General and Specific HR Strategies

Human Resource Management Roles
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Sarah Daghman
Lecturer, Russian Federation

General and Specific HR Strategies

When we are talking about "Strategic HRM" or "HR Strategy", we can actually distinguish 2 types of HR strategies: General HR Strategies and Specific HR Strategies.

These describe the overall approach and HR practices that the organization adopts in order to improve organizational effectiveness, develop high-performance work processes and/or to create 'a great place to work.'
General HR strategies can be further categorized into three main philosophies/approaches:
  • High-performance management: The aim is to make an impact on the performance of the organization in such areas as productivity, quality, levels of customer service, growth, and profits. High-performance management practices include recruitment procedures, extensive training and management development activities, incentive pay systems, and performance management processes.
  • High-commitment management: This is aimed at eliciting a commitment so that behavior is primarily self-regulated rather than controlled by sanctions or external pressures to the individual, and relations within the organization are based on high levels of trust.
  • High-involvement management: This is based on commitment and involvement, as opposed to the old bureaucratic model based on control. The underlying hypothesis is that employees will increase their involvement with the company if they are given the opportunity to control and understand their work. This approach involves treating employees as partners in the enterprise whose interests are respected and who have a voice on matters that concern them.
These strategies are relating to different aspects or areas of human resource management such as learning, development, and rewarding.
Typical areas for which specific HR strategies are being developed encompass:
  • Corporate Social Responsibility: Committing to managing the business ethically in order to make a positive impact on society and the environment.
  • Organization Development: Planning and implementing programs designed to enhance effectiveness.
  • Knowledge management: Creating, acquiring, capturing, sharing, and using knowledge to enhance learning and performance.
  • Resourcing: Attracting and retaining high-quality people.
  • Talent Management: Ensuring that the organization has the needed talented people to achieve success.
  • Learning and Development: Providing an environment in which employees are encouraged to learn and develop.
  • Rewarding: Defining what the organization wants to do in the longer term to develop and implement reward policies, practices, and processes.
  • Employee Relations: Defining the intentions of the organization about what needs to be done and what needs to be changed in the ways in which the organization manages its relationships with employees and their trade unions.
  • Employee well-being: Meeting the needs of employees for a healthy, safe, and supportive work environment.
Here is an example of a general HR strategy statement of a "local authority": Having a very strong focus on the overall effectiveness of the organization, its direction, and how it's performing there is a commitment to, and belief in, and respect for individuals. This general HR strategy sets the scene for several more specific strategies, like employee relations, recruitment and retention, training, performance management, pay and benefits, health and safety, absence management, and equal opportunities.

Armstrong, M and Baron, A (2002), "Strategic HRM: The Route to Improved Business Performance", CIPD, London.
Wood, S, de Menezes, L M, and Lasaosa, A (2001), "High Involvement Management and Performance", Paper delivered at the Centre for Labour Market Studies, University of Leicester.


Emeka Onuoha

HR Strategies

Dear Sarah, thank you for capturing this topic and if I may take a cue from management guru, Dave Ul... Sign up

David Wilson
Manager, Canada

Unions and HR Strategies

Hi Sarah: Thanks for the interesting posting. I would suggest HR strategies need to focus on relatio... Sign up


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