Any company highly values human capital which is the most important input into day-to-day operations of the firm. It is the responsibility of the management to ensure that each and every employee is satisfied with the conditions of work so that the employee can deliver to the maximum. As a result, companies that have invested in better human resource management have advanced more besides getting the best output out of their employees. Moreover, success of any organization is dependent on the ability of the organization to effectively implement its strategies. It should be noted that in the business environment difficult situations for example, complaints from customers may not be completely avoided. Consequently, managers are expected to exercise strategic management in their day-to-day activities and be well prepared for any eventuality. Strategic management puts into consideration the interrelationship between strategy, structure and culture to improve a company’s productivity.
Strategic human resource management is a set of managerial decisions that are proactive and are designed to improve performance of the firm through proper management of the human capital. It entails focusing a head and coming up with strategies through which the firm can best meet the requirements of employees so as to maximally tap the input of the employees (Gray, 2004). It mostly involves human development starting from the point when an employee first joins a firm and goes on throughout the period the employee will spend with the firm. Employees are given special concern and ways through which their potential can be maximally tapped are continuously sought and implemented. On top of that strategic human resource management usually focuses on the management, the working environment and resources in ensuring that the company’s mission and goals are met.
Any given strategy that is chosen by a firm should take into consideration the effects it may have on the operations of the firm after implementation. In this light, the relationship between the organizational culture and structure is very essential in ensuring that smooth running of the company is not affected whenever a new strategy is introduced (Luthans & Doh, 2008). It should be noted that for the intended strategy to be effectively realized during implementation, the environment in which the firm is operating should be given serious attention. On top, strategies, structure and culture are so much entangled that a change in one requires the others also to be changed so as to avoid friction in the operations of the firms. Consequently, though a strategy is developed at a specific point in time, its implementation goes on continuously to ensure that it catches up with the changes in structure and culture (Marcus, 2004). For multinational companies, differences in national culture are very essential and must always be put into consideration whenever any strategy is introduced. However, company structure must be maintained when both culture and strategy are being addressed in order to ensure that company goals are achieved.
Job satisfaction plays an important role in ensuring that service offered to customers are of high quality. Any firm should therefore ensure that employee satisfaction is achieved through motivation, which is part of its organizational culture (Belout, Dolan & Saba, 2001). This is achieved through special focus on the health and welfare of the employees as well as protection from unexpected life styles after being employed.
Since culture plays an important role in any firm’s activities, any firm should not try to force an organizational structure of one region to another region. As a result, implementation of an organizational structure that is compatible with local cultures is essential. Additionally, firms should employ democratic type of management where employees also give their ideas concerning what should be done besides them being allowed to make some decisions as a team (McLeod & Nguyen, 2001). This enables the firm to motivate employees as well as enhancing employee empowerment. On top, this management style enables the implementation of any strategy to be achieved easily since it builds a sense of belonging among the employees besides fostering the organizational culture.
To any firm, labor is the most priced input as it actually determines the running of the day-to-day activities of a firm. Firms should invest a great deal on matters affecting its employees and their welfare while they are working with them. Employees’ satisfaction is paramount. Consequently, everything should be done to ensure that the employees are comfortable (Gray, 2004). Employees will be willing to work in a firm where they feel that their needs are given serious attention and they will want to stay longer in these firms.
Once employees have been hired into a firm, a relationship is established whereby the hierarchy of needs satisfaction is the guide. Employees should be built and groomed continuously through inside trainings and other workshops. On top of that employees also need to be given incentives like rewards and benefits to improve their attitude towards their responsibilities therefore increasing their probability of stay with an organization (Dowling, Festing & Engle, 2008). Arguably, promotions should be given depending on the performance of a person and other more measurable factors, which makes the process open and transparent. This not only motivates employees to deliver to their maximum, but also satisfies them that their efforts will not go to waste thus encouraging them to continue working for the company.
