Soft HRM: Employee-First Focus

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  • 0:00 Soft Human Resource Management
  • 0:53 Key Features of Soft HRM
  • 1:33 Example
  • 3:15 Advantages & Disadvantages
  • 4:02 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Noel Ransom

Noel has taught college Accounting and a host of other related topics and has a dual Master's Degree in Accounting/Finance. She is currently working on her Doctoral Degree.

This lesson focuses on the soft human resource management (HRM) approach. It offers a definition of soft human resource management as well as explores features, advantages and disadvantages of soft HRM.

Soft Human Resource Management

Soft human resource management (HRM) is an approach to human resource management that involves treating employees as one of a company's most important assets. When management uses soft HRM, it views its employees as critical resources who are key to their long-term business strategies. Human resource departments will integrate employees' needs into their long-term organizational strategy.

Soft HRM is different from the concept of hard HRM because hard HRM methods treat the employee as just another resource, similar to the tools and machines needed to operate the business. Under the hard HRM method, employees are treated as resources needed to help the business operate, but their needs aren't considered.

Key Features of Soft HRM

Some of the main features of soft HRM include a focus on how employees are rewarded for their performance and how employees are motivated to be actively engaged in achieving the company's strategy, mission, and values. Other features of soft HRM include a greater push to empower employees by encouraging them to take responsibility for their roles, open communication between management and employees and more performance-based awards and recognition. Organizations also typically employ a more competitive pay structure, such as profit sharing or company bonuses, when they're taking a soft HRM approach.


Let's meet Darla, who works for a large accounting firm. Darla's management team has monthly meetings with the accounting department to share news about the company and provide updates on events that might impact their work area. The management team also asks employees for feedback on ways to improve company programs and activities.

Once employees provide feedback to the management team, the leaders assign a team champion to organize the new project and allow the team champion to select members of the team to work on that project. Because of these meetings, Darla's team is more comfortable communicating with upper management, and they are enthusiastic about being able to share ideas because they can see some of these ideas become a reality in their department.

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