During strategy implementation, the organization follows through on the chosen strategy

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1 Human Resources Chapter 2: Strategic Human Resource Management The goal of strategic management in an organization is to deploy and allocate resources in a way that gives it a competitive advantage. Resources can be physical, organizational or human. Two of the three classes of resources are directly tied to the HR management function. The role of HR management is to ensure that a company s human resources provide a competitive advantage. HR managers should: 1. Have input into the strategic plan, both in terms of people-related issues and in terms of the ability of the HR pool to implement particular strategic alternatives 2. Have specific knowledge of the organization s strategic goals 3. Know what types of employee skills, behaviors and attitudes are needed to support the strategic plan 4. Develop programs to ensure that employees have those skills, behaviors and attitudes. What is a Business Model? A business model is a story of how the firm will create value for customers and more importantly, how it will do so profitably. Contribution margins or margins are the difference between what to charge for your product and the variable costs of that product. They are called contribution margins because they are what contributes to your ability to cover your fixed costs. The gross margin is the total amount of margin you made and is calculated as the number of units sold times the contribution margin. What is Strategic Management? Strategic management is a process, an approach to addressing the competitive challenges an organization faces. Strategic management is more than a collection of different strategic models. It is a process for analyzing a company s competitive situation, developing the company s strategic goals and deciding a plan of action and allocation of resources that will increase the likelihood of achieving those goals. Strategic human resource management (SHRM) a pattern of planned human resource deployments and activities intended to enable an organization to achieve its goals. Components of the Strategic Management Process The strategic management process has two distinct yet interdependent phases: strategy formulation and strategy implementation. During strategy formulation the strategic planning groups decide on a strategic direction by defining the company s mission and goals, its external opportunities and threats and its internal strengths and weaknesses. They then generate various strategic alternatives and compare those alternatives ability to achieve the company s mission and goals. During strategy implementation, the organization follows through on the chosen strategy

2 Linkage between HRM and the Strategic Management Process The strategic choice really consists of answering questions about competition. Where to compete? How to compete? With what will we compete? Role of HRM in Strategy Formulation A firm s strategic management decision-making process usually takes place at its top levels, with a strategic planning group consisting of the CEO, CFO, president and various VP s. However, each component of the process involves people-related business issues. Therefore, the HRM function needs to be involved in each of those components. Four levels of integration seem to exist between the HRM function and the strategic management function: 1. Administrative linkage lowest level of integration. The HRM function s attention is focused on day-to-day activities. The company s strategic business planning function exists without any input from the HRM department. 2. One-way linkage the firm s strategic business planning function develops the strategic plan and then informs the HRM function of the plan. It precludes the company from considering HR issues while formulating the strategic plan. This level often leads to strategic plans that the company cannot successfully implement. 3. Two-way linkage allows for consideration of HR issues during the strategy formulation process. Integration happens in 3 steps HRM is informed of the various strategies the company is considering, HRM then analyzes the strategies and presents the results. Finally, once the strategic decision has been made, the plan is passed to the HRM executive, who develops programs to implement it. The strategic planning function and the HRM function are interdependent in two-way linkage. 4. Integrative linkage it is dynamic and multifaceted, based on continuing rather than sequential interaction. In most cases, the HRM executive is an integral member of the senior management team HRM functions are built right into the strategy formulation and implementation processes. Strategy Formulation Components relevant to strategy formulation are: 1. The organization s mission (statement of the organization s reason for being) 2. The organization s goals what an organization hopes to achieve in the medium to longterm future. (Reflect how the mission will be operationalized) 3. External analysis consists of examining the organization s operating environment to identify strategic opportunities and threats 4. Internal analysis the process of examining an organization s strengths and weaknesses External analysis and internal analysis combined constitute what has come to be called the SWOT analysis. 5. Strategic choice the organization s strategy; the ways an organization will attempt to fulfill its mission and achieve its long-term goals. Many of the opportunities and threats in the external environment are people related. It is of utmost importance that all people-related business issues be considered during strategy formulation.

