Strategic Human Resource Management

Question:

Write an essay on Strategic human resource management.

Answer:

Strategic human resource management (SHRM) focuses on integrating the human resources functions conducted by an organisation with the strategic objectives and performances of the firm. The incorporation of SHRM rightly helps in enhancing the effectiveness and efficacy of conducting the human resources functions related to recruitment, training and performance appraisal in potentially addressing the strategic objectives of the organisation (Cascio & Boudreau, 2012). 

Overview of Walmart

Walmart formed by Sam Walton operates as a global retailer offering a range of products and services to its customers through the services generated by around 2.3 million sales and customer servicing staffs operating on a global basis. During the current period, 2016 the retail institution recorded a total amount of sales revenue for around $482.1 billion (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2016). 

Importance of SHRM in Walmart 

SHRM practices reflect needed importance relating to the organisational practices at Walmart. The internal people at Walmart continuously focus on reducing the operational and business cost of the firm and thereby in transferring the savings to the customers in terms of affordable product offerings. Further, the management of Walmart focuses on enhancing the productivity and skills of its internal workforce based on the development of training programs. The management also focuses on encouraging the team members to work in teams which along with its focus on development of training programs enhance the accountability and responsibility of the staffs in providing quality customer services. Existence of an entrepreneurial organisational culture with also the presence of a diverse workforce involving people from different sectors with potential experiences contributes in the generation of effective solutions to business problems. The management of Walmart increasingly focus on policies related to employee engagement and empowerment in that the same contributes in encouraging employee at different levels to take part in key business decisions. This helps in enhancing the accountability and commitment of the organisational members (Bergdahl, 2010). 

Purpose of SHRM activities in Walmart 

Walmart continually focuses on recruiting fresh blood in the organisation and in training them to fulfil organisational responsibilities. The above function helps Walmart in gaining access to an effective pool of human resources that contribute in potentially carrying out its retail business and customer servicing functions. The management of Walmart also focuses on enhancement of internal communication channels in that the same contributes in gaining of effective feedback and suggestions regarding employment and business decisions undertaken by the concern. Walmart also focuses on recruiting people from local regions in that the same would help the company management in understanding the needs and expectations of the local consumers and thereby in customising product and service offerings. Walmart’s management potentially focuses on retaining talented and effective employees in the organisation in that the same contributes in reducing the employment and training costs for the business institution. Further, the training programs at Walmart focus on the development of a technology savvy workforce that would help in generating quality customer services. The performance evaluations of the internal members are carried out in a regular fashion for enhancing their competencies in meeting revenue, margin and customer servicing targets. Further, effective compensation and incentive schemes are developed by the Walmart’s management for potentially motivating its organisational members in fulfilling organisational objectives (Thompson, 2016). 

Contribution of SHRM in achieving Organisational Objectives 

The human resources management functions of Walmart are strategically designed for helping in enhancing the performance potential of the internal people such that the same contributes in meeting the sales and customer servicing objectives of the retail institution. The human resources planning functions are conducted by Walmart’s management for ensuring a steady workforce. Further, the job analysis and design functions are carried out by Walmart’s management based on identifying the different outcomes that are expected to amount from a particular task. It thereby helps the company management in underlying the specific skills and attributes that are required to be held by staffs pertaining to different levels and departments. The same helps in enhancing the effectiveness of recruitment and performance appraisal measures (Thompson, Walmart’s HRM: HR Planning, Job Analysis & Design, 2015). 

Factors Underpinning HRP in Walmart 

Different factors like the demand for skilled and productive employees, changes in consumer demands, use of technological applications in generation of effective customer services, cost of recruitment and employment of new employees and also the matching of employees with the internal work culture of the firm potentially govern the human resources planning policies of Walmart. Walmart focuses on the recruitment of skilled labour forces based on paying visits to job fairs, management educational campuses and also through the development of internships programs that contribute in attracting an effective and potential pool of candidates to the firm. The company also focuses of filling the higher positions in terms of promoting employees from lower levels in the organisation. The process of promoting internal people to higher positions in the organisation potentially helps Walmart in absorbing people in the internal organisational culture. The above process contributes in effectively planning the demand for human resources along different organisational departments and levels (Walmart , 2015). 

Assessing Human Resource Requirements 

The human resources or personnel requirements in Walmart are evaluated based on identification the different job requirements for the diverse organisational roles and thereby in recruiting needed manpower for effectively fulfilling the operational and task related objectives of the organisation. The personnel are recruited and appointed in the organisation in a fashion such that each of the different individuals gain needed opportunity and scope for working in an innovative and empowered manner for meeting the departmental and organisational objectives in an effective manner (Walmart Stores Inc. , 2016). Personnel requirements are generated in a continuous fashion in Walmart based on the development of new job roles regarding different departments like distribution centres, retail outlets, clubs and also the corporate and regional offices of the company (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2016). 

