Strategic Human Resource Management is the practice of aligning business strategy with that of HR practices to achieve the strategic goals of the organization. The aim of SHRM (Strategic Human Resource Management) is to ensure that HR strategy is not a means but an end in itself as far as business objectives are concerned. The idea behind SHRM is that companies must fit their HR strategy within the framework of overall Business objectives and hence ensure that there is alignment between the HR practices and the strategic objectives of the organization.
With the advent of new economy industries like IT and the mushrooming of the service sector, organizations all over the world realized that human resources must be viewed as a source of competitive advantage as opposed to treating it much the same way in access to technology or capital is concerned. What this means is that the practice of HRM is being viewed as something that promotes the business objectives of the firms and not merely another factor in the way the firm is managed.
With the advent of todays economy where services account for a major share of the GDP and the fact that the service sector is essentially people centric, it is imperative that the people first approach be embraced by the organizations for sustainable business strategy. The practice of SHRM demands a proactive and hands on approach by the management as well as the HR department with regards to the entire gamut of activities ranging from staffing and training and development to mentoring and pay and performance management.
If we take real world examples, many organizations in recent times have dedicated people managers whose sole function is to look after the enabling and fulfilling needs of the resources. This is a marked change from treating people as just resources to treating people as assets. For instance, Infosys states that people are its assets and the famous statement by Mr. Narayana Murthy, one of the founders of the company that the capital of Infosys walks in every morning and walks out every evening has to be taken in this context.
Elaborating on this point, one finds that organizations tend to leverage upon the capabilities of the people employed there and ensuring that the human capital is nourished and nurtured as a source of competitive advantage. This translates into a dedicated HR department and people managers in every group dealing exclusively with employee issues as opposed to treating this as a line management function.
The times when management could arbitrarily dictate terms to the employees and tread upon their rights is something that is not relevant anymore. With the ballooning of the white collar workforce, it becomes necessary for organizations to pay more attention to the needs of the employees more than ever. Finally, the fact that organizations derive their strategy from employees instead of imposing strategy upon them is the essence of SHRM.