Despite much debate about the need to become more strategic, many HR practitioners, while understanding the need to do so, seem not to know how to do so, or are still allowing themselves to be stifled by operational matters which hinder their ability to move into a strategic role.
Discuss how Edcon has managed to align their HR function to a strategic level.
A definition of strategic HR management is the design and implementation of a set of internally consistent practices that ensure an organization’s human capital contributes to the achievement of its business objectives (Huselid, Jackson, & Schuler, 1997) HR is about people, and people make or break an organization. As such, having HR involved at strategic level can only but benefit an organization, given the fact that HR holds or controls the most critical organizational resource. Many organizations have brilliant strategic plans but fail on execution. This, I believe, is a direct result of bad alignment of HR.
One critical fact that must be recognized about EDCON is that, as expressed on the case study, Dr Urin Ferndale managed to sit in the management team, which introduced initiatives that brought it success. The team included Mark Bower, group services chief executive, Steve Binnie, group financial director, Dr Urin Ferndale, group human resources director, and Jon Spotts, department stores chief executive. (edcon case study). This in essence means that someone in EDCON, presumably Dr Urin Ferndale, managed to change the general organization perception that normally exists of HR being viewed as an administrative department. Whilst it is important that HR maintains a strong administrative foundation, it is even more important that HR get a seat that the management/strategy table. This is because strategy on its own is almost always worthless as for it to be useful, it has to be coupled with execution and execution only comes if HR is aligned in the strategy/management...