Strategic Human Resource Management Approaches and Practices of IBM

1.0. Introduction of the Company

Headquartered in Armonk, New York, USA, IBM is a multinational company operating in the technology and consulting industry. The company manufactures and sells computer hardware and software. It also offers infrastructure, consulting, and hosting services. Its IT consultancy involves consulting in nanotechnology and mainframe computers. IBM was ranked position 2 in 2012 by Fortune in terms of number of employees, with a total of 435,000 employees by 2012 (IBM, 2012). Therefore, the company’s Human Resource Management has a big task of managing such a big number of employees in different parts of the world where cultures national and regional cultures differ. The company was also ranked as number 9 Company in terms of profits and number 1 for leaders. This indicates that the leadership of the company manages its employees effectively to achieve its objectives including profitability. IBM also has 12 research laboratories in different parts of the world which enable the company to provide the best products and services. The company has also broken the record of generating the most patents which were provided in a 20-year consecutive period. Owing to its successful HRM practices, the company’s employees have won several awards including five Nobel prices, ten national medals of technology and six Turing awards.

This essay applies Strategic Human Resources best practices to IBM. It identifies the most important practices that should be applied in IBM as: employee selection, training and development, and performance management. If these best practices of strategic human resource management are applied in stage by stage or step by step style, the company will achieve better results from its employees. This report will focus on marketing department of the company, i.e., how a marketing manager can be selected, trained and appraised for correct compensation.

2.0. SHRM Practice 1: Employee Selection

In order to get the best personnel in the marketing department who can lead marketing operations to meet the strategic objectives of the company, the Human Resource Manager of the company should select appropriate person who matches the needs skills needed in order to achieve the marketing objectives and the overall strategic objectives of the company. Employee selection is a strategic human resource practice that should be implemented in multiple steps in order to satisfy the staffing needs of the organisation. Needs of the organisation can be met by recruiting people externally or from within the organisation.

2.1. Implementation of Employee Selection in IBM

The first step to be followed in the selection of a marketing manager in IBM is to identify the need for human resource plan. In this case, the human resource mangers identify a vacant position that needs to be filled in order to meet the strategic needs of the organisation.

Once the need has been identified, the next step is to draw a person-specification and job description. The job description should include what is required of the person filling the vacancy, in terms of roles and responsibilities involved in the position (Hunt & Boxall, 1998). The roles and responsibilities included in a job description for a marketing manager may include: recording sales, organizing marketing and sales representatives, setting sales targets, coordinating marketing activities and giving directions towards the achievement of marketing objectives. These roles and responsibilities set the platform upon which disciplinary action can be taken in future. IBM and its employees should understand these roles and responsibilities well. A person specification provides the details of the vacancy in terms of the skills, aptitudes, qualifications and attitudes that the organisation considers necessary to carry out the job responsibilities. For example, a marketing manager in IBM should have a minimum qualification of Master’s degree in marketing, effective communication skills, good leadership skills, good organisational skills, and basic computer knowledge.

The third step of the selection process is to advertise the vacancy or job position identified. If the staffing need can be met from existing staff resources by retraining or redeployment, then the company should advertise the vacancy internally. On the other hand, if the need cannot be met using the existing staff then the company should advertise the vacancy externally using the internet, company website, recruitment agencies or the print media. If no suitable applicants respond to the advertisement on time, then the company should re-advertise the job again. However, if suitable applicants are found, the recruitment process goes to the next step.

In the fourth step, the suitable applicants should be shortlisted for an interview and requested to bring their original documents during the interview. In the interview, the HR manager should look for qualities specified in the person specification and confirm the qualities specified in the CV and application form using a series of questions. A series of tests and interviews should be carried out until the right candidate is identified for the job. If there is no suitable applicant is found after the interviews and tests, then the job vacancy should be re-advertised again. If the applicant is found, the selection process goes to the final stage.

In the last step, the best applicant is appointed and given an orientation of the job. He/she should be made familiar with the job and taken around to familiarize with the work environment and interact with workmates (Hunt & Boxall, 1998). He/she should be taken through the roles and responsibilities again to prepare him/her for the job. Furthermore, the training process should begin immediately after the applicant is appointed to take over the vacant position.

2.2. How the Organisation benefits and adds value

If the selection process is carried out effectively, the company will benefit from it and will add value to the company. First, the company will benefit by matching vacant positions with the best knowledge and skills from the selected staff (Greer & Greer, 2001). This leads to higher workplace performance and productivity of the company because the knowledge and skills will be used to innovate and create new products, carry out specific tasks successfully, and meet the needs of customers effectively. The selection of the best person for the job also enhances good teamwork at the workplace because the new person will bring in new ideas to teams within the organisation. This leads to greater value at the workplace.

The selection process is also an important element of talent management in the organisation which ensures that the company gets the right talent needed to implement its strategies. In the case of the marketing manager, IBM uses the selection process to recruit an effective sales manager to set marketing objectives and alien them with the overall strategic objectives of the company.

The selection process also brings in the needed experience and common-sense to carry out tasks successfully at the workplace. Sometimes it is difficult to determine the kind of experience needed to carry out specific tasks. However, with an appropriate recruitment process it is possible to identify the best experienced person. The selection process also enables the company to identify a candidate who has good attitude and interest towards the available vacancy in order to carry out assigned tasks passionately and add value to the company.

