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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Realizing efficiencies through HR policies and practices
The theme of this issue of Strategic HR Review is HR efficiencies – a broad topic that can be addressed from many angles. However, we have narrowed it down to focus on some of the topics that are pertinent today and are attracting new research efforts – global recruitment, stress in the workplace, flexible work options, outsourcing and absence management.
In “Meeting the challenges of global resourcing”, Frances Wilson of the CIPD looks at the issues associated with international recruitment and movement of people across traditional geographic boundaries, and how HR can help address the challenges by putting international mobility high on the organizational agenda, paying attending to global employer branding and taking a strategic approach to rewards. A case study from the Standard Chartered Bank also identifies rewards as key to managing international resourcing, in addition to putting in place the right processes and systems. The bank’s head of international mobility, Tanvir Haque, discusses its shared services center approach to process. This case study feature shows that, if managed properly, international resourcing can lead to a high performing workplace and address skills shortages, improving efficiencies and solving a growing problem.
In “Line management competence – the key to preventing and reducing stress at work”, Emma Donaldson-Feilder, Jo Yarker, and Rachel Lewis put forward a management competency framework to help managers prevent and reduce work-related stress. Based on award-winning research work, the framework makes a useful training, appraisal and competency-building tool that can be incorporated in to HR practices. It identifies both positive and negative manager behaviors relating to the 19 competencies that the research identified as being linked to work-related stress and the research suggests that this framework can be applied universally – regardless of sector. With stress-related absence a costly and growing problem in many countries, the framework promises to be a practical and user-friendly tool for improving HR efficiencies.
Peter Thomson gives a comprehensive view of flexible working in “The business benefits of flexible working”. Flexible working can be a great problem solver, but it can also be a powerful preventative tool. Thomson demonstrates how flexible working turned one public sector organization from a failure to an award-winning service provider in two years and puts forward a model for strategic implementation to help businesses get the most out of flexible working – not just when problems appear, but as a means of keeping ahead in organizational strategy and structure. He says that flexible working – once introduced strategically – can make a major contribution to the bottom line.
“Outsourcing brings Interdean to the technology forefront”, by Paul Kernohan, director of HR at Interdean, shows how an outsourced technology solution for payroll and HR has resulted in significant efficiency gains at the organization. By comparing the outcomes with those of the existing system, it also highlights the need for great care in selecting an outsourcing solution and provider. Kernohan provides a list of implementation steps and resources to show why and how the new outsourcing relationship has been a success.
Sue Hayday from the Institute of Employment Studies tackles the difficult subject of absence management in her article, “The fine line of absence management”. This article outlines some of the key outcomes of a research program carried out into absence management in the police force in England and Wales. It identifies wide felt perceptions and beliefs about absence and its management and the resulting business implications, while drawing on wider industry sectors to demonstrate how firm but fair solutions can be effective. Supporting line managers in achieving this balance is a key role for HR.
All our authors have provided food for thought on ways in which HR professionals can achieve efficiencies, from cost savings to productivity and performance enhancements. In each case HR plays a crucial role in improving business outcomes and also gains added credibility for enhancing both business processes and business strategies.
Sara NolanE-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org