Development of a Human Resources Plan

The human resources planning in Walmart is essentially carried out based along three main dimensions that are reflected as follows. Different techniques like the bottom-up approach, trend analysis and also the Delphi method are incorporated by Walmart relating to its human resources planning activities. In terms of the bottom-up approach, the management of Walmart essentially focuses on evaluating the human resources needs along different levels in the business institution right from bottom to the top. Evaluation and planning of human resources needs for the lower levels in the organisation contributes in also fulfilling the personnel requirements for the higher organisational levels (Thompson, Walmart: Human Resource Management, 2016). The use of the above technique rightly contributes in meeting the manpower needs of the organisation as a whole. The use of the trend analysis method or technique is incorporated by Walmart’s management for planning of human resources needs of the organisation based on the external demand for manpower needs. Planning for a larger workforce in the near future requires Walmart to effectively focus for recruiting and appointing larger number of personnel along department organisational levels and departments. Finally, the Delphi method is also incorporated by Walmart for planning of human resources for meeting specific brand and product objectives of the organisation. The use of the Delphi method requires Walmart’s management in estimating and forecasting manpower requirements for effectively meeting the demand of different job types concerning supply chain, inventory and also for the sales department (Thompson, Walmart’s HRM: HR Planning, Job Analysis & Design, 2015). 

Critical Evaluation of a Human Resources Plan

Purpose of HRM Policies in Walmart 

The purpose of HRM policies at Walmart essentially focus on recruiting and retaining of skilled manpower that contributes in meeting the departmental and organisational objectives. Further, the organisation also focuses o the development of effective training programs that help in matching the skill sets of the employees with the organisational culture. HRM policies of the retail firm are also designed for effectively attracting and integrating workforce from different internal regions and also having varied qualification and experiences. The inclusion of a diverse workforce in the organisation potentially helps Walmart in understanding the expectations and needs of diverse consumer groups and thereby focusing on the generation of product and service offerings in a customised fashion (Thompson, Walmart: Human Resource Management, 2016). 

Impact of Regulatory Requirements on HRM Policies

The employment regulation of different regions where Walmart has generated its branches tends to potentially govern the human resources policies of business organisations like Walmart. Different statutes associated with compensation, health and wellbeing and also the generation of effective working conditions for encouraging the staffs to operate in a safe fashion potentially govern the employment conditions generated by retail institutions like Walmart Inc. both along its home country, United States and also along any other foreign country where Walmart had set up its branches. The regulatory requirements also underline the basic premises that are required to be effectively followed by the retail institutions for potentially employing an effective workforce. Similarly, the multinational organisations like Walmart Inc. are also required to potentially abide by the international legislations and regulations concerning the conducting of retail operations and also in employing expatriates for conducting of retail operations. The passing of legislation concerning minimum wages in United States required Walmart for adjusting the base salaries in a large number of stores based along different locations. The company management of Walmart expects that the generation of new compensation guidelines requires them for formulating new compensation plans for employees operating across varied levels in the institution. Further, the management of Walmart is also focusing on reducing the gaps in compensation for general and higher paid categories constituted by skilled and professional members (Layne, 2014). 

Impact of Organisational Structure on Management of Human Resources

Walmart operates based on an integration of two types of organisational structures viz. hierarchy based and functional organisational structure. In terms of operating based on the vertical organisational structure the higher authority in the retail institution contributes in generation of directives and commands to the subordinate staffs for operating in an effective fashion in meeting the departmental and business objectives. The directives and mandates generated by the higher authority are percolated to the subordinates through the involvement of the middle level or first line managers in Walmart. The functional or hybrid organisational structure on the other hand focus on dividing the holistic organisational objectives and functions amidst different departments or functional units like marketing, retailing, warehousing, human resources and customer servicing. The generation of a functional or hybrid organisational structure contributes in effective monitoring of the personnel functions conducted by the staffs along the different departments. The monitoring of the functions conducted by the employees relating to the different functional units or departments potentially contributes in enhancing the productivity of the departments and the organisation as a whole. Further the generation of a hybrid organisational structure also contributes in generation of needed flexibility related to the organisational functioning. It helps in allocating specific job roles and tasks to the organisational members and thus contributes in enhancing the level of specialisation and productivity of the different members (Lombardo, 2015). 

