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Hard HRM: Focus on Corporate Business

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  • 0:01 Definition of Hard HRM
  • 1:25 Elements of Hard HRM
  • 2:25 Advantages & Disadvantages
  • 3:47 Implementation of Hard HRM
  • 4:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Anelia Ras
In this lesson, we will define hard HRM (hard human resources management) and discuss the elements, benefits, and disadvantages of this approach to managing human resources. We will also touch on the implementation of the approach.

Definition of Hard HRM

How would you feel if your employer treated you as just another resource? If the company didn't really value you as a person and didn't really care for your input? What if they gave you things to do and you had do them or you are replaced? This is kind of the idea behind hard human resources management.

Hard human resources management, or hard HRM is a staff management system in which workers are seen as a resource that needs to be controlled to achieve the highest profit and a competitive advantage. The easiest way to understand the hard HRM approach is to simply view people exactly the same as any other resource in an organization.

In hard HRM, human resources are not seen as different to other resources in the business, like machines, facilities, or money. The focus of hard HRM is on the task that needs to be done, cost control, and achieving organizational goals. There is no difference in decision-making to replace a machine that is broken and replacing a person or department that is not needed anymore.

In the same way a business may buy a machine that has the lowest price for the acceptable quality, they may pay staff the minimum wage or the minimum that is required to get the skills that the business needs. In this lesson, we will look at what hard HRM is, the elements of hard HRM, and the advantages and disadvantages of it.

Elements of Hard HRM

There are specific characteristics that define the hard HRM approach. One is short-term changes in staff members, or quickly recruiting new people for a spike in sales, or quickly retrenching people in a downturn. Another is minimal communication, mostly from the top down. Examples of this are one-way communication, like memos, notices, and announcements in which staff are only told what they need to know to perform their job. With hard HRM, pay is just enough to recruit and retain adequate staff. There is no financial incentive for staff to perform and no differentiation in pay between people. Pay is often minimum wage. Also, the leadership style is autocratic, meaning there is very little empowerment of or delegation to staff. Performance appraisals focus on making judgments about staff, so staff are viewed as good or bad. Also, there are tall organizational structures, which means there are many layers of management and supervision

Advantages and Disadvantages

With the characteristics of hard HRM, it may seem like it would be completely bad for a company to use it, but the reality is that there are actually advantages and disadvantages to this approach. Let's look at them.

An advantage of hard HRM is quick decision-making. If you do not need to consider the human impact or how people will feel about a decision, it is easier and faster to make that decision. Another advantage is fast implementation of change. As there is no consultation process, it is possible to implement changes fast. Finally, hard HRM comes with lower salary cost. Because the business pays the lowest wage to get the skills they need, it is possible to keep salary costs low

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