Ulrich, D., (2010). Are we there yet ? What's next for HR ? Michigan Ross School of Business, Executive White Paper Series.
Strategic Human Resources Management is largely about integration and adaptation. Its concern is to ensure that: (1) human resources management is fully integrated with the strategy and the strategic needs of the firm; (2) HR policies cohere both across policy areas and across hierarchies; and HR practices are adjusted, accepted, and used by line managers and employees as part of their everyday work. (Schuler 1995). Strategic human resource management involves the development of a consistent, aligned collection of practices, programs (strategies), and policies to facilitate the achievement of the organization's strategic objectives. (Mello, 2002).
If you read those definitions you immediately understand that HRM is up for a vast program the coming years, creating vertical and horizontal fit (Stewart, Brown, 2008, p 527).
Often it is seen as 'one way trafic', where business strategy is translated in and supported by HR policies and practices. But for organizations who are working on the sustainability of their performance in the midst of a very volatile and quickly changing business environment, HR is also a contributor to a viable business strategy. HR can do that in two distinct ways :
- By designing and facilitating a 'sound' strategic process in the organization that involves all stakeholders and is truly outward looking and is willing to critically analyze their business environment as well as the organizational strengths and weaknesses.
- By sharing from the start their expertise on change, organization development, labor market evolution and other HR related fields in order improve the quality of the strategic business decisions and the organizational consequences of these decisions. HR co-shapes business strategy.
This also means that the role of HR is drastically changing and evolving into new expertise areas an that much of the traditional areas such as learning and development, performance management, etc ... are being nearly totally taken into account by line managers. New roles in the future probably include :
- Internal Consulting (process facilitation + expertise HR advice)
- Team process facilitator (for teams, projects, communities of practice, learning networks, ...)
- Management Coach
- Change Manager
- Organization Development Consultant (process re-engineering, lean, TPM, etc...)
The evolution in the role of HR will also have consequences for the competencies of HR managers and officers. The CIPD developed a competency model that tries to depict the management competencies for the future.
A few more articles on the concept of Strategic HRM are listed below :
- C. Leemans & S. Duts., (2011). Strategic HRD. Move! Organizational Learning.
- Torraco, R.J. & Swanson, R.A., (1995). The strategic roles of human resource development. Human Resource Planning. 18(4).
- Ulrich, D., (1998). A New Mandate for Human Resources. Harvard Business Review. 76(1).