The current corporate organizations are undergoing changes in order to cope with the ever growing and turbulent market environment. In the process of attaining the competitive advantage in the corporate society, the companies have focused on improving the management of their workforce. According to the research by Kaufman (2012 p. 20), human resource is considered the leading source in ensuring the organization maintains its competitive advantage over the rival organization. This comes as a clarification to dispute the long-term perception of linking the competitiveness of any organization with the invention of technology and enough capital. The modern organizations are therefore advised to devote in human resource empowerment and development in order to improve their performance and sustain their competitive advantage (Ozen, Mesci, Comlekci, & Sahin, 2012. p. 1)
The well-managed human resource in any organization plays a bigger role in ensuring the company achieves their objectives by managing, mobilizing, and leading the work force towards achieving the organizational goal and objective. The human resource management motivates the workforce by making them feel valuable and an asset to the organization as well as allowing them to participate in decision-making, policy formulation, and implementation. The organizations have set their targets to remain unique and deliver quality services to their clients, this place them above other competitors and maintain their competitive advantage. In order to achieve this, the company should embrace the application of the strategic practices in managing their human resource. These strategic practices will allow flexibility in their workforce, and embracing innovation among the employees to improve their performance (Ramona & Anca 2013, p. 1683).
This paper therefore will critically evaluate the strategies in the management of the human resource and link it to the corporate organization, identify and evaluate the challenges that need to be addressed in order to achieve the strategic practices in the corporate strategy. To achieve this, the paper will analyze an organization that has employed these strategic practices when dealing with the management of their workforce.
A number of researches have been done on corporate organization to analyze the impact of the application of the strategic practice in the management of the human resource to the performance of an organization. Several approaches suggested that human resource management practices vary, and therefore some have great impact on the organizational performance. Some researchers had concluded that strategic practices in management of human resources gyrate around the same set of principles. According to the suggestion by the superiority and universality principle, that strategic practices, some have been put above others in terms of their impact on the organization performance. The other principle focuses on the selection and superiority of finance being the key parameters for the strategy in managing the workforce in an organization. According to this principle, the strategic practices are those that result in the organization’s high financial performance. The last principle argues that each HRM practice has an independent impact on the performance of an organization (Hamid, 2013 p. 187).
The most common approach that is used to critically evaluate the strategic HRM in the corporate organization according to Hamid (2013, p. 189) is the universalistic approach. As quoted in Schultez & Becker, during his research, Hamid (p3) stated that the universalistic approach bases its argument on two theories, namely the strategic resources theory and the human capital theory. In an attempt to explain the human resource theory, all the organizational practices are subjected to certain conditions, then monitored on how the trend of organizational performance will change. After the establishment of the constant factors, the HRM adopts them and are hence used as the basis for the competitive advantage of the organization. Human capital theory focuses on the skills, knowledge, and the ability of the workforce to innovate new ways of production and problem solving. The value of the work force in any organization increases the efficiency in the production, thus, the competitive advantage over the other competitors.
The study was carried out by several organizations to establish strategic human resource management using the universalistic approach. Some of the firms chosen for the study included, French manufacturing firms, USA banks, and Canadian high tech companies. In his research, Hamid (2013 p. 190) carried out an interview on some sampled employees and the management team in the respective organizations. The additional information was obtained by studying and analyzing the documented policies and strategies that govern the human resource in these organizations. Several common practices were identified from these selected organizations. During the study, the practices identified included: team work and work force diversity management, the workforce participation in decision-making, smooth flow of information and proper communication between the workers and management, training of the human resource capital to equip workers with new skills and changing production methods, compensation of the employees according to the work done as a way of motivating them, and ensuring the job security of the workers (Xiaoya, Marler, & Zhiyu 2012, p. 8-10).
After the research and analysis, Hamid (2013) suggested five practices he considered strategic in the human resource management (p. 191). The performance of any organization is dependent on the ability, knowledge, and skills of an employee. In order to maintain the competitive advantage, the human resource management needs to improve their selection criterion. They ought to be selecting an individual that has the ability that suits the position advertised and fits the organizational requirements. An employee assigned the job relevant to their training, knowledge, skills makes the employee comfortable and motivated hence doing it to their full potential thus improving the organizational performance.
The training program helps the employees to constantly improve their skills and knowledge. This helps the employees to maintain and improve on the performance thus ensuring the maximum performance of the organization. The ever-advancing technologies in the production and administration calls for the employees to undertake the timely training in order to update the skills and adapt to the new production and management systems. Training is termed as a way of motivating the workers in an organization, and the workers are always eager to apply whatever they acquired to improve their performance and the productivity of the organization. Therefore, as a way of adopting strategic human resource management, to ensure the training programs meets the needs of the organization.
