Human Resource Management : The


Nov 8, 2013 (4 years and 8 months ago)


Human Resource Management : The
Importance of Effective Strategy and

Professor John Taylor

Centre for Higher Education Management and Policy

University of Southampton


Change in Higher Education


growth in student numbers; increasing diversification
in students

Pressures on funding

reductions in unit of resource; importance of
value for money

The quality movement

quality assurance and assessment

Globalisation and internationalisation

new approaches, new ways
of working

New technology

in teaching, research and management

Markets and competition


The Importance of Planning

“A conscious process by which an institution assesses its current state and the likely future condition of its environment,
identifies possible future states for itself, and then develops organisation strategies, policies and procedures for
selecting and getting to one or more of them”

(Petersen, 1999)

Some important assumptions:

That the institution and its members are concerned about the future

That they choose to try to influence the future rather than be shaped by external factors or by key individuals

That they accept that some attempt to evaluate activities and to understand the environment can lead to benefits

Some key words:

“a conscious process”

deliberate and non

“current state”

analysis of the present position

“future states”

a forward view

“organisation strategies”

establishment of targets and development of the means for achieving them


the exercise of judgement

“getting to one or more of them”

clear outcomes and deliverables; emphasis
on implementation

The Planning Cycle

Planning, Documentation, Implementation, Monitoring

The Importance of Human Resources

Higher Education is a knowledge business

depends on the quality
of its staff

Growth of markets and competition for staff

with other sectors,
with other institutions

The quality movement

focus on staff, no “hiding places”

Pressure on funding

importance of staff productivity and


Change management

Legal environment

health and safety, conditions, equal
opportunities, European legislation

Strategic Plans and Operational Plans

Strategic or Corporate Plan

sets overall aims and objectives

Operational or Tactical Plans

set specific targets and actions, by
organisational units (Faculty, Department) or by activity (teaching,
research, estates, human resources)

Individual Plans

what the individual has to do

A Human Resources Strategy will aim to create and maintain a
workforce that is well motivated, appropriately trained, equitably
rewarded and which performs effectively in pursuing the institution’s

Linking Institutional Planning and the Human
Resources Strategy

Understanding the external environment. Changing demand for
subjects and research can mean too few or too many staff in
particular areas. Knowledge of market data

demand and supply of
different categories of staff.

Review of current performance in HR related areas

and retention, employment relations, equal opportunities

Data provision eg length of service, staff movements, nature of
contracts, age, sex, salaries, ethnicity. Broken down by
organisational units. Staff surveys

satisfaction, training needs

Importance of HR involvement in strategic and operational planning
from an early stage

Some Characteristics of a good Human
Resources Strategy

Three key elements:


a comprehensive and systematic evaluation of current
practice and performance to identify both where improvement is
required and where policies and institutions are working well


a vision of effective HR practices which produce
specific outcomes that contribute to achieving the institution’s
strategy, underpinned by clear values and principles


a plan for achieving progress and building greater
capacity to bring about change in the future (bearing in mind that
effective human resource management depends as much on good
quality line management as it does on skilled human resorce

Clear Targets

SMART targets

specific, measurable, agreed, realistic, time

Input targets eg appointing a new member of staff

Process targets eg developing new policies or procedures, or
undertaking a review of practice

Output targets eg producing a report introducing a new payments or job
evaluation scheme

Outcome targets eg increasing the number of women in management
positions or the proportion of people with disabilities

Performance measures

Project management

subprojects, milestones

Resource Allocation

MUST be a clear link between human resource plans and resource

Clarity of approach: actions


Assessment of progress against input. Process and output targets

Summative evaluation

what works and what doesn’t work.
Formative process

Problems of identifying cause and effect

Importance of good feedback

Implementation is assisted by:

Adequate levels of involvement

Feedback on performance

Focus on what is achievable

Clear allocation of responsibilities

Effective training and support

Incentives and rewards

Key Issues: Recruitment and Retention

Data collection

Comparative analysis

Identification of problems

particular disciplines (eg computing,
management, economics), particular categories of staff (eg
electronics technicians, cleaners), particular regions (eg big cities)

Some possible actions

improving the recruitment process, startup
packages, pay and rewards, market supplements, job evaluation,
career routes, fast
track promotion, training and development

Key Issues: Staff Development and Training

Necessary to enhance the institution’s skills and knowledge base

Important to identify needs at ALL levels

All categories of staff should be involved

Programmes require regular evaluation

problems of relevance

Different forms of staff development:

Induction programmes

Programmes for new academic staff (often linked with probation)

Skills programmes

particular activities, new technology, updating

Management development programmes

leadership and

Key Issues: Equal Opportunities

Data collection

Staff development

Possible actions

awareness raising, flexible working,
improvements to recruitment processes and literature, targeted skills
development, progression

Job evaluation

equal pay for equal work

Key Issues: Staff Profiles

Data collection

Audit of existing staff

current staff numbers, distribution by
grade/level of responsibility, skills profiles, age profiles (succession
planning, “new blood”), patterns of leavers and joiners (high and low
turnover), which posts are difficult to fill, staffing costs, gender
profiles, pay distribution

External environment

national and local labour markets,
comparative analysis

Link with institutional strategies

where will more/less staff be

Possible actions

training/retraining, redeployment, severance

Key Issues: Performance

Performance review

vital in improving staff effort

Must be regular

All staff are entitled to feedback

Formative process

Rewarding good performance

monetary and non

Tackling poor performance

clear agreed targets, opportunities for
training, monitoring, training for managers, clear disciplinary
procedures (including appeals)

Human Resource Strategy: Professional

What are “professional services”?

*”Administration”, “Non
academic staff”, “The Centre”, “Management”, “Support staff”, or simply “them”!

Professional services include:



Student and Registry Services (admissions, examinations, progress)

Planning and institutional research


Research support

External relations


Members of the professional services have a crucial role to play in the running of their universities:

* Key advisers in decision
making process

Efficient and effective operation

First point of contact for students and other stakeholders

Responsible for the delivery of critical services

Staff Development for Professional Services

Career development

recruitment, training and enhancement,
performance and rewards, retention

Training programmes for new staff in professional services (wide
range of backgrounds)

Specialist training and career development


Training programmes for senior staff in professional services

Formal programmes; Continuing Professional Development

Some particular themes

broadening and deepening, sharing
expertise and experience, formative and process benchmarking,
leadership and management

Professor John Taylor

Centre for Higher Education and Policy at


+44 (0)23 8059 6892