Strategic Human Resources

Strategic Human Resources

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Human resource management (HRM) plays a significant role in ensuring the success of organisations by focusing on ways to manage human capital. HRM is composed of various tasks such as employees’ selection and recruitment, training and development, and human resource planning. The primary aim of the HRM department is to hire, train and develop people based on set structures and requirements (Johnason 2009). In other instances, the human resource department is responsible for the dismissal and disciplining of employees. Training and development are undertaken by HRM to make sure that employees are equipped with the necessary skills to be productive and add value to the organization. In this paper, the focus is on recruitment and selection which is an element of HRM to show its relation with strategic business function. HRM can be considered to be a strategic business function that is used to realize the organizational strategic objectives.

Human Resource Management

Human resource management (HRM) is the process of managing human resources, including people in an organization. Human resources entails the management of capital of an organization in order to achieve set strategic goals. HRM aims to maximize employee performance while providing services to the employer’s strategic objectives (Johnason 2009). The focus of HRM is on the set systems and policies that enable managers to effectively manage people within organisations. The roles played by HR departments include employee selection and recruitment, overseeing employee benefits design, rewarding, training and development, and performance appraisal (Collings & Wood, 2009). Other roles include concerning industrial relations and organisational change, and balancing organisational practices based on requirements that arise from statutory laws and collective bargaining (Klerck, 2009). Human resources from a business perspective focus on the maximization of employee productivity. For example, HR professionals select and recruit employees with adequate skills and knowledge needed to achieve the strategic goals of an organisation. The four major functions of HRM are staffing (selection and recruitment), motivation, training and development, and maintenance (Smith & Mazin, 2004). Staffing is the process of recruitment and selection of suitable and qualified employees. Training and development follows selection and recruitment and it focuses on developing competent and adapted employees. The function of maintenance comprises keeping the employees committed and loyal to the organisation, and this can be achieved through a reward system.

HRM as a Strategic Business Function

The selection process is an HRM practice that is applied to ensure that competent and skilled employees are selected with competencies and recruited to fit the available job openings. According to Sudhamsetti and Raju (2014), selection is a process that comprises carrying out interviews and evaluations of human capital to measure if the potential employees have the skills and competencies required for the current job positions. Thus, the process is strategic because it ensures that top talent is selected and recruited to fill available job positions (Sudhamsetti & Raju, 2014). Naveen and Raju (2014) noted that recruitment is the process used by an organisation to search for potential and qualified employees to fill in available job positions within an organization. As part of HRM, the selection and recruitment of employees is a strategic business function because it ensures that employees who can help realize the strategic objectives and goals of an organization are selected and recruited (Armstrong, 2009; Guest, 1987). For instance, during the selection and recruitment process, managers usually articulate the mission and vision of the organization to help to inform and guide the actions of the qualified organisational members towards working toward a common goal. Kaufman (2010) noted that “human capital represents one of the last and best sources of competitive advantage” (p. 292).  HR tools such as selection and recruitment are used to select the human capital pool, which is committed and the HRM subsequently aligns the interests of employees with those of the organizations

Human selection and recruitment is the process of “finding the potential applicants for actual or anticipated vacancies thus, it acts as a link in bringing together the people with jobs and those seating jobs” (Naveen & Raju 2014, p.60). Thus, recruitment is a practice applied in the workplace with the intent to search for potential employees and then stimulate them to apply and fit into the available openings. The objective of the selection process is to essentially determine if the prospective candidate has the qualifications for the particular job, while recruitment is concerned with the identification of suitable manpower meeting the job specifications and requirements.  Qualified and competent employees create a competitive edge for an organization over its competitors.  Thus, as part of the internal market, proper recruitment is important because it can be applied to create a competitive edge for an organization. For example, it qualified employees bring about greater commitment, increased motivation, dependent skills, and an increased acceptance of responsibility (Armstrong, 2009). Alsabbah and Ibrahim (2013) contend that “an organization that uses a proper process to recruit and select skilled candidates will experience a higher level of job success” (p. 85). Subsequently, recruiting and selecting employees with outstanding competencies play important roles in value addition to an organization, which is a strategic business function.

The primary role of recruitment and selection practice as part of HRM is “identifying the right pool of talent for establishing the right candidates” (Teena & Sanjay, 2014, p. 1).  Organizations aim at person–organisation fit and, thus, employees are selected and recruited not only based on their qualifications but with the organizational characteristics and business strategic objectives in mind. In the contemporary markets, selecting the correct employee is, essential to developing an effective strategic HRM system (Teena & Sanjay, 2014). As a strategic business function, SHRM ensures the effective incorporation of the recruitment and selection process with the proposed long-term business objectives to ensure that the strategic demands of the organizations are converted into a suitable recruitment and selection specification (Salaman, Storey, & Billsbery, 2005). Subsequently, the alignment of the objective of the candidate with a business objective is important for the successful operation of the business and business strategy (Armstrong, 2009). The strategic recruitment process focuses on job positions that need to promote accelerated growth of an organization. As an important HRM function, recruitment requires careful planning to ensure that recruited employees have the capabilities to perform organizational functions.  After employees have been employed, the role of HRM is to recognize and regulate employee interests to balance with the strategic goals of an organization (Thompson, 2011; Watson, 2010).

Contemporary organisations are more strategic in nature and they pursue competitive advantage in order to remain successful in a turbulent business environment. Johnson, Whittington, and Scholes (2013) note that strategic behavior comprises the process of an organization matching its available resources in the long run to the demands of the business environment. As a function of the business strategy of an organization, HRM incorporates a strategic selection process which is used to identify the right pool of talent by selecting the right candidates (Teena & Sanjay, 2014). For example, the HR department ensures that recruited candidates attend a number of interviews, competence and skills assessments, and psychometric tests to identify if they are suitable for the business environment. Atkinson (1984) pointed out that a more strategic approach to HRM is for organizations to invest in their manpower strategies to remain competitive. This can be achieved via selection and recruitment practices by aligning the strategic HR system with the objectives of an organisation. This has an implication on the strong emphasis on the HR department to solve the problems faced in a competitive business environment.

The alignment of organisational objectives with strategic HR systems has become a major factor for organizations in the UK. Moreover, strategic HRM comprises different features, although recruitment and selection have to be emphasized for organization to be competitive (Atkinson, 1984; Simms, Hopkins, & Gamwell, 2013). Thus, a corporate culture of selecting and recruiting employees is necessary to ensure the strategic business function is realized. For instance, Purcell (1986) noted employee management culture can be used to manage, reward, and motivate selected and rewarded employees in order to achieve the set strategic goals. According to Hopkins (2014), the absence of HRM in the workplace could result in detrimental effects on the organization. For example, unqualified employees could for instance be selected and recruited and this could affect its competitive advantage. Brown, Hesketh, and Williams (2005) contended that HRM plays a role in ensuring that talents among employees are managed in order to achieve the strategic goals of an organization.


            There is a closer link between HRM and business strategic function as explored through the selection and recruitment process of staffing. For instance, recruitment attracts qualified employees with competent qualities and knowledge that align with the strategic objectives of an organization. The alignment of organisational objectives with strategic HR systems such as selection and recruitment ensures manpower that could enhance the company to remain competitive are recruited and employed. Therefore, HRM can be considered to be a strategic business function that is used to achieve the organizational strategic objectives. As part of HRM, strategic selection and recruitment of employees ensures that employees who can help realize the strategic objectives are selected and recruited, making it a strategic business function.


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