Human Systems Management Vs Human Resources Management

Prelude: The Evolution of Human Resource Management

From the dawn of the Computer Age to the birth of the Internet, technology and business have evolved with unprecedented speed. Technological advances have produced competitive advantages. However, competitive advantage is no longer achieved or maintained solely by technological innovation.

With the rapid ability of product developers to create new products, the only remaining competitive advantage in business to capitalize upon is not technology, but people. Simply put, those firms attracting and retaining the best people and making the most of their human resources will thrive. Those who don’t, will not.

As an increasingly competitive world forces business to change, adapt and respond more quickly, companies are reconsidering the very essence of how they conduct business. These demands produce new expectations of how people contribute to organizations. People must possess greater knowledge, play new roles and operate to higher standards of performance.

The New Role of Human Resource Management

Because the emphasis today is on people and what they can bring to the business, it’s only natural that the Human Resource (HR) function would one day reexamine how it supports a firm’s business plan. That time is now. Once merely thought of as the organizational police, administrators or the company store, the Human Resource function is finally becoming a true strategic business partner in progressive companies.

Some say HR’s mission is to add value. Regardless of its characterization, the new HR role is to make a business more successful. Just like the order of movements in a symphony score, a business and its objectives must first be understood. The HR function, long associated with understanding and working with a company’s human element, is well suited to apply and integrate its organizational knowledge with the strategic business plan for maximum impact. The net result? The new HR function can now contribute to the success of the firm in ways which weren’t possible in the past. In fact, the new HR role is so different, it deserves a new name – Human Systems Management.

What Is Human Systems Management

Human Systems represents any organizational system in which the role, impact, and reaction of the human element are of critical importance. Human Systems Management encompasses much of what Human Resource Management has become, and more. In it, the HR function is re-creating, redefining, and essentially retuning for the Post-Modern and Information Ages. The system may be exclusively human (e.g., the process of team building) or sociotechnical (i.e., the interaction of people and technology). It may involve the redesign of work or the design of new pay systems to improve employee satisfaction and organizational performance.

The key element is, and always will be, the human element. The desired outcome is twofold: improved individual as well as organizational performance. At its core, however, is business strategy.

New Knowledge, New Opportunities

The Human Resource function, with its overall view of the business, has a great opportunity to capitalize upon and synthesize the new knowledge we have gained about organizational behavior.

For example, we know that employee involvement is vital to the success of many companies and business programs today. People who do the work know the work best. They should participate in decision making that affects their jobs, workplace and livelihood. People, therefore, will acquire skills by choice, if given the opportunity.

We also know that well-designed jobs and pay systems encourage skill acquisition and increase job satisfaction. In addition, we have learned that teams of people can be self-directing with equal or greater effectiveness than supervisor-led groups. When people are self-managing, the challenges and the rewards of achievement increase the meaning of the work they do.

The HR Department must also reexamine its traditional role. For instance, roles like Employment, Compensation and Training are performed in new ways to free the HR department to focus on other value-adding activities. This can be achieved through outsourcing, internal consulting, automation, the assumption of HR functions by line management, leaderless teams, team-based decision making, self-guided computer training, the Internet, reverse interviewing, as well as other strategies.

The result? The new proactive HR function can act more like a strategic partner.

A Strategic Partner for Human Systems Management

But how can organization’s move forward from Human Resource Management to Human System Management?

They should seek out a strategic partner who specializes in Human Systems Management. This allows the partner to orchestrate new strategies that will enhance a business’ chance for success and to serve as a centralized resource for data and ideas.

The strategic partner should not only provide a level of professional expertise usually found only in larger, more costly consulting firms, but also form more personal working relationships with an organization’s management team. This means that management can then always depend on the strategic partner’s ongoing availability and support.

Specifically, a strategic partner can help orchestrate the transition to Human Systems Management by:

- serving as an organization’s entire HR function where none exists;

- complementing the role of small HR functions in mid-size firms;

- and consulting with larger, well-established HR functions on new ideas for improving performance.

