Strategic human resource management plan for Task Applied Science (Pty) Ltd

Mitchell, Melissa (2014-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.


Human resource management is a widely researched field. However, the research done in terms of small to medium-sized enterprises, is extremely limited, especially in South Africa. The aim of this research was to investigate human resource management practices in one such a company, and to develop a feasible action plan to improve on these practices. The chosen company, Task Applied Science (Pty) Ltd, is a medical research company based in Cape Town, South Africa. The data for the study was obtained through a literature review and interviews. The data from the literature review identified best practices and frameworks. This was combined with interviewing company employees as well as HRM practitioners in the medical field to not only identify problems, but to also suggest possible solutions. These solutions were compiled in a comprehensive action plan. As such, the results offer a workable solution for Task Applied Science, and can serve as example for all small to medium-sized enterprises. The literature review further showed that smaller companies tend to ignore the importance of human resource management due to the time and costs involved and the fact that they are focussed on the external environment rather than the internal. This cannot simply be remedied by implementing practices developed in large companies. Best practices need to be customised to fit the needs of the specific company. The findings showed that only certain human resource management practices were implemented in reaction to crises, or as needs arose. This, combined with the rapid growth and lack of structure, caused a breakdown in communication, transparency, and trust. Staff loyalty decreased because they felt that they were left in the dark. Both the company strategy and values became vague, and thus staff could not be aligned to it. Noteworthy was that the increase in policies and documentation did not cause employees to feel restricted, but rather that it created a feeling of security. The study made it abundantly clear that the human resources department needs to be treated as a strategic partner in the planning and execution of the company strategy; especially in terms of efficient change management. Their role is to communicate the strategic direction, while at the same time acting as an activist for the staff, voicing their needs and capabilities. The proposed action plan focused mainly on the company culture and the alignment of staff with the company’s business strategy. This was done by addressing issues such as company culture, communication, company values, and staff development. The plan offers practical solutions within each of these categories. Furthermore, it suggests solutions in terms of efficient staff recruitment and knowledge management. By implementing this plan the company will be able to increase the synergy between the business units within the company, eradicating silos, and establishing the staff as a competitive advantage. In addition to this, it will establish the human resources department as a credible partner for the staff in developing both their personal and professional lives.

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