Is there such a thing as strategic HR?

Strategic management, we all know, is all about making far-reaching decisions that impact the organization in a big way, and in the long term. Strategic decisions are what take the organization forward, in that they are well-thought out, deliberate and accountable. A shoe company that is in business for a couple of decades may decide to expand. That is a strategic decision, because expansion cannot happen in a void. It has to be backed by investing important resources, and strategic decisions impact the business’ bottom line.

HR’s role

So, where does HR come in? In order to answer this question, we have to understand that any strategic decision or change an organization brings about is predicated on its people. People are any organization’s most important resource, even if it is a purely non-service oriented organization or a product-oriented one.  In the case of a technology-oriented organization, for instance, technology is not plucked out of nature. It has to be developed entirely by people. The same goes for other products, too. So, since it is people that constitute the organization’s core; human resources should be the department facilitating and reinforcing the centrality of people to the organization.

How does HR do this?

If HR has to be a strategic partner in an organization; which it actually is, it has to be on the same page as the top management. HR should be with the top management when it takes crucial decisions. When strategic decisions are taken; they revolve round people. A decision to diversify business, for instance, has to be taken in consultation with HR, because it takes people to do this. The top management should assess the strength its people bring into the diversification activity. This is where HR can help. It should have a clear understanding of what is needed; how to go about it; how many people are needed; the experience level needed from these people; how long the activity could take, among many other such decisions.

HR has to be on its toes

For this to happen; HR has to be smart and completely in tune with the organization’s vision and strengths. An out-of-sync HR that is mired with mere formalities will be a major impediment to the whole process. On the other hand, when HR is dapper and takes intuitive, smart and quick decisions, it can be a great strategic partner in the organization’s growth.

References:

http://www.oup.com/uk/orc/bin/9780199216468/haberberg_ch02.pdf

http://expertscolumn.com/content/what-strategic-human-resource-management

http://ezinearticles.com/?What-is-Strategic-Human-Resource-Management?&id=549585

http://www.citehr.com/10060-what-strategic-hr.html

 

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