The Finale: Working in Concert

Today the challenge of Human Resource Management is to integrate the best traditional approaches with new and innovative techniques and strategies of Human Systems Management. When these elements work in harmony, and with the firm’s strategic plan, the organization becomes the beneficiary.
However, a business needs to work under the guidance of a skilled orchestrator. Therefore, it is essential that a Human System Management consultant work in concert with an organization’s leaders as a strategic partner to create Human Resource programs that align the efforts of people with the employers’ objectives to achieve common goals that will benefit everyone.

Some call this “organizational synergy.” In reality, a simpler way to think of it is organizational success.

David Wudyka, SPHR, MBA, BSIE, is the Managing Principal and Founder of Westminster Associates, a human resources and compensation consulting firm. Mr. Wudyka was one of the first 200 people in the U.S. to be certified in the field of Compensation by the former American Compensation Association. In addition he is certified by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). He has an MBA in Organization and Management from Syracuse University, and is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Industrial Engineering where he received his B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering.

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Human Resources: What Drives an Organization

The field of Human Behavior Organization emphasizes the importance of human resources in any business organization. The business field offers too much focus on manpower development for it is the lifeblood of an existing industry.

This consideration provided several honchos in trade enterprise to create spin off departments to cater to different structural framework in human resource management development. Some of the most generic or common filed are the one below:

Human Resources Careers

Human Resources Certification

Human Resources Consulting

Human Resources Law

Human Resources Management

Human Resources Outsourcing

Human Resources Program

Human Resources Software

Human Resources Studies

Human Resources Careers

The new millennium recognizes the importance of human resources personnel in their contribution to supplying the best manpower supply in a thriving industry.

Organizations in the business world rely on Human Resources management teams in overseeing business functions such as hiring, training, conducting interviews, relaying of company-related business trends and issues and employees’ benefits and the like.

Individuals who work inside this type of industry are tasked to making sure that the provided workforce are adept in their respective business roles and are able to function optimally under any condition.

This type of thinking is oriented among professionals whose function are those of above. They keep the company they are working with able to stay on top despite of existing competition against companies who competes with the same product or services a certain company is caters for.

Human Resources Certification

The field of Human Resources Industry evolved into creating a body of professionals or individual industries that take care of providing reliable certification activities whose purpose is to provide, attest and authenticate suitable capabilities among professionals in this field.

Human Resources Certification board’s certifying examinations are guided and are guided by core values and principles which an individual aspiring to be part of such industry should pass in order to gain the desired testament of ability.

Human Resources Management and Human Resources Consulting

Management and consulting groups take on the function of most of the above jobs typical of an HR staff member.

They work hiring the best professionals in the field as demanded by a corporate client. They make sure that these individuals are retained and that their continued career development is ensured.

Tailoring benefit plans is also one of Human Resources Consulting firms’ structured course of function. They regularly check medical health benefit plans that is beneficial for the company without sacrificing the overall quality of health premium option features given to employees.

This department is also in charge of regular relay of company policies to each employees and making sure that satisfactory conformation is met. It is also their task to remind erring employee of regulations that are intentionally or accidentally infracted and make the necessary adjustment as well.

Human Resources Outsourcing

Outsourcing job functions, or taking internal business functions to business industries via another firms or overseas proved to be more cost effective than having a single Human Resources team handle all job at hand.

The study conducted by The Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) provided conclusive evidence of how outsourcing human resources personnel and various HR functions could cut average company cost on HR spending and free them from other legal risk.

This type of initiative also gives core HR professionals the chance to focus on a more important HR functions and company goals.

Human Resources Program, Human Resources Studies and Human Resources Software

If Human Resources Management is the lifeblood of various Business Industries, Human Resources Programs on the other hand is the lifeblood of Human Resources Management.

HR is less capable of ensuring that its tasks and objectives are met without following a program at hand. Programs are effective when they bring results to the organization.

An independent HR Consulting industry study in Missouri explains how HR programs help professionals in this field in realigning HR policies to that of the company they are working for.

These programs are carried out to effectively implement job functions and seek on ways to improve them. Compensations, health benefits, relaying company regulations and management, staffing and culture change is communicated through designed programs.

