HUMAN RESOURCE STRATEGY AT DEWEY SKINNER AND HOWE (DS&H)
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Strategic human resource management (SHRM) does not limit itself on putting human resource at the heart of the business. SHRM, rather, is a holistic approach that builds on the human asset and the relationship between them and among them as value-adding factors. As SHRM aims for continued subsistence of any organization, it is only plausible to investigate and analyze how internal human problems could affect such the survivability of that organization. Dewey Skinner and Howe (DS&H) is not an exemption. Currently, the HR department of DS&H is experiencing structural and cultural dilemmas that causing the entire workforce to perform poorly. The business report will focus on these HR issues that DS&H is facing and how these HR issues could possibly be resolved. By adapting Paul Iles best fit model, the aim of this report is to introduce a new HR strategy which could facilitate changes in structure and culture of the DS&H and support the business strategy.
In order to eliminate inconsistencies between policies and practices, the HR strategy has to be vertically and horizontally integrated. As such, there is the necessity of emphasizing how HR is linked to the overall strategy of the organization and how they are linked to each other. To say, the conduct of one HRM tasks affects the conduct of another. However, these are challenges that hinders maximise performance of the HR within DS&H as HR is poorly integrated within the overall structure of the company. This has also resulted in other HR problems at their level.
Consideration given to HR issues had increased and which mainly concerns the corporate strategies. Commonly cited issues are policy failures and power structures within the organization. The extent of which HR functions such that HR managers are appointed as directors or members of the board is an indicator of this. Specifically, there is no HR director or any representative on the senior board hence there is no facilitative role from the corporate level to the business level to operational (or functional) level. At the business strategies level of the best fit model, there is no apparent strategic value of the HR since there is no avenue for the HR people to assert their respective roles. This situation hinders sound collaboration wherein information is suspended on the highest organizational level and which causes the roles of HR people to be fragmented. In essence, it is necessary for DS&H to answer ‘who does who’ and ‘what does what’.
As this was a manifestation of poor internal systems, HR managers and their roles must not be juxtaposed and be sacrificed as theirs are as important as the roles of directors and board members. The realization that the competency of HR managers depicts the competency of the organization as a whole is therefore evident. At the job role profiling level of the best fit model therefore, the roles must be clearly defined and no amount of power intervention must alter the capabilities of this managers. True enough, HRM must be integrated with business strategy processes at both strategic and operational levels and not on a reactive basis whereby the important of HRM is only acknowledged when problems on business and people needs arise.
Likewise, there are the inherent communication problems within DS&H. HR has an advocacy roles that deals with creating and establishing a work environment wherein people will choose to be motivated, contributing and happy. To foster an effective method towards goal-setting, communication and empowerment through responsibility is to build the sense of ownership amongst the employees. Effective corporate communication serves as a tool which enables employees to do the jobs at the best of their ability and ensure that all are working towards achieving the same organisational goals. At the corporate level of the best fit model, it is in this sense that HR could be perceived as fragmented from the corporate goals of DS&H wherein it operates as a separate unit and not as a complementary unit to the overall strategies.
Low workforce morale (as triggered by inadequate reward strategy)
It would be then easy to understand why employees working for DS&H have low morale. DS&H bypasses certain issues such that of effective remuneration programs that enable individual employees to do better and deliver expected results. Employee satisfaction suffers resulting to their intention to leave the organization.
The need for these employees to perform at an acceptable level within organizations, one must be motivated and rewards are part of intrinsic motivation. Further, reward systems, most especially, are the considered as forerunners of employee motivation (Caruth and Handlogten, 2001, p1). An ideology is that commitment and motivation are an outgrowth from organizational behavior that place emphasis on management strategy connecting HRM with organizational behavior and management strategy (Armstrong, 2003). An incremental function of HRM is central on the emergence of better educated workforces and higher individual expectations.
Resultant factors of low levels of morale among the organizational members are unproductivity and low levels of participation as well which inadvertently affect both individual and organizational performance within DS&H. Rummler and Brache (1990) assert that there are three levels of performance within an organization such as organization, process and individual, all of which suffers when there is no efficient performance measures. Poorly managed performance negates maximum return on employee investments (ROEI) thus there could be lessened drive to develop the competencies of the workforce. To wit, there needs to be downstream consequences of selected performance measure, the upstream consistency and the compatibility of measures to skills, capabilities and organizational culture (Rummler and Brache, 1990).
To continue, there is no visible cultural mindset that DS&H could be proud of. People management is a critical factor in the knowledge economy. The challenges that HR is currently facing include managing knowledge workers and identifying key HR strategies for effective people-centric partnership in knowledge management. The latter is comprised of trusting the HR philosophy, institutionalizing learning to learn and fine tuning HR systems in recruitment, retainment, performance and reward management (Thite, 2004). DS&H shall explore these issues while also creating a learning culture that will address the gap in strategies employed.
To continue, low morale levels that impacts performance also affects retention rates within any organization like that of DS&H. In the schema of employee motivation, two of the most important things are willingness to perform (effort) and willingness to stay with the firm when needed by the firm (retention). Maintaining the strength of the organization, it is the responsibility of the HR people to retain the people. Staff retention is now a challenge for DS&H as the overall performance of the organization worsens. Various retention strategies are in place including rewards and recognition program, training and development, flexible working arrangements and others. How people want to be managed and how people are being managed and the gap between contributes to either high or low staff retention rates (Ulrich, 2002).
The realization of success therefore is dependent on DS&H’s ability to attract, develop and retain employees, all of which are the core responsibilities of the HR. Depending on how effective the HR performs its role, the physical evidence of the importance of HR is competitive advantage achieved in effective workplace management. The impact on success, sustained success, and determinants of failure and success act as a major source of competitive advantage for any company such as DS&H. It is in this sense that HR shall embrace the issue of the future earning power of a worker to DS&H. Experience, education and psychological traits are also included in the accounting despite the difficulty of assessing the real value of these human assets.
Basically, there should be more HR initiatives within DS&H. DS&H also fell short of retention and reward strategies as well as motivational strategies because of the insignificant commitment of HR to the people could be the fact that there are no significant demonstrations of the value of HR. While the morale of the workforce is declining, that also of the HR’s could be also declining since they are not being influential to them. Looking at it from a strategic perspective, there is no definitive role that the HR is performing. To wit, there is the need to clarify roles and role expectations of HR function within DS&H.
Effective HRM, in sum, could be also regarded as an asset which provides competitiveness and sustainability to DS&H. HR is instrumental in achieving success from both operational and strategic perspectives. However, HR is poorly integrated within the corporate goals and hence business strategies of the company. Poor integration of HR is evidenced by lack of representation, poor communication, low workforce morale, incompetent and unproductive workforce, low retention rate and few HR initiatives.
Armstrong, M 2003, Human Resource Management in Practice. Kogan Press.
Caruth, D L & Handlogten, G D 2002, Compensating Sales Personnel. The American Salesman, 6-15.
Rummler, G A & Brache, A P 1990, Improving Performance: How to Manage the White Space on the Organization Chart, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco.
Thite, M 2004, ‘Strategic positioning of HRM in knowledge-based organizations,’ The Learning Organization Journal, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 28-44.
Ulrich, D 2002, Human Resource Champions, Harvard Business School Press.