The rise of Strategic Human Resource Development


Management requires that all organizations and business to get the available resources together to enable them accomplish their goals, objectives and aims effectively and efficiently. This means that there must be the act of planning, staffing, controlling and directing the organization's manpower for the realization of these purposes as set by the organization (Cohen, 2002 45). The act of developing human resource is cited as an opportunity through which the employees can develop their own personal skills and other organizational skills needed for successful operation of the business. Strategic human resource development (SHRD) is the linkage between the strategic goals and objects with the resources available in the organization (Cohen, 2002 47). This is the trend that most companies are adopting in the recent past. Human resource development has become a strategic application of policies and practices that will ensure a company reaches the peak of its performance by utilizing what it has, for its on benefits. That strategy is being applied in developing new skills and innovativeness is not an entirely new thing. Its application has however been on the increase lately. Many entrepreneurs have discarded the use of traditional practices for the newer and more realistic approaches towards creating a better working environment that allows its workers to maximize their potential at all times. It has thus become the talk of the big companies and the small alike though the application is albeit different but similar in the expected outcomes.

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The difference between SHRD and HRD is vested mainly on the approach used by the two schools of thought. Whereas HRD seeks to develop manpower through traditional roles of management, SHRD seeks to apply strategic approaches to programs that will enhance the long-term objectives of the company. This implies that it will address the issues concerning the workers and provide solutions to employee productivity through a focus on obstacles that face the organization. Thus, SHRD provides primary actions that should be taken by the HR department in regard to the employee motivation and productivity for objectives that are in the long-term perspective. They enable the communication lines between top executive and the HR department to go on thus increasing active participation in matters of the organization.

The adoption of strategic HRD has of late been linked with increase in productivity in the work place. Harrison (2009 87) states that the use of SHRD has become more intrinsically entrenched in the overall business strategy and has been conceptualized as an investment in human resources and their capability as opposed to earlier notions that the it was an employment cost. Training employees on ways of managing the little resources at their disposal to create more returns has been seen as a method within which change can be translated to all levels of management as well as the personal area. SHRD creates an explicit linkage between HR policies and practices and the overall organizational strategies within the organizational environment. This is in a bid to create interventions in the HRD department that will mutually support organizing scheme within the workplace.

In the past, HRD professionals were tasked with coming up with avenues through which performance management, human resource flow, employee participation and motivation as well as ways of augmenting employee commitment. They came up with several solutions which they deemed fit for use during those periods. However, as Geflad (2009 25) reckons, these practices are inoperative in cross-cultural contexts. With globalization being on the increase in the 21st century, there is a need to come up with criteria that will be acceptable through out especially for companies that wish to go multi-national. Issues about internationalizing the market integration, new concepts of general management, and the economic gravity that occurs as one shift from developed to developing economies prove to be some of the barriers that HRD managers have had to contend with. Armstrong (2006 65) contends that SHRD is the best option in which such problems can be alleviated as those in charge are trained on ways of dealing with demographic trends on employment, business strategies, the labor market and integration of technology in HRD as well as managing the knowledge in the company

The benefits of SHRD are immeasurable in terms of the returns that a company gets. SHRD is tasked with the boosting of employee expertise to improve on employee development. Expertise is defined by Kelly (2006, p12) as the "optimal level at which a person is able and expected to perform within a specialized realm of human activity". This implies that the proactive approach to the management of employees is in itself important in impacting the required knowledge and skills to the employees without looking back on the intended goals. This further ensures that optimal business performance is achieved by all employees. Strong mentoring and training programs help acquaint employees with the expected code of conduct, work ethics and performance levels. These help the employee identify with the company and hence increase the level of motivation in the work place.

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SHRD is also tasked with being a pillar in the shaping of the business strategies. As stated by Torraco and Swanson (1995 2), performance of an organization will only be increased when an organization identifies ways and means of utilizing the employee expertise and knowledge in shaping the strategies of the business. This means that an organization should pride itself in knowledge management and employee identification for successful running of the organization. This will task the SHRD department with ensuring the competence of the employees to meet the required performance demands and the intended performance achievements. These will be applied in new markets to enable the new recruits understand what the company wishes to achieve and how well they will achieve it if they undergo a training session. Though this may seem to be an additional expense, the returns will be worth the time and money spent.

