Fundamentals of HR Management strategy –
Are human resource (HR) managers like Mila Kunis, the hottie headhunter in “Friends with Benefits”? Or are they more like Toby Flenderson, the depressing middle-aged executive in “The Office”?
Because, while Toby is a complete sweetheart, you may be more interested in being the person who gets Justin Timberlake, at the end of a movie.
So what exactly is working in HR management strategy really like? Will you end up being a just cute recruiting heroine, or Michael Scott’s scapegoat?
The truth is, you’ll probably be both and more.
In HR management you are in charge of everything that makes human resources (the people employed in an organization) as productive as possible. It means ensuring that everything runs smoothly so that both employees and the employer are motivated and satisfied.
But what does that actually involve?
HR management skills:
HR management strategy calls for a combination of assertiveness, emotional intelligence and being business savvy. HR management strategy has to balance company goals and its bottom line with the well-being of the employees. It means that in HR management strategy you have to deal with different types of people in an organization, besides having a solid working knowledge of the business end of things.
HR Management Skills
- Superb communication and writing skills
- Basic business knowledge (but the more the better)
- Knowledge of employment and labor laws
- Strong interpersonal skills
- High level of strategic and analytic thinking
The duties and responsibilities in HR management strategy vary according to the organization. A smaller company or a startup may only have a couple of representatives, whereas a larger company will have a team with each of its members specializing in different domains.
For this role, the HR management personnel should have a solid understanding of the company. What are the goals? How are they evolving/changing? You also have to identify the contractor or employee who will guide the company where it needs to go.
HR people in charge of hiring and recruiting should be able to match a recruit’s character traits with organizational goals. They must also identify whether a prospective employee would be culturally fit or not. Attracting talent to the organization is also a key trait. The HR recruiting manager must remember that people come from diverse backgrounds. His/her work will entail mapping their work history and judging whether they have it in them to grow and succeed in the company environment and in the potential role.
This position requires explaining the working conditions and business policies to prospective employees. Thus, it’s important that HR management personnel dealing with recruiting and staffing have proper knowledge of relevant labor and employment laws.
Possible tasks: Common tasks in this role is likely to include attending job fairs, creating hiring plans, reviewing resumes, conducting interviews, carrying out background checks, making job offers, contacting references, and negotiating salaries and similar things.
Instilling a talent mindset
The HR manager must believe that recruiting the correct talent is important. Even if there are no tools at your disposal, you can still head the game. Before Microsoft Excel arrived, people still had successful business models. The only difference is that it can be done a lot faster these days. Go-getters, who are result driven people, can reach the summit even with basic tools. Only the passion needs to be in place.
Instill a mindset among your staff that everybody is a recruiter. Remember that hiring great talent is a strategic business objective and a core competency. Align the company in achieving its hiring strategy.
Companies must support HR management strategy and hiring as a strategic element for corporate success. It means that in HR management strategy, you must arm your company with a philosophy that says: “We value people, we value your input, and we know that you are the company’s most valuable resource for current and future success. Because we believe in you, we also feel that you can help the company make further progress in hiring highly qualified, talented people.” It will help your employees understand the company values them to hear about prospective employees. None can understand a better fit for an organization than its top performers. Put in place a process that offers incentives in line with your company culture.
Training and employee development
This is a major part of creating a successful business enterprise. Hiring an employee is just the beginning. You have to ensure that he/she becomes an asset to the company. Training and employee development ensures that staff performance is always optimal.
Possible tasks: These include conducting surveys, interviewing the staff and HR management strategy, assessing the productivity of current employees and new recruits, developing training programs, organizing extended education programs, and initiating mentorships. As usual, the tasks may vary between companies.
Organizational development means ensuring that the company, as a whole, is working together towards it goals. It entails working through the changes that take place in the company, identifying issues in various departments and scouring ways to resolve them, and assessing business methods to check whether they can be improved further.
This particular HR management strategy demands data analyzing abilities and strong communication skills. You must be able to asses a specific situation, figure out how it can be improved, and translate the message to the workforce.
Possible tasks: The typical work includes identifying and fixing organizational problems, holding team building workshops, initiating projects and plans for measuring performance, aligning productivity in line with the organizational goals, and assessing business processes and improving them if necessary.
Salary and benefits
Honestly, an accounting background won’t hurt here. It’s important for an HR management professional of a department to have a working knowledge of state and local laws to be familiar with what the staff is entitled to.
Heather Clark, HR director of The Huntzinger Management Group Inc, says: “Payroll goes wrong? Take that right to the top of your list. There is nothing that will upset your employees more than an inconsistent and incorrect paycheck.”
HR managers are expected to look after employee benefits, health and safety, and worker-management relations. Employee benefits are actually non-incentive compensations like free parking, health insurance, and similar things. They are often used for transferring non-tax compensation to the staff.
