Human Resources can be defined as the people operating in a company and the division within the company that manages human resources. In today's competitive environment, the role of human resource management is not restricted to certain administrative activities but has been stretched to some strategic role. The HR people must be more focused on adding value to the strategic enlargement of employees and ensuring that its programs are positively impacting them. There are certain business-level strategies like growth, retrenchment, and stability that must be aligned with the HR strategies to accomplish the mission of the company effectively.
Strategic HRM entails a future-focused procedure of developing and incorporating HR programs that talk and resolve the business issues and mainly add to key long term business goals. Today, their role has been changed and most of the HR managers are engaged in strategic decision making of the company and considers strategic planning to be the most essential part of their key responsibility to accomplish the goals (Jackson, Schuler & Jiang, 2014). This case study report discusses the positives and negatives aspects of acquisition as per the case study of Wordsmiths Company. Furthermore, it entails the resources at risk, processes followed at the company in respect of HR functions. It also discusses the recommendations to the company for decentralizing recruitment to store managers. Moreover, it recommends for improving the engagement of workers in these stores.
The Wordsmiths Company has decided to procure Mainly Books Company who has been experiencing financial losses for many years. There are positives as well as negatives aspects of acquisition from the HR perspectives. Gemma, HR manager of the Wordsmith Company, sees that acquiring mainly books will be the opportunity to determine the capacity of HR to engage in the company at the strategic level. It is a fact that human resources division can play an essential role in the procedure of acquisition between two organizations. The HR department acts as a reliable counselor to the workers of the company along with the administration who aim to acquire another company. There are mentioned certain aspects below based on which positives and negatives of acquisition can be analyzed from an HR perspective:
Workplace flexibility: It is the policy of the talent management of the HR department that is a vital practice enabling companies to attract and develop skillful talent. Gemma at Wordsmith is considering this to be a positive thing as she gets an opportunity to make strategies for people's welfare in regards to their flexible shift hours and thinks that full-time employees must be reduced to ensure the workplace flexibility (Coenen & Kok, 2014).
Structure of the HR department: The role of the HR department has to change after the acquisition of two companies. The HR department of the acquiring company must think somehow strategically about the concerns like downsizing of existing employees of the acquired company, decreasing the reliance on the full-time workers, novel roles to define, novel candidates to hire, incorporation of information of Mainly books into the current human resource information management system of the Wordsmiths. These are all the concerns and issues that are faced by Gemma as HR.
Consistency: Although, numerous challenges are facing the HR department after acquisition happened between two companies. Therefore, it will take to bring consistency in the organization as there are many differences in the methods of managing the HR issues and processed by the companies namely mainly books, and Wordsmiths. The main books company does have a separate HR department and also not have the human resource information management system. However, the Wordsmiths have a smooth HR department and associated systems to handle the issues.
The RBT (Resource-based theory) states that ownership of strategic resources offers a company with an excellent chance to advance competitive advantages over its competitors. This further helps the organizations to enjoy higher profits. The wordsmith's company must choose the strategic resources that follow the VRIO criteria means who are valuable, rare, difficult to imitate, and non-substitutable. Moreover, the resource-based view of the company has impacted the field of the SHRM (strategic human resource management) in numerous manners. It can be argued that the development of human resources using the RBV will surely offer to company the required internal competencies that will further allow them to compete constructively in the external environment.
Moreover, this approach helps the HR managers to energy forward the idea that people are certainly the main basis of competitive advantage for their particular companies. Keeping this approach in mind, the wordsmith's company must consider those resources that can lead to bringing a competitive advantage to the company. The company must abolish those positions from itself that are approaching the retirement age and would be redundant. On the other hand, the company must retain those workers who are efficient and can actively take part in the strategic decision making of the company. It must basically consider the young and enthusiastic culture that can help in gaining from acquisition (Kaufman, 2015).
There are mainly three approaches for strategic human resource management namely Universalist, configurationally, and contingency approach. The Universalist approach is also known as the best practices approach and it says that there are best practices available for a wide range of HR problems like selection, training, recruitment, and more irrespective of the nature of exclusive aspects of the company. Furthermore, the contingent approach relates to the best-fit approach and it says that human resource management must be reliable with other aspects of the organizational policies. Moreover, it states that the HR policies that are not in synchronization with the corporate policies create ambiguity and results in the minimized performance of the employees and the company itself (Mayegle & Nguidjol, 2017).
In my opinion, the wordsmith’s HR management processes followed more of a Contingency approach since Gemma, the HR manager at wordsmiths, and her team tried their best to raise the position of the human resource from being a morally managerial function to being an intentional function. Moreover, they have overcome certain issues regarding HR activities like recruitment, staff management, and making a track of worker’s powers. Moreover, the HR manager Gemma was much concerned about the issues coming after the acquisition of books and wants to get them resolved as earlier as possible. Therefore, all these incidents show that the Human resource department at wordsmith is following more of a best-fit approach means the contingency approach. The contingency approach proposes that human resource practices can positively affect performance when aligned with business strategy. The usual assumptions for this approach are that the company that has the best fit gets the best consequences. Further, it is assumed that the external fit of a particular approach and practices of HR management enables the company to improve and enhance its performance (Jery & Souai, 2014).
It would be highly recommended that Wordsmith should adopt the centralized human resource system and must not adopt the devolving system mainly of the books company since the decentralization approach has numerous disadvantages. It is a fact that a centralized HR department functions more effectively and efficiently. The decentralized system is less dependable oversight on lawful processes in recruiting and observing wicked behavior that might result in judgment. In this approach, the store managers are keen to take on the responsibilities of human resource however; they are ineffective in completing those accountabilities and delivering value suitably (Ponsteen & Kusters, 2015). To be specific, a gap has been recognized between adopted and endorsed human resource practices. The adopted practices are made by the company to engage in the attainment of the corporate strategy and the endorsed practices are much dissimilar from the proposed one.
