Achieving strong vertical and horizontal alignment - Article Example

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Human resource management (HRM) practices are critical to the success of business organizations. The goal of organizations is to maintain a strong customer base and increase revenue, but how to achieve this is equally important…
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Achieving strong vertical and horizontal alignment
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Download file to see previous pages Human resource management (HRM) practices are critical to the success of business organizations. The goal of organizations is to maintain a strong customer base and increase revenue, but how to achieve this is equally importantStrategic HRM approaches involve a spotlight on the alignment of HRM practices with each other, which is referred to as internal consistency or alignment; and the alignment of the HRM procedures with an organization's approach, known as external consistency or alignment (Burke & Cooper 2005). Gratton and Truss (2007) proposed a three-dimensional people strategy used by HRM in organizations as vertical alignment, horizontal alignment, and an implementation dimension to show the extent to which the people strategy affects the daily operations of employees and the conduct of managers.This paper focuses on two of the three-dimensional people strategies as aforementioned. Vertical alignment involves the link between the people strategy and a business unit strategy, that is, the link between the HRM and the people in an organization. This determines whether HR interventions in decision making serve as inhibitors to success or confer competitive advantages to the organization. On the other hand, horizontal alignment operates within the limits of HR policies and aims at achieving a functional approach to managing the people in an organization (Gratton & Truss 2007).Effron, Gandossy and Goldsmith (2003) highlighted an example in which James Houghton became the CEO of Corning Incorporated by inheriting the job from his brother. The company (Corning) had been dilapidated and was suffering from among other factors, poor labor relations. However, less than ten years later, the company was producing new, high quality products that made it take a competitive position in the market. James simply formed a team that created a vision and change of behavior at the company while building an architecture of productive change (Effron, Gandossy & Goldsmith 2003).

According to McLeish (2002), vertical alignment is the employment of an approach that is manifested in the actions of employees through a jointly shared direction. This means that the management of an organization implementing vertical alignment takes an initiative to lead and empower employees in the work they do, thus improving job execution (Effron, Gandossy & Goldsmith 2003).

In order to achieve strong vertical alignment, the HRM of an organization has to target "quick owns" by having an understanding of the processes that would result in a quick delivery of the business goal (Gratton & Truss 2007). For instance, the initiatives could be through innovative product offering or short term training programs to educate and empower employees in handling clients and customers. Effective reputation arises when a business organization meets the expectations of the line of management (Gratton & Truss 2007; McLeish 2002).

Organizations that have strong vertical alignment are characterized by presence of business-focused HR teams. The HR team is usually very close to the business units as opposed to cases in which managers are separated from junior employees and rarely assess what the junior staffs do. A good example is the US-based company, Kraft Foods, whose staff in the business units work alongside managers in making strategic decisions (Gratton & Truss 2007).

A strong alignment is achieved by proper planning with focus on key objectives and evaluation of success factors (McLeish 2002). The strategy must encompass the organization staff at all levels, and the employees must particularly understand the benefits that accrue at both personal level and organizational level (McLeish 2002). In this respect, each employee has to know the role that one has to play in order to achieve a specific goal. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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