Strategic Human Resource Management in a Team-Based Veterinary Healthcare System

Published: 2021-06-29 06:59:54
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Productivity in all organizations is determined by how human resources interact and combine to use all other management system resources (Certo, 2009, Chapter 13: Human Resource Management). Professional human resources (HR) management is an increasingly vital area in any organization, give HR's responsibility for building, creating and sustaining talent and other organizational capabilities that create competitive advantage through hiring, training, and rewarding people and designing and managing effective organization processes.
Oftentimes the Human Resource Department (HRD) is seen more as a cost center or an expense to a small business organization such as a private practice veterinary hospital instead of as a strategic partner to help contribute to the bottom-line. The current turbulent veterinary practice environment has caused the larger practices to pursue strategic planning (Catanazaro, 2008). Usually, small businesses are very focused in just the revenue or "bottom line" and fail to realize how human resources can effectively and efficiently execute organizational success for small businesses (Kaufman and Miller, 2011).
In the early 1990's, the implementation of the strategic planning process simply ended with goals and objectives, but without strategies or methods of implementation or performance monitoring (Catanzaro, 2008). When implementation strategies were developed, they were usually ineffective, because the strategic planning tended to be a top-level, administrative function, with the exclusion of the middle management and staff (McManis, 1995). Without participation and support from those who it would potentially benefit most, strategic planning did not often develop into an ongoing process. Strategic assessment and strategic response are the watchwords of a service industry such as veterinary medicine (Catanzaro, 2008).
Human resources, as a critical competitive factor, have not received much attention in healthcare (McManis, 1995). It has been found in non-healthcare industries that three environmental factors cause better integration of the strategic planning process and human resource functions: 1) Increased competition, 2) Technological change, and 3) Changing labor demographics (Kaufman and Miller, 2011). All of these factors applied to the practice of veterinary medicine in the 1990s and are now becoming critical to the survival in the new millennium. Linking business and human resource management has repeatedly proven beneficial, such as the consulting adage, "As you treat your staff, so will they treat your clients."
Certo (2009) points out several different management approaches to link human resource management with the strategic planning process. Table 1 illustrates these four different management approaches and their outcomes according to Catanzaro (2008).

Table 1. Probable Outcomes of Different Management (Linkage) Types on Business Strategy and Competitive Environment
Human Resource Strategies
Management Type or Linkage Type Probably Outcome on Business Strategy Probably Impact on Competitive Edge
Administrative Counteracting or unrelated. Decrease competitive advantage.
One-way Partially reinforcing. Very little impact on competitive edge.
Two-way advantage High degree of reinforcement. Improved use to gain competitive advantage.

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