3 Strategy Implementation After an organization has chosen its strategy, it has to execute that strategy. Five important variables determine success in strategy implementation: organizational structure; task design; the selection, training and development of people; reward systems; and types of information and information systems. HRM has primary responsibility for three of these five implementation variables: task, people and reward systems. HRM can also directly affect the two remaining variables: organizational structure and types of information and information systems. This is what has been referred to as the vertical alignment of HR with strategy. Vertical alignment means that the HR practices and processes are aimed at addressing the strategic needs of the business, but the link between strategy and HR practices is primarily through people. The HRM function implements strategy through administering HRM practices: job analysis and design, recruitment and selection processes, training and development programs, performance management systems, reward systems and employee and labor relations programs. HRM Practices The HRM function can be thought of as having 6 menus of HRM practices, from which companies can choose those most appropriate for implementing their strategy. 1. Job analysis and design 2. Recruitment and selection 3. Training and development 4. Performance management 5. Pay structure, incentives and benefits 6. Labor relations and employee relations High-tech companies in the growth stage used compensation systems that were highly geared toward incentive pay, with a lower % of total pay devoted to salary and benefits. Compensation systems among mature companies devoted a lower % of total pay to incentives and a high % to benefits. Strategic Types Companies can be classified by the generic strategies they pursue. They are similarities in the ways companies seek to compete in their industries. We focus on two generic strategies proposed by Porter: cost and differentiation. Competitive advantage stems from a company s being able to create value in its production process. Value can be created by: 1. Reducing costs 2. Differentiating a product or service in a way that it allows the company to charge a premium price. The overall cost leadership strategy focuses on becoming the lowest-cost producer in an industry. This strategy provides above average returns within an industry. The differentiation strategy attempts to show a company s product as being different from others. Differentiating a product will produce above-average returns and may protect it from price sensitivity.

4 HRM Needs in Strategic Types Role behaviors are behaviors that are required of an individual in his or her role as a jobholder in a social work environment. Companies engaged in cost strategies define the skills they require and invest in training. They promote internally and have high pay differentials between superiors and subordinates. They have a high concern for quantity, short-term focus, comfortable with stability, risk averse, comfortable with repetitive jobs, and work independently. Differentiation companies have more broadly defined jobs with general job descriptions. They recruit more from outside. They have moderate concern for quantity, long-term focus, tolerance for ambiguity, risk taker, and are highly creative. Directional Strategies Strategies emphasizing market share or operating costs are considered concentration strategies a company tries to focus on what it does best. Strategies focusing on market development, product development, innovation or joint ventures make up the internal growth strategy companies try to channel their resources toward building on existing strengths. Those attempting to integrate vertically or horizontally or to diversify are exhibiting External growth strategy an emphasis on acquiring vendors and suppliers or buying businesses that allow a company to expand into new markets. A divestment or downsizing the planned elimination of large numbers of personnel, designed to enhance organizational effectiveness. Concentration strategy A strategy focusing on increasing market share, reducing costs or creating and maintaining a market niche for products and services. Internal growth strategy a focus on new market and product development, innovation and joint ventures. Mergers and Acquisitions People issues may be one of the major reasons that mergers do not always live up to expectations. Downsizing Downsizing has increasing in North America. Mergers and acquisitions can be precursors of a workforce purge. It was found that only 1/3 of companies that downsize reach their goal of increased productivity and that over 2/3 of companies repeat the effort a year later. The Role of Human Resources in Providing Strategic Competitive Advantage HR can provide a strategic competitive advantage in two additional ways: through emergent strategies and through enhancing competitiveness. Emergent Strategies Intended strategies are the result of the rational decision-making process used by top managers as they develop a strategic plan. Most strategies that companies espouse are intended. Emergent strategies consists of the strategies that evolve from the grassroots of the organization and can be thought of as what organizations actually do, as opposed to what they intend to do.

