The Evolving Role of HR

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, learners will:

  1. Understand the key contemporary business issues and main external factors affecting different organizations and the impact on HR.
  2. Understand how organizational and HR strategies and practices are shaped and developed.
  3. Know how to identify and respond to changes in the business environment.

Assessment brief/activity

You have been asked by your CIPD Branch to lead a discussion at one of its events on ‘The evolving role of HR in the contemporary business world’. You have been asked to produce a paper for inclusion in the delegate pack. In your paper, you should include the following:

Assignment Point 1

An analysis of some of the key forces which shape the HR agenda e.g. models of the HR function, HR strategies, insights and solutions to support business performance, business ethics and accountability.

Give some specific examples. Refer back to organisation examples to make the examples clear.

Assignment Point 2

Compare different tools for analysing the business environment e.g. SWOT, PESTLE, Porter’s 5 Forces etc.

Explain the purposes of different tools. In your comparison explain how you would use one tool in comparison to another.

Assignment Point 3

Assess a range of different factors which impact on an organisation’s business and its HR function. You should include examples of external and internal factors to illustrate the different types of impact.

Again, use some examples. Ensure that you make it clear which are internal and which was external factors.

Assignment Point 4

Summarise the key stages in strategy formulation and implementation with reference to a model from the literature. You should also refer to the role of HR in each of the stages and in particular, highlight HR’s contribution to business ethics and accountability.

Here you must show that you understand what strategy is, how it develops, what HR does in the development of strategy and why ethics is relevant.

Assignment Point 5

Give some examples of how business performance can be evaluated, making reference to traditional and modern indicators. You should make particular reference to the role of HR in business planning and change management with some examples to illustrate HR’s key role.

How is performance evaluated? Ensure that you are referring back to change and that you are explaining HR’s role in this process.

Assignment Point 6

Explain how different sources of business and contextual data can be assessed and utilized for planning purposes e.g. internal information within the organization including HR metrics, industry information e.g. trends in HR, competitive information, government information.

What business data do you need, how do you get it and how do you use it?

Evidence to be Produced

  • A written paper of approximately 3300 words in total.
  • You should relate academic concepts, theories and professional practice to the way organizations operate, in a critical and informed way, and with reference to key texts, articles, and other publications and by using organizational examples for illustration.
  • All reference sources should be acknowledged correctly and a bibliography provided where appropriate (these should be excluded from the word count). Remember to use the cover sheet found at the end of this handbook.

Sample Paper Preview

Business Issues and the Contexts of Human Resources

1. Key forces which shape the HR agenda

The human resource is one of the most important components in an organization. The goal of the human resource management is to understand the deep nature of the organization due to the huge impact it has on the management of people in the business. According to Boxall and Purcell (2011), organization is the coordination of the actions of different people for attainment of the organizational objective. The definition of an organization consists of different definition depending on various aspects that they focus on such as public, private, SMEs, and size. In organizations that exist in economies that are mixed such as the United Kingdom, they can be categorized public organizations and private organizations.

Public organizations provide essential services such as education, health, policing, and social services. The human resource department in these organizations is large and capable of offering specialized HR supports since their financing requires them to show their responsibility for public funds. In contrast, private organizations comprise of those that are owned by private individuals. They attend to the market demands and exist to make income to the shareholders since they finance their operations. They also require human resource support that his highly skilled due to the strict management required to ensure adequate human support for maximum benefits.

Various forces shape the human resource agenda, which include both external and internal elements. The major external forces include enterprise, people, philosophies, and themes, business-Unit people plans, company-wide priorities, HR operations plans. The work of human resources is a priority for line management when the chief director represents a strong viewpoint regarding the role people play in the business environment. A business unit people plan comprises of the second force of the general agenda of HR in that every unit of business develops its plan. The third force is company-wide people priorities, which aims to describe the level of integration required among the human resource processes. Another major force that shapes the HR agenda is operational plans, which involves developing HR strategies.

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