The society has become highly technological and for organizations to remain competitive in the global market, the have to adapt to changes which are occurring rapidly and in addition produce high quality products (Hargreaves & Jarvis, 2000). It helps individual employees achieve their full potential and can even become depended. It also encourages individuals to be intrapreneurs which are a situation where employees are given the opportunity to come up with their own ideas and use the resources available in the organization to turn the ideas in to reality. Through this opportunity, the organization is likely to get high quality services and products through the innovative ideas of the employees. Employees are considered to be the highest value asset of an organization. Human resource development aims at maximizing the use of this crucial asset.
Balfour Beatty deals with infrastructure services and holds a very strong position in the market. Services offered by Balfour Beatty aim at creating and caring of infrastructure assets (Balfour Beatty, 2011). Human resource development (HRD) strategy is a plan that is used to show how human resources will be used by training, organizational development and career development to help in achieving both individual and organizational objectives (Anonymous, 2011). There are many types of strategies that can be used for human resource development. The first is communication strategy which involves education and training of employees to get the necessary skills required to implement the necessary change and carry out activities required to achieve organizational objectives. The second is accountability and ownership strategy in which employees are supposed to be accountable to all the activities of an organization which increases productivity making customers to be more satisfied (Anonymous, 2011).
The third is quality strategy which is created in the employees through training to improve their skills. The fourth is intrapreneurship strategy in which each employee can generate his or her own ideas and use the resources available to put them in to practice which improves the products and services provided by the organization (Anonymous, 2011). The fifth is culture building strategy which emphasizes valuation of employees keeping them charged, motivated and committed to the success of the organization hence improves the competitive advantage of that particular organization. The sixth is systematic training strategy which involves on-job and off-job training which improves the culture of employees making them more professional by equipping them with the appropriate skills (Anonymous, 2011). The seventh is learning strategy which means involving employees in a continuous learning environment creating a conducive environment where employees can develop themselves.
When developing HRD strategy, it is important to ensure that it is in line with business strategy. This is due to the fact that the main aim of HRD is to come up with the appropriate ways by which the business strategy can be delivered (Swart, 2005). It involves development and acquisition of skills which can be used to make innovations in an organization. Majorly the HRD strategy deals with trainings and education which assist in developing skills. However HRD strategies mostly depend on previous organizational performances since they can be used to correct previous behaviors (Swart, 2005). In other words, they are mostly reactive to something which has already happened. In addition to correcting previous behaviors, it also has the function of implementing the current objectives. However, despite the fact that it is concerned with delivering the current objectives, this is not a very major concern. It is more concerned with making sure that there is a continuous positive change within the organization. It ensures that all employees, whichever level they are in, can take change positively and even implement it. HRD strategies develop both organizational and individual capabilities.
For an organization to ensure that the HRD strategy they develop is viable, it should not be focused on problems and realities which the organization is experiencing. Therefore HRD strategies must be based on the objectives of the organization and the competitive methods which the organization has decided to follow. HRD is the key to the success of every organization. The main aspects of human resource development include; training and development, organization development, job descriptions, staff planning and development, staff benefits, and interest groups (Hargreaves & Jarvis, 2000).
It is crucial to follow a systematic way in designing the HRD strategy in order to ensure that it is the appropriate one for the organization. In following these steps, the organization will be able to get the appropriate HRD strategy. The first step is getting the big picture of the organization which assists in understanding the business strategy of the organization (Anonymous, 2011). This understanding will put to light the major driving forces which may include technology, distribution, competition and the available markets. The second step is developing a mission statement which should address the people who are involved in the organization both employees and customers and even the society at large. The third step is conducting the SWOT analysis of the organization (Anonymous, 2011). This should involve internal strengths and weakness which mostly involves the people working in the organization and the organization itself. It looks at skills and capabilities which can be utilized in the organization or the ones which are crucial but are not available in the organization. In addition external market of the organization is considered in order to identify the opportunities which the organization can maximize for its success. Threats will also be identified so that they can be avoided. The fourth step is conducting a detailed HR analysis. In this step, a lot of emphasis is put on organizational culture, organizational structure, people and COPS (culture, organization, people, and systems) (Anonymous, 2011). In this step also, there is identification of the gap which the organization might have depending on status at that particular time and the status which they want the organization to be in the future or at present.
The fifth step in design a HRD strategy is determining critical people issues (Anonymous, 2011). Critical people issues can be identified through a thorough examination of SWOT analysis against COPS analysis. When we talk of critical key issues, it is important to note that these should be the ones which have an impact in the execution of the business strategy. The sixth step is developing consequences and solution which are depended on the critical issues identified. It involves setting ways by which the major objectives will be achieved. The seventh step is implementation and evaluation of the action plans (Anonymous, 2011). This is crucial because the main aim of developing a human resource development strategy is to make sure that the objectives set for the organization are SMART so that employees can be rewarded which should go hand in hand with training and career development.
In order to identify the appropriate human resource development strategy, it is important that we look at the business area and the markets of Balfour Beatty because; human resource development will have the objective of improving the competitive advantage of the organization. The organization mostly works with customers in public, regulated and private sectors. The services offered are professional services, construction services, support services and infrastructure investments (Balfour Beatty, 2011). It is an organization which works internationally by trying to improve the lives of individuals and communities at large. Balfour Beatty markets are in defence, health, education, facilities management, roads, rail, airports, water, power and commercial buildings (Balfour Beatty, 2011).