The three major benefit categories taken care of by HR managers include employee services like purchasing plans, legal services and recreational activities; holidays, vacation and other allowed leaves; and retirement, insurance, and health benefits. HR managers, to successfully run a benefits program, must understand tax incentives, retirement plans, and the purchasing power of the larger base of employees.
HR maintenance activities that are related to the health and safety of employees, usually involve complying with federal laws that secure employees from workplace hazards. Regulations emanate from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the state workers’ compensation guidelines, and the Environmental Protection Agency laws. HR managers have to work on minimizing the company’s risk exposure by putting in place training and preventive safety program. They also have to design detailed procedures for documenting and handling injuries.
Maintenance tasks related to employee-worker relations typically include working with labor unions, redressing grievances involving misconduct like sexual harassment, theft, and physical harm, and devising systems that foster cooperation. Activities under this domain include handling worker grievances and administering programs for enhancing cooperation and communication.
Possible tasks: These involve creating benefits packages, maintaining relationship with the insurance company, staying updated with company policies, explaining tax benefits to the staff, and taking care of allied benefit schemes like health insurance, provided funds and similar things.
It requires a thorough knowledge of both employer and employee laws. The goal is always to negotiate a compromise with minimal cost i.e. expenses emerging from disruptions like strikes. It’s important that the HR management personnel involved in this role can look into the future and suggest pre-emptive measures.
Resolving disputes require a good amount of emotional intelligence. The best outcome, of course, is to give the warring sides what they want. But that’s not always possible. You have to put yourself in the shoes of both sides, assess the situation, and offer a solution that will appease all quarters.
Katie Kerr, HR management officer at Grid Alternatives, says: “Managing personalities is one of the hardest things about the job and I’ve found that the only way to be really successful here is to be someone that people feel that they can trust.”
Possible tasks: Advising and counseling employees and the management to avoid conflicts, and working with the quarreling sides to reach an agreement.
Knowing a company needs
As already said, the target of each company is different from one another. While Microsoft may be hunting for problem solvers, the Home Depot is likely to scour for customer-oriented entrepreneurial leaders. The point is, a company can never recruit the right staff until it decides what people it exactly needs.
As an HR manager, don’t box yourself by diving deep into a candidate’s experience. Instead, try looking for predictive factors. How you respond to questions could show the way about how you may treat your staff on the job. For instance, inside the Home Depot store, the idea will be to try to predict customer service traits and ability to teach. Retired executives could be ideal for the job because they will leave the belts, ladders, and tools behind and come to teach.
Defining clearly to your recruits the type of employee you are looking for, will lead you to the correct staff. There are at least three fits that you can describe.
Company fit: What kind of staff you are looking for? Problem solvers? Entrepreneurs? Customer service executives?
Team fit: Does your new recruit have the correct personality and quality?
Role fit: Does the employee have the proper technical and leadership qualities?
The situation now
The role in HR management strategy and the fundamentals of the practice have gone a major shift ever since globalization became the buzzword. No wonder, many multinational companies today prefer to call their HR management personnel “people managers” or “people enablers” and the practice as “people management”. The HR manager, in 21st-century organizations, is no longer seen as a professional described in the traditional management books. Most companies have separate departments dealing with payroll, staffing, retention, and other broad HR management strategy matters. The HR manager, instead, is responsible to manage staff expectations vis-à-vis company objectives. Reconciling both is the challenge that an HR manager has to take up, to ensure both employee fulfillment and attaining company objectives.
Globalization has also served to increase competition for both jobs and customers. It has led to several business demand higher performance from their employees and at the same time, holding the line on compensation. Other things that have changed the HR management nature in recent years include new operational theories like total quality management (TQM), fast-changing demographics, changes in health insurance and state and federal employee legislation.
Changes in organizational structure have greatly influenced HR management strategy. Continuous erosion of manufacturing industries in the US and many other countries, coupled with the rise in the tertiary sector, has changed the workplace. There has also been a significant decline in union activities across many industries. These two trends are viewed as interrelated. Besides, organizational philosophies to have undergone a change. Several companies have scrapped their hierarchical organizational structures to favor flatter HR management strategy structures. An HR manager must note the shift in responsibility and the need to reassess appraisal systems, job descriptions, and other elements of HR management strategy.
In HR management strategy you must know that while the fundamentals of HR management strategy have remained the same, there have been some cosmetic changes that one has to adapt. HR management strategy roles vary according to the industry and demands of the company policy. HR managers usually have to work under tremendous pressure because they deal with one of the most delicate issues in the daily running of an organization: employer-worker relation.
This has been a guide to the HR Management Skills which are easy to remember. Here are some articles that will help you to get more detail about the HR management strategy and HR Management Skills so just go through the link.