strategic human resource management in Australia – conclusion

The transformation of HR department from a paper-handling to a strategic business unit within the organization has attracted increased attention in recent years. With increasing competitiveness in the business environment, developing employee commitment to the vision of the entity provides a source of competitive advantage that competitors find difficult to imitate. The traditional HR department however lacks the capacity to engage at a strategic level. In Australia, such lack of capacity for the HR function to play a strategic role has increasingly led to the replacement of specialist HR managers with generalist managers to head the HR unit. This paper thus evaluates the current HRM practices in Australia to identify critical aspects that would better the realization of the HR department strategic role.

Australia’s HRM practices have been characterized by various trends. For instance, HR professionals are increasingly being replaced by generalist managers who are expected to drive short-term positive outcomes to the organization. This trend has led to the entry of these managers into HRM arena with a business focus rather than a strategic focus. For HRM, such shift has reflected the need for HR professionals to gain specialist skills that help them play a strategic role in the entity. Gaining such skills would help the professionals engage actively in decision-making arenas as organizations realize the need to link the HRM strategy with the business strategy. A different aspect affecting HRM in Australia has been the high multicultural and ageing workforce composition. With the ageing population, recruitment and retaining talent within an organization has become more challenging, necessitating organizations to have sound HR development strategies. Such strategies are lacking in the case of workforce diversity thus limiting the extent to which entities can reap the benefits of multiculturalism within their teams. To better the achievement of their strategic functions, organizations thus need to develop strong HRM strategies that ensure employee commitment to the entity’s vision. Such may be achieved through adoption of IT and outsourcing some of the HR department roles to allow HR professionals engage in strategic activities while not avoiding their administrative and supportive functions.

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