The most appropriate human resource development strategy is the one which will help the employees working at this organization perform the best at their work and improve their careers which in turn will improve their lives (Rohmetra, 2005). It will be done by ensuring that the employees attend to more training which will improve their skills making them be interested in their work.
In choosing the appropriate human resource development strategy, it is crucial that one looks at the one which will ensure achievement if long term goals. For the strategy to be contributing to long term goals, it has to be in a way that the personnel have the right skills which is used for the success of the organization (Rohmetra, 2005). This can be achieved through recruiting employees who have high level of qualification or ensuring that the employees are developed once they are employed. Development of personnel can be through continuous training which creates a culture of learning among the employees hence giving them the skills required for optimum performance.
The appropriate strategy which Balfour Beatty can adopt is communication strategy. Due to globalization, there are a lot of changes which are occurring in the business environment. Because of this reason every organization should adopt the communication strategy which involves training and educating employees about change (Hargreaves & Jarvis, 2000). Change is inevitable and is occurring every day. Therefore, for an organization to survive in this changing environment, it has to ensure that its employees have the required skills to adapt to the change. Time after time, there comes a time when the way of doing business has changed and therefore the business strategy has to change, therefore, the organization has to take its employees through an education process and training to equip them with the necessary skills (Garavan, 1997). As mentioned earlier, the main aim of human resource development is to build capabilities among the employees which will ensure that the can implement the changes without any problem. Organizations should not wait until a change has already occurred to take its employees through training. Employees’ education and training should be a continuous process to ensure that organization is not caught off guard by change.
Communication also involves other issues like appropriate passage of information throughout the organization. Communication is one of the most crucial aspects in an organization because it is through communication that problems are identified and appropriate solutions devised. Therefore, adapting the communication strategy is important (McNaughton, 1997). Ineffective communication has been found to increase the chances of development of conflicts within an organization. When an organization is filled with conflicts the performance of that particular organization is at stake. Therefore, the human resource mangers who are at the top of the management are supposed to ensure that information follows appropriately and that every employee is given a chance to express his/her feelings and give ideas. This is because when employees have a hand in the decisions made about change, the will gladly implement the change. When effective communication is combined with training and education, then the organization has a very high probability of succeeding (Anonymous, 2010). However this strategy can only be appropriate if the steps of designing human resource development strategies are clearly followed. This is due to the fact that, for a human resource development strategy to be effective, the objectives of the organization must be put into consideration. It is through having communication strategy that the strengths and opportunities are identified and utilized optimally for the success of the organization. This can be done the human resource through ensuring that all employees are actively participating in activities and have a behavior of initiating new interventions (Lorriman, 1997).
Learning is a life time process especially when it comes to business organizations. Due to changes which are occurring in the business environment, organizations need to develop the learning culture plan (Halligan & Willis, 2008). This can be developed as the learning strategy of human resource development. When employees are exposed to continuous development and learning environments, they get the opportunity of developing themselves and even learning from their colleagues. A learning culture plan is crucial for every organization (Wilson, 2005). This is in order to ensure that employees are continuously getting information from learning process. The organization can come up with a plan from which employees are divided in to groups and each group is assigned its own time of learning (Gilley, & Maycunich, 2000). The necessity of groups and learning in turns will the organization does not miss employees to do the work in the name attending learning classes.
When we talk of a learning culture, it does not necessarily mean being in a class to learn. Learning can also be done through active participation (Reid, 2004). The learning culture plan can be executed in a way that employees are required to get involved in all the activities of the organization even if they are new to them. This participation is likely to help them learn how particular activities are executed. Learning is very crucial when it come to education and training (Wright, 2007). Therefore devising communication strategy together with the learning culture plan, the organization can be able to optimally achieve its goals. Leaning is one of the processes of improving performance. The first step in improving performance is training, followed by learning, then development, and lastly job behavior which results in improved performance (Joy-Matthews, 2004).
Learning will also help in promoting the culture of the organization which involves valuing all the employees hence improving their motivation which increases their performance (Gilley, & Maycunich, 2000). It mostly focuses on change and the plan of learning culture can be cognitive, behavioral or affective (Deb, 2006). The plan should be executed in such a way that the employees are in direct conduct with the learning environment as this is the only way that it can be effective. When learning plan is executed effectively it can have the following outcomes; cognitive which is basically acquisition of knowledge, (Cloete, 2005) psychomotor which is defined by acquiring skills or changing behavior which can lead to the success of the organization and affective outcome which is majorly positive change of attitude.
The learning process will be designed in a way that the tasks to be learned will be analyzed and sequences and ensure that all the components of the task are achieved. In task analysis, there will be breakdown of the task in to distinct components and break them further to make them as simple as possible (Cloete, 2005). In component achievement, each task must be tackled adequately for the learning process to be considered successful. Under the plan, there will be a clear specification on what to be done, how it will be done, when and under what conditions. Under task sequencing, each component task has to be sequenced appropriately specifying serial tasks and parallel tasks.
Learning is a psychological process and psychological aspects have to be put in to consideration before executing the plan. The following will be considered to ensure that the learning plan puts psychological aspects into consideration; (Halligan & Willis, 2008) what needs to be done before employees are engaged in learning, the goals to be achieved, the initial state of the employees before learning starts, appropriate conditions under which the learner can gain more and evaluating the learning process (Wright, 2007).
This shows how the learning culture plan is going to be designed. Learning, training and educating employees is one of the responsibilities of human resource development as it helps employees cope with the changes which are occurring very rapidly.
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