Impact of Organisational Culture on Management of Human Resources

The organisational culture of Walmart reflects the incorporation of the following parameters like generation of effective services to customers, increase of mutual respect for both the internal and external people, striving for the reflection of needed excellence relating to the customer services and operations conducted and also in acting with needed integrity for meeting the business, customer servicing and organisational objectives. The management of Walmart potentially focuses on the development of training modules for generation of effective training to the internal people such that the same potentially helps in enhancing the skill base of the staffs for meeting of business objectives. In terms of integrity the organisation strongly focuses on encouraging the team members to work in an honest and unbiased fashion in terms of taking business decisions and also in fulfilling the responsibilities and duties of the firm. The focus on enhancing the personal productivity of the organisational staffs in turn contributes in promoting productivity for the firm as a whole (Lombardo, 2015). 

Effectiveness of HRM in an Organisation

The effectiveness of the HRM functions relating to Walmart can be effectively analysed based on its training functions. The training programs are designed by Walmart to enhance the potential and effectiveness of its organisational members in handling the diverse set of organisational tasks in a productive and efficient manner. Further, the training programs are also developed by Walmart in a fashion as to enhance the level of flexibility of the organisational members for countering the changes in the retail, regulatory and technological environment in an efficient fashion. Further, the management of Walmart also focuses on generation of effective training to its members to work in a cost effective fashion for enhancing the dimensions of efficiency and productivity. Similarly, the performance evaluation and appraisal practices are carried out in the firm based along three main aspects like customer servicing functions, decision making and performance oriented and also the analysis and problem-solving potentials of the staffs. The appraisal functions related to customer servicing potentials of its staff members contribute in enhancing the potentiality of the internal members for generation of enhanced customer services driving needed customer satisfaction. Again, assessment of the staffs based on their decision-making and problem-solving potentials contribute in the generation of potential feedbacks that in turn enhance their ability and competence for contributing in planning activities in an effective fashion (Thompson, Walmart’s HRM: Training, Performance Management, 2015). 

The recruiting functions of Walmart increasingly focus on hiring and selecting people that reflect potential capabilities for operating in a global multinational retail environment involving a diverse workforce. The use of an online recruiting platform helps Walmart in reaching a larger platform for recruiting potential people in meeting the organisational responsibilities of the retail firm. Walmart also focuses on designing an effective compensation strategy based on incorporation of effective pay packages with needed incentives for encouraging the members to generate greater productivity and performance. Effective feedback is generated to the staffs for enhancing the performance potentials in the long run (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2016). 

Recommendations for Improving the Effectiveness of HRM 

The development of internal social networking platforms inside the organisation can effectively encourage the organisational members relating to different departments and levels for generation of effective suggestions and feedbacks to the higher authorities regarding the decisions taken by them for improvement of business and organisational functions. Likewise the use of the internal social networking platforms would also help the higher authorities communicate potential information and guidelines to the staffs and also generate needed productivity for enhancing the personal and group potentials of the staffs.

References 

Bergdahl, M. (2010, September 21). How the HR division at Wal-Mart drives the company’s success through people. Retrieved August 29, 2016, from http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/how-the-hr-division-at-wal-mart-drives-the-companys-success-through-people

Cascio, W. F., & Boudreau, J. W. (2012). Short Introduction to Strategic Human Resource Management. United Kingdom : Cambridge University Press.

Layne, N. (2014, December 24). New Minimum Wage Laws Will Force Walmart To Hike Wages At Over 1,000 Stores. Retrieved August 31, 2016, from http://www.businessinsider.com/r-exclusive-us-minimum-wage-hikes-to-impact-1400-plus-walmart-stores-2014-12?IR=T

Lombardo, J. (2015, August 15). Walmart: Organizational Structure & Organizational Culture. Retrieved August 31, 2016, from http://panmore.com/walmart-organizational-structure-organizational-culture

Thompson, A. (2016, May 17). Walmart: Human Resource Management. Retrieved August 29, 2016, from http://panmore.com/walmart-human-resource-management-hr-management

Thompson, A. (2015, September 1). Walmart’s HRM: HR Planning, Job Analysis & Design. Retrieved August 29, 2016, from http://panmore.com/walmart-human-resource-management-planning-job-analysis-design

Thompson, A. (2015, September 1). Walmart’s HRM: Training, Performance Management. Retrieved August 31, 2016, from http://panmore.com/walmart-human-resource-management-training-performance-management

Walmart . (2015, October 14). Walmart strategy drives growth and sustainable returns, Plans $20 billion share repurchase program over two years. Retrieved August 31, 2016, from http://news.walmart.com/news-archive/2015/10/14/walmart-strategy-drives-growth-and-sustainable-returns-plans-20-billion-share-repurchase-program-over-two-years

Walmart Stores Inc. . (2016). Human Resources. Retrieved August 31, 2016, from http://careers.walmart.com/career-areas/corporate/human-resources/

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (2016). About Us. Retrieved August 31, 2016, from http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (2016). Working Here. Retrieved August 31, 2016, from http://careers.walmart.com/about-us/working-here/

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