Health of employees should be paramount to management, as well as the change in lifestyle due to joining the workforce of the organization. Moreover, besides employees having to individually strive to attain their laid down goals, they should be encouraged to work as a team for better results (Marcus, 2004). Their suggestions to the management about what they feel should be done should be taken into consideration whenever decisions are made. This helps in creating a sense of belonging among the employees which is an important factor in retaining employee.
Every human resource manager wants to have people who can help the company to move forward. Big companies especially multinational firms face a lot of challenges when it comes to recruitment and selection. In some countries, strict adherence to company values is paramount. However, in other countries, professional qualification is crucial (Luthans & Doh, 2008). Human resource managers have also to change their age requirements depending on the country they are operating given that different cultures give emphasis to different age sets.
Employees need to be continuously trained so that they can develop their skills and improve their performance. It is the initiative of human resource managers to determine who will go for training and when. While some people will be comfortable with mechanical training schedules where management has the final say on who will be trained, others like to be trained on their own initiative. Consequently, human resource managers are usually faced with the challenge of determining which procedure to use (Belout, Dolan & Saba, 2001). It is important to note that the problem is complicated by the fact that people from different cultural backgrounds work in the same branch yet they demand different treatment.
Most importantly, human resource management is about managing people in a given institutional setting. However, geographical dispersion means that people from different cultural and religious backgrounds are employed in the same organization (Dowling, Festing & Engle, 2008). In addition, these people usually have different moral and ethical behaviors. Human resource managers are expected to treat all employees without discrimination while at the same time religious and cultural backgrounds should be given consideration. Managing these people is a daunting task for managers of both international and local firms.
With the current dynamics in the corporate world, many issues are constantly demanding the attention of human resource managers. To begin with, technology is constantly advancing and this requires constant training to help people to be at par with the level of technology. Unfortunately, the information about some new technology does not flow as fast as people would expect. This leads to knowledge lag when even the trainers do not have the knowledge of the new technology (McLeod & Nguyen, 2001). Though outsourcing can help in dealing with this problem, it is sometimes expensive and an infeasible option. On the same note, computer technology is increasingly becoming part and parcel of organizational culture. Virtually every office must have a computer which helps the people to execute their duties. However, the rate at which computer technology and software changes is very high, yet the computers dictate what should be learnt and when. Consequently, the rate at which learning materials become redundant is very high.
Besides the above issues, globalization is emerging as another very crucial issue as far as human resource development is concerned. Globalization has led to increased ease in the transfer of information from one place to another. As a result, technology moves very fast from one place to another causing a shift in the mode of operations. Additionally, commodities are easily exported and imported by various countries, some of which are of high quality. This compels the country with low quality goods to endeavor and improve their quality because customers can easily get the products elsewhere (Marcus, 2004). It is also important to note that globalization has increased the rate of employee exit, which has become a thorn in the flesh of the trainers because they are not sure whether the employee will stay after being trained.
It is the prayer of every human resource manager that his or her work would be made easier by using uniform frameworks for the whole firm. Every human being wants to have an easy ride in the work place. This would have been the case for human resource managers if the firms had only one branch with few employees. However, firms want to expand their scale of operation. On the same note, local markets are becoming unsustainable and this is pushing firms into international markets.
Belout, A., Dolan, L. & Saba, T. (2001). Trends and emerging practices in human resource management – The Canadian scene. International Journal of Manpower, 22(3), 207 – 215.
Dowling, P. Festing, M. & Engle S. R. (2008). International Human Resource Management. Stanford: Cengage Learning.
Gray, C. (2004). Management Development in European Small and Medium Enterprises. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 6(4), 451-469.
Luthans, F., & Doh, J. P. (2008). International Management: Culture, Strategy and Behavior. London: McGraw Hill.
Marcus, A. A. (2004). Management Strategy: Achieving Sustainable Competitive Advantage. London: McGraw Hill.
McLeod, M. W., & Nguyen, T. D. (2001). Culture and Customs of Vietnam. Westport: Greenwood Publishers.