The issues to be taken into consideration as far as strategic recruitment and selection are concerned can be understood well when we take an organisation in question. Recruitment and selection of human resources certainly have a very important impact on how well an organisation can successfully materialize its business strategy. Also, at this stage organisations face an important question of whether it should develop its existing employees in such a way so as to fulfil its vacancy requirements or should it try to acquire or hire human resource from outside the organisation. In order to build a sound staffing policy organisations develop guidelines around these two major challenges (Kossek and Block, 2000).
Acquiring Human Resources
Organisations usually take help of the three strategic approaches to recruitment and selection, namely traditional approach, staffing as strategy implementation and staffing as strategy formation, to develop employees for successful implementation of their business strategies. (Snow and Snell quoted in Schmitt and Borman, 1993)
The traditional approach to recruitment and selection gave very little or no importance to business strategies. It downplayed the link between staffing decisions and an organisation’s business strategy. The aim was to find a person who could fit the job perfectly and to recruit people who could perform the best in the given job. The use of this approach was also seen extensively during the First World War, where cognitive ability tests were used by the armies of US, UK and France wherein soldiers employed were simply placed in a job where they were best suited without taking into consideration the strategies formulated by the army. This was a very successful practice and became extremely popular among organisations other than the army in a short span of time.
While this approach may have benefited organisations in several ways but it is considered non-strategic because it completely ignores business strategy. A business strategy has to be taken out from the contextual position it was placed in traditionally and put in a prominent place. The following two strategies of staffing as strategy implementation and staffing as strategy formulation were developed thereafter and emphasize towards recruiting and selecting within a strategic framework.
Staffing as strategy implementation
To be successful, an organisation is forced to take a strategic approach to recruitment and selection especially in the long term as following the traditional approach is not practical in the present scenario with the heightened competition. This approach sees strategy as fixed and employees as a variable aspect.
This approach focuses on the fact that every business has a business strategy, which remains fixed. Employees have to be recruited and selected based on how well they will be able to perform their jobs in order to be successfully able to implement the fixed business strategy. In such an approach, the policy of business must be to design a recruitment and selection process that will be successful in fishing out employees who suit the organisation so as to materialise its business strategy profitably. This model can be easily applied into a real organisation situation. First, the organisation should develop an organisational strategy. Then it should find the organisational skills, as well as abilities and knowledge required in order to implement its business strategy. Finally, it should recruit and select only those candidates who are fit in the desired criteria .For example, if an organisation has to survive competition in the market, its strategy will be to make sure that its products are low-cost, better quality, and innovative in comparison to its competitors. Now, for it to achieve this, the organisation should employ people who have a broad outlook, well aware of the markets and quick learners. When an organisation organises training programmes, industrial visits etc. it expects its employees to be enthusiastic and grasp things the recruitment and selection policy aims at staffing candidates who are academically sound and are willing to experiment. This approach can be termed as strategic and can be successfully implemented in the context of the organisation.
Staffing as strategy formation
In a competitive environment, an organisation constantly faces a number of threats from its competitors. Also, any business provides varying opportunities that need to be exploited at the earliest in order for an organisation to flourish.
To completely utilise its human resources, organisations use this approach wherein the capabilities of candidates to be recruited are considered. The primary concern here is to match the qualities of candidates with the business strategy of the organisation. This approach sees employees as a variable aspect. Also, another major difference here is that strategy is also seen as a variable aspect unlike the previous approach. (Lengnick-Hall, 1988) The business policy here is to recruit employees based on their personal qualities and traits like knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics. (KSAOs). Hiring on a “value-added” (Kossek and Block, 2000: 13.26) basis will enrich the organisation’s human resource pool hence, making it easier to implement not just a single business strategy but, a wide range of business strategies. This approach can be pretty well understood taking the example of sports. When an athlete is selected for a team, no specific criteria are set about his/her qualities or characteristics. When a pool of potential athletes having the best KSAOs are found, strategies are made based on all their characteristics. The inference that can be drawn from this is that though an organisation can recruit candidates with a wide range of KSAOs it is not possible to foretell what business strategy will be formulated with a particular set of KSAOs. Another important policy within this approach for an organisation is to give equal priority to staffing decisions alongwith decisions like allocation and acquisition of funds. Finally, the organisation should make human resource an important part of all its policy decisions making sure that when a strategy for business is formulated, it is not too rigid. When employees are hired in an organisation, the organisation should be flexible enough to be able to make them a part of the organisation so that they adjust to its environment in the shortest time and contribute towards its success. For example in Becton Dickinson (Garvin,1993), manufacturers of medical equipments, contribution of the top management is only to give expansive guidelines to its employees on market strategies. Thereafter employees, starting at the lowest level and within every section division formulate their own strategies.
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