Human Resource Management’s Focus on Strategy

Topic: HR Management
Words: 1455 Pages: 5


When it comes to management thinking, human resources have always been seen as an administrative function and limited to employee hiring, benefits governance, and regulations enforcement. Currently, however, professionals are starting to see the potential of human resource management – or HRM. Hollenbeck et al. (2021) note that HRM is now viewed as a means of supporting an organization’s strategy – that is, its plan to achieve broad objectives such as quality, profitability, and market share. This approach is referred to as strategic human resource management and is estimated to give a company employing it a competitive advantage in meeting customer needs (Edwards & Rees, 2021). There are still some organizations at which managers continue to treat HR specialists solely as experts in creating and implementing HR systems. In an increasing number of companies, however, such a perspective is considered obsolete: HR specialists are now fully legitimate strategic partners of other managers. They apply their knowledge of HR and business to help their companies advance particular strategies and bring various HRM policies and practices into accordance with these strategies.

For this to be feasible, HR managers must pay attention to both the present and the future, as well as to both human resources activities and the goals of an organization. Hollenbeck et al. (2021) say that acquiring the skill of analyzing the impact of HR decisions on business or developing and retaining talent to reinforce business goals are two of the options. The way to do this is to combine all activities related to talent management together with other processes of an organization to supply it with the skills it needs to implement its strategy. A comprehensive talent management approach incorporates the acquisition of talent, the provision of appropriate training and development opportunities, performance evaluation, and the creation of compensation plans which reward the necessary behavior.

To make the right choices in regard to all that, HR specialists must be in constant close contact with those in their company who need the talent. Additionally, when an organization intends to alter its strategy, its HR department is to take part in the planning process to alter talent management policies in support of the revised strategy (Edwards & Rees, 2021). The particular ways to support a company’s strategy differ depending on the level of estimated HR specialists’ involvement and the strategy’s nature. According to Hollenbeck et al. (2021), strategy issues often include a focus on quality, efficiency, and growth. HR management can reinforce these strategies, with efforts such as mergers and acquisitions, quality improvement, and restructuring included. Moreover, the expansion of international activities presents a wide range of opportunities for HRM in a global market.

Human Resources Management Today

Mergers and acquisitions are two processes of different organizations joining forces – with the former being an instance of two companies becoming one and the latter being a case of one buying the other. Some mergers and acquisitions cause consolidation within an industry, which means that two companies in the same field join together to gain a greater share of said industry. Sometimes, however, even the industry lines get crossed: for instance, to form Citigroup, a banking business Citicorp merged with an insurance business, Traveler’s Group (Hollenbeck et al., 2021). Interestingly, such deals are more likely to take the shape of global mega-mergers – that is, mergers of large companies based abroad.

HRM has an important role to play in the conducting of mergers or acquisitions. For instance, Edwards and Rees (2021) note that differences between enterprises involved frequently make conflict inevitable. To prevent that from happening, training efforts have to facilitate the development of conflict resolution skills. In addition, HR specialists are to address the differences in the practices of both companies concerning remuneration, performance appraisal, and other HR systems. Creating a coherent structure to meet the goals of a unified organization will help bring staff closer together and contribute to their productive cooperation.

Furthermore, it is tough to argue with the fact that, to compete in a modern economy, organizations must provide high-quality products and services. There is not a chance for a business to have success in the market if it will not adhere to the standards of quality. Thus, organizations resort to adopting a form of so-called total quality management (TQM) – that is, a cooperative effort to continuously improve the ways of people, machines, and systems doing their work. TQM’s several main values, as per Hollenbeck et al. (2021), are the following:

  • Methods and processes are aimed at meeting the needs of customers, both internal and external (that is, those whom these methods and processes are designed to serve).
  • Each employee in the company receives quality training.
  • Quality is implemented into a product or service in such a way as to prevent errors from occurring, rather than being exposed and fixed in a fallible product or service.
  • The company encourages collaboration with suppliers, vendors, and customers to enhance quality and reduce costs.
  • Managers evaluate progress with the use of feedback based on data.

These values are the foundation of the TQM approach, which guides all activities of a company, HR management’s included. For quality to be promoted, an organization’s environment has to support creativity, innovation, and risk-taking to meet client needs. Additionally, problem-solving is to bring managers, employees, and clients together. The communication between managers and employees about client needs should be constant, and client feedback should always be searched for and evaluated.

It is interesting to note that quality improvement can be focused on the HRM function as it is. An example of that is provided by Hollenbeck et al. (2021): the HR department of an organization found that its employee turnover rate costs it around $70 million per year. Further analysis indicated that the selection of employees had not been conducted based on the employee satisfaction and retention criteria. The changes in the selection process increased efficiency on these parameters and the costs were reduced.

Additionally, one strategy that some organizations implement is ‘low-cost, low-price.’ Such companies are primarily dependent on HR management’s identification of ways to contain the costs of retaining qualified and motivated staff. However, this problem is relevant to any organization, and HR specialists facilitate success when they help to reduce costs without compromising quality anywhere. According to Edwards and Rees (2021), HR management maintains cost control by making more efficient use of the company’s human resources and by maximizing the effectiveness of HRM processes. Nowadays, this is especially relevant to employee benefits, in particular, health insurance: its cost has rapidly risen, while the Affordable Care Act introduced several potentially costly employer requirements.

The simultaneous management of the costs and meeting the needs is difficult. HR managers are to consider legal requirements, the costs of available plans, and the effect on departmental budgets. Moreover, the impact on staff retention and the ability to recruit new workers is to be taken into account. Management needs a well-informed HR department to recognize alternatives and recommend the ones that suit the company’s strategy best.

Finally, it is clear that for companies to survive, they have to compete in international markets as well as resist attempts of foreign competitors to make progress in their countries. To meet these challenges, organizations have to develop global markets, keep pace with the foreign competition, hire international labor force, and train employees for global jobs. A global expansion could pose challenges for HR management due to HR specialists needing to learn about the cultural differences that determine staff behavior in other parts of the world.

Successful and highly respected companies not only perform on a multinational scale – their workforce and corporate culture reflect their global markets. Hollenbeck et al. (2021) cite the example of Yum Brands, who quickly took advantage of the potential of China’s population. Today, Yum Brands has thousands of restaurants there, and plans to open more; additionally, half of the organization’s sales are in China (Hollenbeck et al., 2021). Their success is due to the company’s ability to adapt in accordance with the tastes of a specific target audience and to develop local management talent. If HR management of an organization recognizes that as a winning strategy and the organization uses its resources to implement it, the global market success for it is almost guaranteed.


In conclusion, human resources management today is becoming increasingly strategic, which means that various HR strategies get integrated with the goals of an organization. HR managers focused on a strategic approach develop and lead plans, the aim of which is to ensure a company’s continued growth and drive profits. A business which HR functions are aligned with corporate strategies obtains an advantage over its competitors in anticipating and responding to the constantly changing customer needs.


Edwards, T., & Rees, C. (2021). International human resource management: Globalization, national systems and multinational companies (3rd ed.). Pearson.

Hollenbeck, J. R., Noe, R. A., Gerhart, B. A. (2021). Fundamentals of human resource management. McGraw-Hill Education.

Hollenbeck, J. R., Noe, R. A., Gerhart, B. A. (2021). Fundamentals of human resource management. McGraw-Hill Education.

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