Soft and Hard HRM Model
The HRM model of any company is an important characteristic of the company as it determines the level of success that can be achieved. Although various models exist, the most commonly applied models are the soft model and the hard model. These models cannot be applied simultaneously due to their differences hence organizations have to choose one of the two. While the hard model focuses on keeping employees under strict controls, the soft approach is considered more humanistic. Based on the argument that the soft approach offers the greatest advantage to an organization, the paper proposes the use of the soft stance in HRM rather than the hard stance (Legge, 1995).
Various studies discuss the advantages of the soft HRM model relative to the hard model. For instance, the soft model is considered to be humanistic in that it involves treatment of employees as resourceful and thus deserving to be treated in a more humane manner. Due to this belief, the soft HRM model incorporates the aspect of human relationships into how the employees are treated. This is contrary to the belief employed in the hard model where employees are considered as mere resources and only treated well when expected to perform crucial tasks and in times of shortages.
The soft model focuses on constant employee satisfaction as a way of helping to achieve organizational objectives. While the hard HRM model makes employees dissatisfied forcing them to stick with the organization only due to lack of other income alternatives, the soft HRM model creates a satisfactory work environment where communication is two way and employees stay with the organization out of free will.
The success of the Soft HRM model has been observed in various companies. One of the companies studied for this report is the Miller construction company which engages in construction work and also does transmission line maintenance for a number of investors. Due to this line of work, the company has opportunities for diverse professions such as civil, water, electrical, mechanical engineers besides numerous other skilled and non-skilled labor opportunities.
Despite being in a field that more or less requires a hard stance on HRM, the company adopts a soft approach characterized by offering training and equipment to all workers; giving the support staff an opportunity to engage in big projects; offering their training services on voluntary basis; provision of career management opportunities for new recruits; formulation of an attractive wage structure and training members voluntarily on a number of core issues such as language, communication and management skills.
Through the adoption of the soft HRM model, the company has managed to maintain motivated employees, a factor that has contributed to improved quality of work as evidenced in the organization’s rise to the best construction firm which has increased its exposure to a wide client range (Miller Construction Company, 2013). The Soft HRM approach can thus be said to be the reason behind the organization’s success in the market. The company should therefore stick to the Soft HRM approach as it will enhance the formation of a creative work force.
The approach will also improve the information management system in the company which is essential in consultancy and tricky projects. Moreover, the use of the soft approach can also encourage team work besides enhancing vertical communication in the company. For Miller, communication and team work are imperative for the achievement of long term success hence the soft HRM model offers the best opportunity for the company’s sustainable growth.
Carol, G. (1999). ‘Use of Hard and Soft Models of HRM to Illustrate the Gap between Rhetoric and Reality in Work Force management.’ RMIT Business Working Paper.
Legge, K. (1995). Human Resource Management: Rhetoric and Realities. Macmillan, Basingstoke.
Miller Construction Company (2013). Miller Construction Company, Inc. Viewed 20 December 2013. http://www.millerpower.com
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