Strategic HR Management


  • An organization’s Strategy specifies the source of competitive advantage for the organization and how the company will differentiate itself in the marketplace.
  • The strategy delineates which products and markets the company will pursue and those it will NOT pursue. Strategy defines the company’s value proposition.
  • Strategy encompasses Vision and direction but it is not a statement of objectives which may be part of the execution of the Strategy.

Defining Strategy:

  • What is the Company’s unique formula for success?
  • How is value created?
  • What capabilities, organizational and human, are required to achieve this success?
  • What are the inevitable trade-offs that have to be made organizationally to support activities necessary for achievement of the strategy?
  • How will the HR Strategy support the business strategy?
  • Google’s Project Oxygen

    • Internal project to find out what the best managers at Google do to have high-performing teams.
    • Based on more than 10,000 observations about managers – across more than 100 variables, from various performance reviews, feedback surveys and other reports.
    • They then looked for some preliminary patterns in the data and formed hypotheses.
    • Next, they gathered additional data by systematically interviewing managers to test these hypotheses.
    • Finally, they analyzed these data and drew conclusions. The conclusions were summarized in ‘Google’s Rules’ which consists of a set of eight good behaviors which are operationalized in behavioral terms and three pitfalls of managers.
    • 8 good behaviors of managers

      1. Be a Coach
        • Give specific and constructive feedback on performance, with a balance between the good and the bad.
        • Have regular individual meetings with those you manage, identifying how employees’ can progress based on their strengths.
      2. Empowerment and Being There
        • Avoid micromanaging but be available for advice.
        • Provide freedom and stretch assignments to help your group tackle big stuff.
      3. Be Interested in your Employees
        • Show you care about people’s success and well-being.
        • Know what their whole lives consist of, not just their work lives.
        • Focus on integrating new team members well.
      4. 4. Be the Grown-up (or, as Google put it, “Don’t be a sissy”)
        • Be productive and results-oriented.

        5. Listen and Communicate
        • Listen to your team members and share information with them.
        • Hold team meetings; be clear about messages and the goals of the team.
        • Don’t hide the ball but connect dots for your team.
        • Encourage open dialogue and listen to your employees’ concerns and issues.

        6. Career Development
        • Help your people develop their careers.

        7. Strategy
        • Have a clear vision and strategy for your team and keep the team focused on goals and strategy.
        • Involve the team in setting the vision, the evolution of the vision and the progression towards it.

        8. Technical Chops
        • Understand the specific challenges your employees face.
        • When needed, roll up your sleeves and work side by side with the team.

        • 3 pitfalls of managers:
        1. Have trouble making a transition to the team
        • Sometimes fantastic individual contributors are promoted to managers without the necessary skills to lead people.
        • People hired from outside the organization don’t always understand the unique aspects of managing at your organization.
        2. Lack a consistent approach to performance management and career development
        • Don’t help employees understand how these work in the organization and doesn’t coach them on their options to develop and stretch.
        • Not proactive, waits for the employee to come to them.
        3. Spend too little time managing and communicating

        The Sustainable Management Organization Approach:
        • SMOs place an increased emphasis on Identity, which is part brand promise, part culture, part reputation, and part values.
        • SMOs create value in three domains: People, Planet and Profit.
        • Recognizing rapidly changing business environments and the need for adaptability, SMOs seek a series of momentary advantages.
        • In SMOs the process of “futuring” is a complement to the definition of a robust strategy.

        There are four human resource strategies commonly used by organizations characterized by the following employee types:
        1. Bargain Laborer: “job based”, “productivity”
        Emphasis on efficiency pattern of buying talent
        2. Loyal Soldier: “knowledge based”, “commitment”
        Emphasis on efficiency pattern of making talent
        3. Committed Expert: “partner”, “collaboration”
        Emphasis on distinctiveness pattern of making talent
        4. Free Agent: “contract based”, “compliance and performance”
        Emphasis on distinctiveness pattern of buying talent

        Alignment of HR and Business Strategy:
        • Successful Organizations are likely to have human resource practices / organizations that fit with their competitive business strategies.
        • Research suggests that organizations with a cost leadership competitive strategy excel when they follow a Loyal Soldier HR strategy.
        • Organizations with a differentiation competitive strategy excel when they use a Committed Expert strategy.
        • Sustainable Management Organizations (SMO) are replacing CCOs demonstrating agility, adaptability and innovation. A Free Agent strategy supports this approach.