Participation in decision making in an organization makes employees more motivated and autonomous in doing their work. They feel appreciated and part of the organization, thus improving their performance. The competitive advantage of the organization improves with the growth in performance of the workforce. Employee decision-making participation and policy implementation involvement employed by the HRM serves as a strategic practice to improve the organization performance.
In most researches and case studies undertaken, the results show that employee job satisfaction and the incentive compensation play a key role in the improvement of the organizational performance. Whenever employees feel their hard work appreciated with premiums and bonuses, they tend to develop some positive attitude towards the job and the organization. This motivates them to improve their performance and subsequently the efficiency of the organization (McDermott, A, Conway, Rousseau, & Flood 2013 p. 295).
Sharing of the strategic information between the leadership and the employees has been seen as the other form of the strategy employed by human resource management. This practice improves the mutual relationship between the management and the workforce in an organization. The employees who are aware of the strategic information become motivated to work according to that information and enlighten them on whatever goes around in their workplace. Above all, the sharing of this information makes the employees feel appreciated and part of the organization. It motivates them more to perform efficiently once they realize their skills are appreciated and needed in the organization (Ankara, & Sokro 2012, p. 8).
The organizational operations, internal and external environment has greatly changed over the recent years. This has put a lot of pressure on the corporate companies to guarantee that they remain competitive on the market. In an effort to sustain, the competitive advantage of an organization, improved technology, and increased capital investment was proposed as some of the remedies. However, such proposals have had a very small impact in response to the external and internal forces currently affecting the market competitiveness of any organization. To guarantee the competitiveness of an organization, the human resource management needs to embrace the change in leadership and operation as well as be flexible.
However, some current issues have hampered the full adoption of strategic practices in the management of their human resource. This section therefore will try to identify and evaluate some of the issues. Some of the approaches organizations are taking to ensure full implementation of the strategic practices will later follow the analysis.
The diversity among the work force has been a major issue in the implementation of this strategy in corporate organizations. In cases where the employees are from different social and cultural backgrounds, they tend to have different perceptions concerning the organizational operations and company culture. These issues usually affect multinational corporations. In some cases, the human resource management finds it difficult to find an employee whose skills fulfills the requirements of the job description (Mingzheng 2008, p. 74). This is always because of the training program not being in line with the job market requirement (Xiaoya, Marler, & Zhiyu 2012, p. 15).
Organizations are always improving and diversifying their operations. In order to remain competitively relevant in the market environment and reach a large market target, the human resource management needs to embrace the new market trends, such as globalization, which may come unexpectedly. Some organizations have strong competitive ability, therefore, in order to match their competition, the human resource management may have to strain the limited resources of the organization (Soo, Halim, & Keng-Howe 2010, p. 115).
The ever-advancing and changing technologies and operations have posed a great challenge in the implementation. To adopt fully the new technologies, the human resource management needs to incur extra costs in training their staff on how to adopt and use the new technologies. In addition, the cost of installing these technologies can be higher in relation to the total operating budget of the organization. In most cases, older employees may have been used for other methods of operation, thus, posing some resistance to the change, making it difficult for organizations to implement fully the strategic practices (Sawitri, & Muis, 2014, p. 13).
Corporate mergers, downsizing and restructuring has been one of the major issues the organizations face in their quest to implement these practices. Corporate merging brings the organizations together for a common goal. However, these organizations may have diverse mission, goals, objectives and set policies so it becomes difficult for the human resource to harmonize the operations of the merged organizations. This may bring about the delay in implementation of the strategic practices due to the common interest crisis. Restructuring of the organizational workforce and downsizing may encounter some resistance from the employees who do not embrace this change (Aguilera, & Dencker 2004, p. 1357).
However, despite all these issues, the human resource management has come up with approaches to enable full implementation. They have embraced the art of appreciating the diversity among the employees and utilizing these diverse abilities to benefit the organization (Childs 2005, p. 75). The organization’s policies and strategic management plans are formulated in consultation with all stakeholders in the organization. This motivates them to improve their performance, thus giving the organization the competitive advantage (Chavez & Weisinger 2008, p. 333).
In order to deal with issues related to the change in technology, management, and the structure of an organization, the management has come up with employee training programs. These programs gather for the whole requirements of the organization as well as bringing about the attitude and behavior change among the employees (Marler, 2012, p. 8).
Evidently, organizations are dynamic and always evolving through many changes in their operations, structures and design in order to remain competitive in the market environment. The strategic practices in the management is regarded as the best to improve the organization efficiencies and hence sustain their competitive advantage. Several issues have hindered the organizations in achieving this level of management. These issues are related to workforce behavior and attitude, competition, globalization as well as changes in the technology. In this study, it was noted that these issues could be handled by the collective participation of all the stakeholders in the organization.
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