What Is Strategic Human Resource Management? (Plus Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Human resources (HR) oversees and organises team member functions within an organisation. HR teams can use strategic human resource management (SHRM) to develop plans for the future and implement HR programs to increase team member engagement, solve organisation problems and work toward organisation goals. If you're an HR representative or manager, learning more about strategic HR management can help you implement it with your team. In this article, we explain what SHRM is, detail why it's important, explore who can use it, provide the steps to using it and offer helpful tips for implementing it in your workplace.

What is strategic human resource management (SHRM)?

Strategic human resource management is a system for HR teams that allows them to align the workforce with the organisation's goals. Though human resources teams often manage tasks like hiring, monitoring compliance and creating benefits packages, SHRM expands the duties and scope of the HR team's focus. When a team uses SHRM, they consider the organisation's overall goals and how strategy within the HR department can help the organisation work towards them.

In this HR system, the team strives to be proactive rather than reactive. This means the HR team uses strategy to create plans for the future and predict potential difficulties before they happen. For example, rather than waiting until team members seek other positions for a better work environment, the HR team implements programs like flexible scheduling to improve the organisation culture and workplace atmosphere. This helps them boost retention and reduce turnover.

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Why is SHRM important?

SHRM is important because it's a type of HR management that allows organisations to be proactive and create better working environments for their team members. Using SHRM can help HR teams reduce hiring costs and improve the workforce's skill, talent and satisfaction. These are some of the key aspects that make SHRM important:

  • Talent development: SHRM allows HR professionals to predict the organisation's needs and develop current team members to meet them. The HR team can do this through training and continuing education opportunities.

  • Diversity and inclusion: More diverse workforces can have higher engagement and satisfaction rates. One benefit of SHRM is that it helps HR professionals ensure inclusion, diversity and equity in the workplace.

  • Risk management: Depending on the industry, staff may require training and certifications to be compliant with local regulations. Part of SHRM is the HR team reviewing regulations and implementing programs to provide proper training, improve compliance and reduce risk.

Related: Careers in Human Resources: Primary Duties and Average Salaries

Who uses SHRM?

Human resource managers are the primary individuals who use SHRM. A human resource manager is an HR professional who creates, develops and implements HR programs. These are some tasks an HR manager using SHRM may complete daily:

  • Assessing and improving team member performance

  • Creating competitive benefits and compensation packages

  • Evaluating competitor's hiring and retention strategies

  • Gathering data about the results of HR initiatives

  • Providing training for compliance and talent development

HR managers often provide guidance and leadership to other HR professionals. Strategic HR managers focus on organisation goals and current efforts to determine the best way to work towards meeting goals. These are some important HR manager skills:

  • Critical thinking: HR managers can use critical thinking skills to identify issues and implement solutions to problems.

  • Time management: A human resources manager can use time management to organise their calendars, schedule meetings and efficiently complete all their tasks.

  • Conflict resolution: An important part of an HR manager's responsibilities is helping team members resolve problems. Conflict resolution skills help the manager identify issues and mediate between parties.

Related: 9 Key Human Resource Processes for Success (With Tips)

How to use strategic human resource management

If you're an HR manager, SHRM may help you support your team members and further the organisation in meeting its goals. These are some steps you can follow to implement SHRM within your workplace:

1. Understand the organisation's goals

Try to gain a better understanding of the organisation's goals and values to decide which strategies you want to use. For example, if the organisation wants to improve employee work-life balance by allowing staff to take more time off, the HR department likely wants to find a solution for this without sacrificing the organisation's daily productivity. Understanding this goal allows you to start thinking about how to accomplish it.

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2. Evaluate the abilities of the human resources department

When planning HR strategies, it's important to consider the skills and limitations of the human resources department. Evaluate their abilities by taking surveys, monitoring production and asking for the opinions of management professionals within the HR department. This can help you consider what you may need to meet the organisation's goals. It's important to create a strategy that matches the HR department's abilities because, with the proper tools and skills, HR professionals can implement the strategy more effectively.

3. Compare the HR department's abilities and organisation goals

After performing an evaluation of the HR department's abilities, compare their abilities to the organisation's goals. This allows you to discover a strategy that the HR department can implement. For example, if some employees within the HR department can accept more responsibilities, it might be possible for the organisation to implement more employee review sessions led by the HR department.

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4. Identify the tools the HR department needs

Once you understand what you want to accomplish, consider what tools the HR department may need to implement the plan. This can include tools such as new technology, special office supplies and allotted time for organisation meetings. Ensuring that the HR professionals have all the resources they need to implement the organisation strategy is essential to the achievement of your plan.

5. Plan and implement a strategy

Try to finalise your plan by considering what tools you need and which professionals are responsible for implementing the change. If your plan may change the daily operations of the organisation, consider implementing your plan slowly or in stages. It may even be helpful to create a presentation or hold a meeting to discuss the changes with all the professionals who the management strategy may affect.

For example, if the organisation has a goal of hiring 30 new employees by the end of the year, management officials may decide to give each recruiter a new quota to hit each month for new hires. Management professionals might consider assigning a lower quota at the start to allow a smooth transition into this policy. This helps professionals work their way to their goals as the plan's implementation continues and fosters a positive and healthy work environment.

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6. Evaluate performance and develop corrective action

To ensure you're implementing SHRM properly, collect information about how each HR program affects the workforce. Consider sending out surveys to learn more about how programs affect team members. Assess answers each month to identify changes in satisfaction, engagement and productivity. If you don't notice a positive change, you can consider other methods for improving these values. This allows you to change your strategy and find the solutions that work best for your workplace.

Related: What is Human Resource Management? (With Jobs)

Tips for using human resource management

These are some helpful tips for using SHRM in your workplace:

  • Focus on organisation culture. Organisation culture is a measure of the goals, attitudes and values within an organisation. By strengthening the culture within the organisation, you can improve engagement and retention.

  • Concentrate on organisation objectives. If you're not sure which decision to make as an HR manager, it can be helpful to refer to the organisation's objectives. SHRM expands HR to focus on organisation growth, so referring to objectives can provide clarity when creating programs or choosing how to approach an issue.

  • Develop effective onboarding. Onboarding is the process a new hire goes through when joining the organisation. When using SHRM, you can develop effective onboarding to introduce new hires to the organisation culture and reduce turnover.

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