Knowledge management is one of the key aspects of SHRD. As Cho, Cho and Mclean (2009 263) detail in their research article, the different aspects affecting the current market environment require different approaches towards managing the amount of knowledge within an organization. There are many emerging challenges that organizations face when they attempt to expand their organizations. There are issues of globalization, uncertain economies, outsourcing and off-shoring, advance in technologies and competition from emerging firms. This implies a rapid generation of knowledge from different quarters threatening the existence of a dormant organization. Since time immemorial, learning has been the easiest way within which knowledge could be circulated within and organization. Research by Cho, Cho and Mc Lean (2009 263) has shown that it further offers a chance for the organization to pride in adapting, enlarging and deepening knowledge to counter the change that is in the marketing environment.

There is a belief that integrating SHRD and knowledge management (KM) is essential in understanding how to share, manage, identify and measure the wealth of knowledge inherent in an organization. Companies like Google and Microsoft have been seen as using the concept of KM to enrich its intellectual capital and continually offer better results every time their products hit the market (Cardy, 2008 19; Geflad 2009 20). They understand the value of tacit knowledge in the running of any organization and offer them an environment within which they can competently work and expand their skill base. Companies like Apple keep on producing products that are very innovative because they believe in the power of KM within their work environment. They have intertwined these with explicit and elaborate SHRD practices that have stood the test of time. The way the organizations use the intellectual capital within their grasp determines the level at which they succeed in the market. The division of these aspects into three, that is human capital, structural capital and customer capital, shows how strategic application of knowledge can be broken down to involve every stakeholder in the organization. As expounded by Cho, Cho and McLean, human capital incorporates knowledge, skills, experiences and capabilities of both employees and managers. Structural capital is the ability to link the human capital with the organization's structures and systems. The customer capital on the other hand is very critical to the value of the company which includes the correlation between the customers and the company (2009 265).

Application of strategies in the realization of goals and objectives implies having a clear view of how the recruitment drives will be conducted. This will be a stepping stone towards monitoring of employee competence as well as increase the employee's motivation once they start their work. They will be required to working accordance to the culture of the organization and also provide an excellent coordination between the workforce and the management. These strategies will be targeting those that require an upgrade in their skills and attitudes to fine tune them to the organization's expectations. This will also help in creating maximum effectiveness in them in relation to the work they are supposed to engage in (Harrison 2009 89). SHRD is thus an advocate for proper scouting of talents following criteria that are safe, transparent and economically feasible to the company. With great application, SHRD will create development that will enhance the company's value in the long run.

That said there are also some barriers that are constantly facing the development of SHRD practices in the workplace. These barriers, if not checked, could render an organization ineffective due to the application of outdated methods and mechanisms that do not work in the current situation.

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Culture has been noted as one of the major hindrances of SHRD implementation. Milliken and Martins(1989 408) define the concept of culture as being a "…combination of both the tacit and explicit assumptions that are held commonly by a group people that offers a guide towards what is acceptable or unacceptable to their perceptions, behaviors and feelings. These aspects are learnt and passed to new members of the social interaction with time…" If we adapt this definition, one notes that this being a social interaction between groups of people, there is bound to be changes from time to time. These will be affected by the way they are exposed to the outside world and especially of the business market. Culture changes form one to place the other. This dynamism creates a gap between the practices adopted in developed worlds and those that will be effective in multi-national companies that take root in the developing nations. Despite these challenges, the SHRD managers are expected to come up with ways in which integral measures can be applied to the new setting without deviating from the original objectives of the company. This means that there must be a way in which the organizational culture can be created to reflect in the recruitment strategies, remuneration packages and the flexibility of the working conditions within the workplace (Milliken and Martins 1989 409). The SHRD is thus expected to come up with strategies that guide in the selection, communication and interpretation of the many basic assumptions that may be intrinsically created by the employees. They must first be aware of the possibility of having employees tied together to a common national culture that will definitely affect how they relate with others from different cultures. For instance, the Britons are known for their superior attitude in relation to the inhabitants of Africa whereas some African countries have developed a character that portrays them as being rebellious or corrupt. With such notions, the SHRD manager must learn how to create a good rapport between the two if they are to work towards a common goal.