This is recommended for the company due to the more strategic role to be required for today's HR functioning in the organization. Furthermore, it can be identified from the case study that mainly Books Company does not have any centralized human resource department and also not have the human resource information management system to maintain the records of the data pertaining to employees and their entitlements. These were creating numerous issues to the company in terms of managing the human resource activities effectively. Moreover, it would be suggested that all the functions of the human resource management of the company ranging from the selection of candidates to providing them with suitable training and development must remain under the control of the centralized human resource department.
Downsizing can indeed impact the morale of the workers, they may feel deceived. They may have the fear of insecurity, job loss, low levels of faith in the company, resentment, and more. It has been analyzed from the case study that there will be certain negative opinions mainly in the book outlets following a downsizing process. However, numerous strategies would help Wordsmiths Company to improve the engagement of employees in these stores. It is recommended that Wordsmiths Company must adopt a more concentrated corporate method to improve employee commitment using certain measures like the creation of a commitment board. Furthermore, it would be suggested that the company must implement employee involvement programs to enable commitment like the company can include in health and safety to confirm employees become involved in the safety sides of their work and hence enabling improvements.
Additionally, it is recommended that the company must put its efforts on the team-building that would be much helpful in keeping the employees in the tasks assigned to them and can make positive relations with one another. The company must understand the importance of teamwork and how it leads to encouraging creative problem-solving strategy for the business. Further, the company must adopt a policy of open communication where anyone can raise his concern and can actively take part in the decision making of the company. They must be provided with engagement awareness training for all the stages of direction and administration and elucidate the importance of engagement and its benefits. Wordsmith needs to establish a sense of trust between workers and the management for retaining them after downsizing activity. Further, it must make strategies and policies for supporting work-life balance that is appreciated by the workers (Mujtaba & Senathip, 2020).
The promptly growing risk of the global pandemic COVID 19 is indeed impacting the business and the shareholder community all over the globe. Further, it is posing the risk of disorder of worldwide supply chains that can result in momentous loss of income and unfavorably impact worldwide nations (Simbolon & Riyanto, 2020). Change management is one of the most critical victory factors for any business in the current ever-fluctuating world. The change management strategies that must be adopted by a company like a wordsmith in this period of the global pandemic are as follows:
The company must lead and inspire workers through robust leadership movements. The leaders need to align their method with their activities in taking the company through the crisis. Moreover, while leading employees, they must show a sense of empathy to workers, are skilled, perform decision actions, and grabbing the story in the best manner.
Maintaining healthy relations with the other parties and managing employees by supporting them by keeping engaging them in activities.
Communicate constantly with the employees in this period must be the policy of HR of wordsmith company so that they can feel motivated (Keep & Storey, 2014).
From the above case study report for the wordsmith organization, it can be concluded that Gemma who is the HR manager of the Wordsmith Company sees that to acquire mainly books will be the opportunity to determine the capacity of HR to engage in the company at the strategic level. Furthermore, Gemma considers workplace flexibility to be a positive sign for her department with the acquisition of mainly Books Company. However, numerous challenges and issues are facing Gemma in terms of HR structure. These challenges are downsizing of existing employees of the acquired company, decreasing the dependence on the full-time workers, novel roles to define, novel candidates to hire, incorporation of information mainly of books into the existing human resource information management system of the Wordsmiths. Moreover, it can be inferred that The wordsmiths' company must choose the strategic resources who follow the VRIO criteria means who are valuable, rare, difficult to imitate, and non-substitutable.
Keeping this approach in mind, the wordsmith's company must consider those resources that can lead to bringing a competitive advantage to the company. Further, it is concluded that the wordsmith's HR management processes followed more of a Contingency approach since Gemma, the HR manager at wordsmiths, and her team tried their best to raise the status of the human resource from being a purely administrative function to being a strategic function. It is recommended to the company that it should adopt the centralized human resource system and must not adopt the devolving system mainly of the books company since the decentralization approach has numerous disadvantages. It is recommended that Wordsmiths Company must adopt a more concentrated corporate method to improve employee commitment using certain measures like the creation of a commitment board. Further, change management strategies are best in the period of a global pandemic that can help companies like wordsmith to thrive.
Coenen, M., & Kok, R. A. (2014). Workplace flexibility and new product development performance: The role of telework and flexible work schedules. European Management Journal, 32(4), 564-576.
Jackson, S. E., Schuler, R. S., & Jiang, K. (2014). An aspirational framework for strategic human resource management. The Academy of Management Annals, 8(1), 1-56.
Jery, H., & Souai, S. (2014). Strategic human resource management and performance: the contingency approach case of Tunisia. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 4(6), 282-291.
Kaufman, B. E. (2015). The RBV theory foundation of strategic HRM: critical flaws, problems for research and practice, and an alternative economics paradigm. Human Resource Management Journal, 25(4), 516-540.
Keep, E., & Storey, J. (2014). Corporate training strategies: the vital component. Storey, J.‘New Perspectives on Human Resource Management (Routledge Revivals)’Routledge: London, 109-125.
Mayegle, F. X., & Nguidjol, S. N. (2017). Determinants of Choice of Management Control System in Cameroonian SMEs: A Contingency Approach. Journal of Management and Strategy, 8(2), 25-42.
Mujtaba, B. G., & Senathip, T. (2020). Layoffs and Downsizing Implications for the Leadership Role of Human Resources. Journal of Service Science and Management, 13(02), 209.
Ponsteen, A., & Kusters, R. J. (2015). Classification of human and automated resource allocation approaches in multi-project management. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 194, 165-173.
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