Human resource management is one of the most fundamentally-important parts of an organization or corporation-- and, strangely, until relatively recently in human development, it was also one of the most undervalued and ignored. Human resources management is the area of study that deals with the maximization of employee performance and employee resources within an organization; it is also the force that deals with the individual, personal side of business. There are always going to be conflicts and interpersonal issues within a company, and it is the task of the human resource management system within that organization, whether the organization is large or small, to address conflicts and issues that employees are having within the organization. Functionally, a human resources employee is responsible for every employee under his or her care for the entire duration of that employee’s employment with the organization, from the time that that employee is hired until the day that they leave the company or organization. This is a very important task, and one that cannot be taken lightly. Because this is such an important task, it is pertinent to examine the different ways that effective human resources (HR) management practices can affect an organization, and how the organization can benefit from these practices, expand, and change.
Perhaps one part of the organization that is not commonly considered to be a human resources professional is the CEO of the organization, but according to Choo and Halim et al. (2010), the globalized world has, by and large, changed the face of human relations and the strategies by which companies, corporations, and organizations handle their employee power; the CEO, they write, is a driving force when it comes to company environment (Choo and Halim et al., 2010). Indeed, the level of globalization that a company experiences also has a significant impact on their strategic human resource management solutions (Choo and Halim et al., 2010). Without the outside influence and the vast pool of resources available to the globalized company, the company without high levels of globalization in its ranks may face less optimization in its work force (Choo and Halim et al., 2010). Globalization also presents a problem: the globalized firm must, according to Choo and Halim et al. (2010), establish a significant competitive advantage in their niche. Strategic human resource management tools help them carve out this competitive advantage that is so fundamental to success in the globalized world (Choo and Halim et al., 2010). Leadership within the company or firm and the globalization level of the firm are important when considering methods and strategies for human resource management, as the talent pool for highly global firms may be quite large (Choo and Halim et al., 2010).
Cannings and Hills (2012), conversely, address the ways that human resource management professionals can maximize the human resource development within a firm or organization, outside the leadership of that organization. This is arguably a more beneficial discussion for most firms, as CEOs and the globalization level of a firm are by and large outside the control of those responsible for human resource management. Cannings and Hills (2012) suggest that there are two basic approaches to human resource management: the first is the concept that the human resources professional or group must “do it right.” This means that the professional or group must comply with laws and regulations; the second theory is that the human resources group or professional must “do the right things,” which includes complying with laws and regulations, but also takes actions that are in line with organizational goals (Cannings and Hills, 2012). Cannings and Hills (2012) write:
HR needs to ensure there is in place an infrastructure of HR and employment policies and procedures covering, typically recruitment and selection, performance management, employee relations, learning and development, and administration and recording. HR departments will need to ensure that their organisations attract, develop, compensate and retain the people they need to support the essential purpose and operations of the firm and to enable the firm to achieve its objectives. The purpose HR is to create and maintain stability in the firm’s workforce and in workforce management. HR must be able to balance current and future business needs to ensure that the workforce is appropriate and effective on delivering what the firm requires. They also need to ensure legal compliance (Cannings and Hills, 2012).
This concept of constantly checking HR processes and ensuring that the HR process is strengthening the organization as a whole is fundamental to the success of the HR department, according to Cannings and Hills (2012). Innocenti and Profili et al. (2013) likewise suggest that the concept of an audit can strengthen the role of HR and improve its overall performance, rather than allowing it to continue forward without any kind of larger purpose to the organization. The audit process is designed to cull practices that are not efficient or offering the organization any kind of benefit, while improving practices that may offer benefits in the future (Cannings and Hills, 2012).
Rynes and Colbert et al. (2002) make a similar argument in their discussion of human resources practices. Rynes and Colbert et al. (2002) write, “the major differences in organizational competitiveness were no longer created by differences in knowledge, but rather by differences in the ability to implement what is known Their basic assertion is that information dissemination has become so efficient that everyone is likely to know about best practices; thus, best practices are no longer likely to be sources of competitive advantage” (Rynes and Colbert et al., 2002). However, Rynes and Colbert et al. (2002) go on to denounce this assumption, stating instead that the levels of knowledge in most human resource management systems is very low (Rynes and Colbert et al., 2002). Instead, they suggest that human resources management systems are doing what Cannings and Hills (2012) refer to as “doing it right” rather than “doing the right things” in their human resource management processes. This is reflected in the Choo and Halim et al. (2010) research as well: as globalization increases and more options are available, the CEO and leaders of the organization have to be able to organize and reassess the needs of their particular organization in the context of business goals and proposed forward movement.
All of the studies analyzed within this discussion focus on the importance of building comparative advantage within a business niche to function more effectively as firms or corporations. Some of the studies note the importance of globalization on comparative advantage, while others focus more heavily on other forms and functions that serve to increase comparative advantage. However, the Inyang (2011) study focuses on the importance of people as a way to build comparative advantage; the Inyang (2011) study is quite clear that proper human resources management can lead to significant changes in comparative advantage. Using Nigeria as a case study, the Inyang (2011) study writes: “the human resources and the capabilities that embed in the human capital of an organization constitute the distinctive competencies, which drive superior efficiency, quality service, innovation, customer responsiveness, performance and effectiveness. Value is then created through these processes, which then ultimately result into increased profit for the organization in the marketplace” (Inyang, 2011). The Parker and Cain (2006) study also reflects this theory, noting that human resource planning functions to ensure the correct “number and mix” of employees in a given company, firm, or organization (Parker and Cain, 2006).
The benefits of proper human resource management cannot be overstated, especially in an increasingly globalized economy. Not only are human resources personnel important for the success of the employee within the company, these individuals are also responsible for the overall success of the company. Mobilizing talent is a large part of human resource management , and improper mobilization of talent may result in lost productivity or, worse, lost talent.
Cannings, A. and Hills, T. 2012. A framework for auditing HR: strengthening the role of HR in the organisation. Industrial and Commercial Training, 44 (3), pp. 139--149.
Choo, S. S., Halim, H. and Keng-Howe, I. C. 2010. THE IMPACT OF GLOBALISATION ON STRATEGIC HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT: THE MEDIATING ROLE OF CEO IN HR. International Journal of Business Studies, 18 (1).
Innocenti, L., Profili, S. and Sammarra, A. 2013. Age as moderator in the relationship between HR development practices and employees’ positive attitudes. Personnel Review, 42 (6), pp. 724--744.
Inyang, B. J. 2011. Creating Value Through People: Best Human Resource (HR) Practices in Nigeria.International Business \& Management, 2 (1).
Marescaux, E., De Winne, S. and Sels, L. 2013. HR practices and HRM outcomes: the role of basic need satisfaction. Personnel Review, 42 (1), pp. 4--27.
Parker, B. and Caine, D. 1996. Holonic modelling: human resource planning and the two faces of Janus.International Journal of Manpower, 17 (8), pp. 30--45.
Rynes, S. L., Colbert, A. E. and Brown, K. G. 2002. HR professionals' beliefs about effective human resource practices: Correspondence between research and practice. Human Resource Management, 41 (2), pp. 149--174.