3.0. SHRM Practice 2: Training and Development

Training and development is a company-wide professional approach of planning, recording, monitoring and evaluating staff in order to ensure that they can meet the staffing needs of the organisation (Lundy & Cowling, 1996). Training and development should be carried out throughout the company and should reflect the changing needs of the company.

3.1. Explanation and Elaboration of the Practice

The first step in training and development of employees is to assess the development and training needs of the organisation. In this case, the HR management should identify the areas of the organisation that need additional knowledge and skills that are lacking in the organisation. The HRM also identifies the strategic needs of the organisation in order to train and develop employees according to the needs (Kaše & Zupan, 2009). This assessment of training and development needs should be objective in order to achieve the training and development objectives. The company should also develop clear objectives and policy of staff training.

Secondly, the business should plan for the training and development carefully because training involves passing of information which may not be absorbed sufficiently by learners in a short period of time. The development plan should be prepared to cover a specific period of time, and should include the human resources required to implement the development plan as well as the cost structure that will include the budget of the training and development process.

The next step is to choose the right methods of development and training. External courses and training opportunities should be considered and linked to the education system (Tyson & Tyson, 2006). The company should then identify the right people who need to be trained. The training should focus on those people who are not active in the workforce such as ethnic minorities and older members of the community.

The training should then begin using the chosen training and development methods. This should occur in form of workshops, focus groups, discussions, conferences, etc. During the progress of the training and development, IBM should review and evaluate the training and development process to ensure that the process is effective.

3.2. Why and How should the organisation benefit from Training and Development

Training and development is important to the company because it ensures that the right knowledge and skills are developed to meet the changing needs of the company and its customers. Improved knowledge and skills through training and development also leads to better creativity, innovation and development of new products that can add value to the company and its stakeholders (Mullins, 2002). Training and development may also lead the marketing manager to develop the skills required to provide customers with good services and retain them. Training also enables the workforce to adapt to the changing environmental conditions including improving technology and increased needs for competitive strategies.

These benefits can be achieved by ensuring that everyone in the organisation is involved in the training and development within the organisation (Mullins, 2002). All members should be involved in the achievement of the company’s goals. Evaluation of the company should also involve the measurement of the outcome of training against the set objectives or measurable factors.

4.0. SHRM Practice 3: Performance Management

Performance management should be a key focus in strategic human resource management of IBM. This is because it is a good way of getting better results from the company and its workforce (Mullins, 2002). It involves understanding and managing performance against pre-set goals and development requirements.

4.1. Explanation and Elaboration of Performance Appraisal

The performance measurement should start with objective setting, and then measuring the performance of each employee against the set objective (Analoui, 2007). Constant monitoring and evaluation should be carried out regularly in order to determine whether the employees are performing according to the required standards. Where the performance is not satisfactory, the employee is trained and encouraged to improve. Where the performance meets the expectations, then the employee is rewarded for the good performance.

The next step of performance management is performance appraisal which should be held annually to get and give feedback to the employee about his performance (Mello, 2002). In IBM, the type of appraisal that should be considered is supervisory appraisal whereby the immediate line manager carries out the appraisal on a subordinate or junior staff.

4.2. Benefits and Value addition of Performance Appraisal

Appraisal will determine the amount of compensation that the employee deserves, as well as the type of changes and training needs required to improve the performance of employees. Performance management also ensures that the company aligns the performance of each employee with the overall corporate goals and strategy of the organisation (Mello, 2002). Measuring how the work is done also leads to the identification of staffing needs of the organisation so that the organisation may select appropriate employees when needed. Furthermore, performance measurement determines the level of performance by employees so that the HR management can develop appropriate motivation strategies to improve employee’s performance.

5.0. Conclusion

In conclusion, IBM should combine the three SHRM practices in order to progress in the next five years. First, selection of employees should be carried out through the required steps in order to ensure that the company recruits qualified candidates who meet the staffing needs of the organisation and help the organisation to achieve its goals and objectives. Secondly, training and development of employees should be carried out regularly through the involvement of all members of the organisation in order to develop the right knowledge and skills needed to adapt to the changing staffing needs and work environment of the organisation. Lastly, performance measurement should be carried out by the company through monitoring and evaluation as well as supervisory appraisal. This will lead to improvements and effective motivation and rewards for teams and individuals within the company’s workforce.

References list

Analoui, F 2007, Strategic human resource management, Thomson, London.

Greer, CR & Greer, C 2001, Strategic human resource management, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle             River, N.J.

Hunt, J & Boxall, P 1998, “Are top human resource specialists “strategic partners”? Self-  perceptions of corporate elite”, The International Journal of Human Resource        Management, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 767-781.

IBM 2012, Annual Report, IBM, New York.

Kaše, R & Zupan, N, 2009, “Human capital and structural position in knowledge networks as determinants when classifying employee groups for strategic human resource       management purposes”, European Journal of International Management, vol. 3, no. 4,    pp. 478-494.

Lundy, O, & Cowling, AG 1996, Strategic human resource management, Routledge, London.

Mello, J.A. (2002). Strategic human resource management. Australia: South-Western College       Pub.

Mullins, LJ 2002, Management and organisational behaviour, Financial Times Prentice Hall,         Harlow.

Tyson, S & Tyson, S 2006 Essentials of human resource management, Butterworth-          Heinemann, Oxford.

Zupan, N & Kaše, R 2005, “Strategic human resource management in European transition             economies: Building a conceptual model on the case of Slovenia”, The International     Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 16, no. 6, pp. 882-906.

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