Strategically Reactive and Strategically Proactive Human Resource Management

1826 Words Nov 27th, 2008 8 Pages
Over time the importance of the value of human resources (HR) to its firm has increased. The management of human resources went from being operational to strategic, which are the two levels of HR, and from reactive to proactive. The HR field may organize its thinking about the past, present, and future around the framework that results from the combination of both proactive and reactive HR. Operational HR activities generally refer to the routing, day-to-day delivery of HR basics. The strategic level of HR activity is more difficult to explain and involves five criteria:

• Long term-whether the activity would add value in the distant future as opposed to the near future.
• Comprehensive-whether the activity involves the entire
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This is shown below in Figure 1.

Strategic Partner Change Agent

Administrative Expert Employee Champion


Human resources are no longer being looked at as costs or liabilities but as assets to the organization that can not be easily duplicated and as a result is a source of competitive advantage. Business conditions now demands greater competitive advantage from HR agendas and processes. HR needs to contribute strategic value against criteria from customer and capital markets and can do this by either being reactive or proactive. In its strategically reactive mode, HR assumes the existence of a business strategy and adds value by linking HR practices to the business strategy and by managing change. In its strategically proactive mode, HR creates competitive advantage by developing and encouraging cultures of creativity and innovation, by facilitating mergers and acquisitions, and by linking internal processes and structures with ongoing changes in the marketplace.

The avenues via which HR reactively and proactively add strategic value to an organization is different. There are three avenues through which strategic HR is reactive. The first is that HR must support the execution of tactics that drive the long term strategies. The presence of a

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