Technological advancements are become a great barrier in this area. As much as they are good for the running of the organization, they can not be effectively predicted. Shifts in technology are becoming a common scenario and are in turn displacing many people from the workplace. Since it is difficult to predict how the future will be and the rate at which the economy will have grown, the SHRD is faced with a problem of planning for long-term objectives in relation to training and recruitment. Strategic placement of goals in relation to the future hinders the great application of some practices as they are seen as futile due to the high rate of advancement (Cardy, 2008 20). Each day, there are new innovations in the market. These innovations affect the running of the organization due to the demands of effective business implementations. With competition being on the increase in major market industries, there is need to evaluate the worthiness of the venture into new technology since the benefits and the losses will be well articulated.

Effects of the external environment are also making SHRD a difficult phenomenon to adopt. For instance, changes in the global climate have really affected the tourism and hospitality industry to trend on a down ward road. This really affects businesses that are aligned to this industry. Tourists are essential for economic and social purposes (Cardy, 2008 22). Without their input, the hospitality and tourism industries would have been long dead and non-existence. Their existence therefore opens the whole debate on how the SHRD manager can effectively apply the available policies for the benefit of the organization as well as ensure their conformity to the immediate environment. Such unpredictable phenomena create barriers in the application of long-term strategies which are expected to give guidelines on how the organization is supposed to respond to such environmental shocks.

An upsurge in demand is creating more problems for the HRD department. The demand increase is not correlated to the increase in the supply of raw materials needed to satisfy the clients. This means that the SHRD has to create policies that will foresee the evenness of these two areas (Cardy, 2008 23). Creativity and innovativeness play a greater role in this area than any other area of the industrial augmentation. Apart from the materials, there is also a limited supply of techniques and methodologies that satisfy and address fully the needs of the business in question. managing the available resources prove to be the most effective way of eradicated any shortages and removing barriers that would in one way or the other affect the running of the company. This is the point where a company evaluates the essence of creating mergers with like minded companies to augment its productivity as well as its supplies. This will of course be as a result of the labor market analysis (Geflad 2009 27).

These barriers and benefits are very effective in running of an organization. They provide the organization with easy steps within which they can evaluate their dominance and increase their market share. It offers a chance for the organization to plan its activities within a particular line of thought as opposed to the thought of waiting for opportunities to come along. An environmental scan will most certain reveal the best form of initiatives to take in regard to a certain form of practice and how effective it would be if it were applied in the organization. This scan would certain reveal the extent to which the company's intellectual capital is and how well they utilize their human capital.

Management of knowledge is one benefit that has profound impact in the running of an organization. Companies that have a wide selection of experts working in their premise have a higher chance of maximizing benefits as opposed to those that rely on outsourcing as a means of learning new things. SHRD will help in offering strategies that will aid the organization in the creation of knowledge should it be non-existent. As Nonaka and Takeuchi discovered, the interaction of the explicit and tacit knowledge helps in the development of four other types of knowledge. These are internalization, combination, socialization and externalization (1995 62). With such a combination, the organization has a higher chance of making a great investment in its employees to achieve the very best output from them. Socialization will help in sharing knowledge, especially tacit, with the rest of the employees through sharing experiences. Combination is defined as the assemblage of new and existing explicit knowledge in the production of a new prototype product. Internalizing implies the process of embracing explicit knowledge and integrating it with tacit knowledge in both practice and culture. Externalization is on the other hand taken to be the expression of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. With such strategies, a company can create a plethora of equipments because they will be able to cater for the needed techniques and insights from the employees.

In conclusion, adoption of the SHRD practices in the running of an organization is very insightful in variety of ways. An organization is able to tap their employees' abilities and capabilities and make these abilities available for them to utilize. It further enables the company to treasure its employees and treat them in a way they will feel motivated to be productive.