Being an organization itself, Human Resources management and policies are directed by programs and these programs are expected to produce results, otherwise they are discarded.

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What is Strategic Human Resource Management?

In Human Resource (HR) and management circles nowadays there is much talk about Strategic Human Resource Management and many expensive books can be seen on the shelves of bookshops. But what exactly is SHRM (Strategic Human Resource Development), what are its key features and how does it differ from traditional human resource management?

SHRM or Strategic human resource management is a branch of Human resource management or HRM. It is a fairly new field, which has emerged out of the parent discipline of human resource management. Much of the early or so called traditional HRM literature treated the notion of strategy superficially, rather as a purely operational matter, the results of which cascade down throughout the organisation. There was a kind of unsaid division of territory between people-centred values of HR and harder business values where corporate strategies really belonged. HR practitioners felt uncomfortable in the war cabinet like atmosphere where corporate strategies were formulated.

Definition of SHRM

Strategic human resource management can be defined as the linking of human resources with strategic goals and objectives in order to improve business performance and develop organizational culture that foster innovation, flexibility and competitive advantage. In an organisation SHRM means accepting and involving the HR function as a strategic partner in the formulation and implementation of the company’s strategies through HR activities such as recruiting, selecting, training and rewarding personnel.

How SHRM differs from HRM

In the last two decades there has been an increasing awareness that HR functions were like an island unto itself with softer people-centred values far away from the hard world of real business. In order to justify its own existence HR functions had to be seen as more intimately connected with the strategy and day to day running of the business side of the enterprise. Many writers in the late 1980s, started clamoring for a more strategic approach to the management of people than the standard practices of traditional management of people or industrial relations models. Strategic human resource management focuses on human resource programs with long-term objectives. Instead of focusing on internal human resource issues, the focus is on addressing and solving problems that effect people management programs in the long run and often globally. Therefore the primary goal of strategic human resources is to increase employee productivity by focusing on business obstacles that occur outside of human resources. The primary actions of a strategic human resource manager are to identify key HR areas where strategies can be implemented in the long run to improve the overall employee motivation and productivity. Communication between HR and top management of the company is vital as without active participation no cooperation is possible.

Key Features of Strategic Human Resource Management

The key features of SHRM are

There is an explicit linkage between HR policy and practices and overall organizational strategic aims and the organizational environment
There is some organizing schema linking individual HR interventions so that they are mutually supportive
Much of the responsibility for the management of human resources is devolved down the line

Trends in Strategic Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management professionals are increasingly faced with the issues of employee participation, human resource flow, performance management, reward systems and high commitment work systems in the context of globalization. Older solutions and recipes that worked in a local context do not work in an international context. Cross-cultural issues play a major role here. These are some of the major issues that HR professionals and top management involved in SHRM are grappling with in the first decade of the 21st century:

Internationalization of market integration.
Increased competition, which may not be local or even national through free market ideology
Rapid technological change.
New concepts of line and general management.
Constantly changing ownership and resultant corporate climates.
Cross-cultural issues
The economic gravity shifting from ‘developed’ to ‘developing’ countries

SHRM also reflects some of the main contemporary challenges faced by Human Resource Management: Aligning HR with core business strategy, demographic trends on employment and the labour market, integrating soft skills in HRD and finally Knowledge Management.

References

Armstrong, M (ed.) 192a) Strategies for Human Resource Management: A Total Business Approach. London:Kogan Page
Beer, M and Spector,B (eds) (1985) Readings in Human Resource Management. New York: Free Press
Boxall, P (1992) ‘Strategic Human Resource Management: Beginnings of a New Theoretical Sophistication?’ Human Resource Management Journal, Vol.2 No.3 Spring.
Fombrun, C.J., Tichy, N,M, and Devanna, M.A. (1984) Strategic Human Resource Management. New York:Wiley
Mintzberg, H, Quinn, J B, Ghoshal, S (198) The Strategy Process, Prentice Hall.
Truss, C and Gratton, L (1994) ‘Strategic Human Resource Management: A Conceptual Approach’, International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol.5 No.3

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