5 The new focus on strategic HRM has tended to focus primarily on intended strategies. However, most emergent strategies are identified by those lower in the organizational hierarchy. It is often the rank and file employees who provide ideas for new markets, new products and new strategies. Enhancing Firm Competitiveness A related way in which HR can be a source of competitive advantage is through developing a human capital pool that gives the company the unique ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment. Strategic Management of the HRM Function For the HRM function to become truly strategic in its orientation, it must view itself as a separate business entity and engage in strategic management in an effort to effectively serve the organization s various internal customers. A customer orientation is one of the most important changes in the HRM function s attempts to become strategic. Building an HR Strategy The Basic Process Building an HR strategy is somewhat consistent with the process for developing a business strategy. The function first scans the environment to determine the trends or events that might have an impact on the organization. It then examines the strategic business issues or needs. From these issues, the HR team needs to identify the specific people issues that will be critical to address in order for the business to succeed. All of this info is used in designing the HR strategy, which provides a detailed plan regarding the major priorities and the programs, policies and processes that must be developed or executed. Finally, this HR strategy is communicated to the relevant parties, internal and external to the function. Characterizing HR Strategies In general, 4 categories of this relationship can be identified, ranging from the most elementary level of HR focused approaches to the most fully developed Business driven approach. Evaluating HRM Effectiveness Having good measures of the function s effectiveness provides other valuable benefits. Evaluation is a sign to other managers that the HRM function really cares about the organization as a whole and is trying to support operations, production, marketing and other functions of the company. Two approaches are commonly used to evaluate the effectiveness of HRM practices: the audit approach and the analytic approach. The audit approach focuses on reviewing the various outcomes for the HRM functional areas, i.e. customer satisfactions. The analytic approach focuses on either: 1) determining whether the introduction of a program or practice has the intended effect or 2) estimating the financial costs and benefits resulting from an HRM practice. Using this strategy, we are not concerned with how much change occurred but rather with dollar value of the program. The analytic approach is more demanding than the audit approach because it requires the detailed use of statistics and finance.

6 Improving HRM Effectiveness Often the improvement focuses on the traditional and transactional aspects of the pyramid. First, within each activity, HRM needs to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness in performing each of the activities. Second, often there is a push to eliminate as much of the transactional work as possible to free up time and resources to focus more on the higher-value added transformational work. Redesign of the structure and processes enables the function to achieve these goals simultaneously. A recently developed generic structure for the HRM function divides the HRM function effectively into three divisions: the centers for expertise, the field generalists and the service center. Center for expertise employees can develop current functional skills without being distracted by transactional activities, and generalists can focus on learning the business environment without having to maintain expertise in functional specializations. Finally, service center employees can focus on efficient delivery of basic services across business units. Diagrams on pg Outsourcing to Improve HRM Effectiveness Outsourcing is the practice of having another company (a vendor, third-party provider or consultant) provide services. 80% of companies now outsource at least one HR activity. The HR responsibilities most likely to be outsources completely include employee assistance and counseling, flexible spending account administration and background and criminal background checks. Process Redesign and New Technologies In addition to structural arrangements, process redesign enables the HRM function to more efficiently and effectively deliver HRM services. Reengineering is a complete view of critical work processes and redesign to make them more efficient and able to deliver higher quality. It is especially critical to ensuring that the benefits of new technology can be realized. The 4 steps of the reengineering process are 1) identify the process to be reengineered, 2) understand the process, 3) redesign the process and 4) implement the new process. Feedback occurs in steps 3 and 4. New technologies are current applications of knowledge, procedures and equipment that have not been used previously. It usually involves automation, that is, replacing human labor with equipment, information processing or some combo of the two. Self-service refers to giving employees online access to info about HR issues. The Role of the Chief Human Resource Officer The CHRO bear the responsibility for leading the HR function as well as ensuring that HR systems and processes deliver value to the company. CHROs reported spending the second most amount of time as a strategic adviser to the executive team. This was also the role that was most frequently cited as having the greatest impact on the firm. Diagram page 68

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