find itself with a vacuum where it has not developed the people to move into the appropriate position of responsibility, and ASDA will be missing the right people in key position to hold ASDA together.

Learning organisation

Toyota is a classics which using a life-long learning opportunity. They understand the current worker may not be able to catch-up with the current technology. Therefore they have introduce a Paid-leave learning period for those who want to going back to study

Operating as a learning organization and affording all our employees lifelong learning opportunities and equipping them with the skills and abilities to cope with and develop in an environment of constant change.


Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) is a broadness area. Meaning range from a human resource system that is tailored to the demands of the business strategy to the pattern of planned human resource activities intended to enable an organization to achieve its goals. Where in the first definition human resource management is a ‘reactive’ management field in which human resource management becomes a tool to implement strategy, in the latter definition it has a proactive function in which human resource activities actually create and shape the business strategy. As Strategy is equal to change, so, SHRM will be change as the changing environment. But one thing can be sure is- SHRM is a managing tool of Human factor which will assist the organization to achieve their goals, and it will controlling all the human factor, and getting the most from them, to optimize the efficiency and gain competitiveness of the organization.


1. Human Resource Management – Strategy & Action Michael Armstrong

2. Strategic human resource management John Bratton

3. http://adtimes.nstp.com.my/jobstory/jan20a.htm – The art of people management

4. http://www.newfoundations.com/OrgTheory/Bolognese721.html- Employee Resistance to Organizational Change

5. http://www.changemanagementgroup.com/orgdevel.phtml – Organizational Development and Team Building

6. Responsible Managers Get results- Gerald Faust 1998

7. Strategic human resource management, performance, alightment, management by David Baker

8. Taking a Strategic Approach to Human Resource Management by Roy Massey

9. What is human resources strategy by Mark A. Thomas

10. http://techupdate.zdnet.com/techupdate/stories/main/Implement_change_manageme

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