This type of strategic alignment determines the extent to which an organization’s HER department are acting strategically, Taylor (2008). Therefore “the clearer the alignment between HER activity and organizational strategic objectives, the clearer it is that a coherent HER strategy is being pursued” (Boxful and Purcell, 2003: 290). Within this report I will critically analyses the strategic alignment between the organizational strategy and the HER strategy of Microsoft, paying particular attention to the Employee Development Practices and how they align to the aims and objectives of Microsoft, to determine how strategically the company is acting.
Employees are an organizations most prized resource, therefore it is vital that they are given the environment to work to the best of their ability, Employee Development is a crucial part of this. Harrison defines Employee Development as “the skilful provision and organization of learning experience in the workplace”, “through enhancing the skills, knowledge, learning ability and enthusiasm at every level, there can be continuous organization as well as strategy for the business aligned with the organization’s corporate mission and goals. (Harrison, 1992:4) Microsoft founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen has en described as a veteran software company (Crunches 2013), they are a multinational software corporation and one of the world’s largest software maker’s. Best known for Microsoft Windows and its extensive range of Microsoft Office suite software, they also produce a wide range of other software for desktops and servers. They dominate both the PC operating system market segment and office suite market and have done for the past 3 decades, in 2012 Microsoft were worth в?257. Billion (V News, 2012), and employed 100,518 worldwide (Microsoft 2013). Due to the activity of Microsoft and it’s employee base, the main area of focus that Microsoft need to strategically influence, is their employee’s Career Development (CD), Microsoft have previously been known for their poor cultural Employee Development activities (see appendix, figure 1 . 1) however in recent years Microsoft have developed a well- nourished internal Employee Development strategy.
Aligning HER with Business strategy Once a business strategy has been established, a strategic methodology and practice will need to be developed within people resounding. In situations like this people sourcing can be strategically driven to enhance the performance of the business, (Taylor, 2008). Caravan defines Strategic HARD as a “coherent, vertically aligned and horizontally integrated set of learning and development activities which contribute to the achievement of strategic goals. (Caravan, 2007: 25). Barreled and Clayton (2007), suggests that an abundant amount of literature has been developed over the past 20 years to critically evaluate the order in which organizations manage their human resources. It was once depicted as being weak, non-strategic and lacking a heretical base but has since evolved (Trucker, 1968; Watson, 1977; Legged, 1978; Purcell, 1985), through the development of HARM models and frameworks (Beer et al. , 1984; Bombproof et al. 1984; Schuler and Jackson, 1987; Guest, 1987), to critics of the HARM concept who query the pragmatic, ethical and theoretical context of the subject (Legged, 1995; Kenney, 1990; Bolton and Turnbuckle, 1992; Kenney and Anthony, 1992), to a wave of strategic HARM literature that emphasis the vertical integration or link between human resource practices and an organization’s business strategy in order o enhance performance. (Schuler and Jackson, 1987; Cochin and Barbaric, 1985; Miles and Snow, 1984), and analysis on the correlation between best practice or high commitment HER practices and organizational performance. Prefer, 1994, 1998; Hustled, 1995; Unified, 1995; Guest, 2001). “To create a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most. ” (Babbler, 2013) Microsoft’s organizational strategy requires an innovative and fast developing employee workforce to fuel the new technological politeness that CEO, Steve Babbler is pushing through the company.
At present the HER strategy promotes CD as one of their biggest employee practices. Microsoft organization, these include the opportunity to be mobile and move around the company, a structured CD plan, they also offer training, mentoring and employee networking within the organization (Careers. Microsoft, 2013). All these practices provide the tools and facilities to aid Employee Development within the workforce, in order for them to progress their career and improve the quality of their work.
Darlington, Hall, Taylor and Atkinson, (1998) developed a simple model that extinguishes the different types of vertical integration relationships between the organizational strategy and HER strategy, they identified five levels of relationships (see appendix, figure 1. 2), (Barreled and Clayton, 2007). The type of integration relationship adopted within Microsoft resembles the holistic model, as Steve Babbler (CEO) has come to the realization that employees are a key factor for competitive advantage.
By offering the various types of CD practices within the organization, it proves that there is a clear interlink between what is required in the business tragedy, and how they are acting strategically in HER to meet these aims and objectives “thus representing a much closer involvement between the organizational and human resource strategy’ (Darlington et al. 2011:62). (For alternative types of strategic alignment methods please see appendix 1. ) With a considerable amount of strategic HARM deployment, Employee Development has come to represent a large part of being able to achieve HARM goals, Beer et al (1984) and that it can be linked to the survival and growth of an organization, however others believe that this is Just a test of HARM adoption and that employers only invest time and money into it to prove that they have adopted the HARM model as an organization (Keep, 1989). The focus of Employee Development (DE) within this report will surround CD within Microsoft and what DE practices they offer which best supports them acting strategically (for other methods of DE see appendix 1. ). Career Development Darlington, Hall and Taylor (2008) defines the primary purpose of CD is “to meet the current and future needs of the organization and the individual at work, and this increasingly means developing employability. ” (Darlington, Hall and Taylor, 2008: 47). Lips-Wireman and Hall (2007) add that career management and development has a significant role to play in achieving mutuality of organizational and individual interests and that HER support staff behavior of increasing their responsibility over their own career.
Thus, it is suggested CD must be interlinked with the organizational HER policy and must not be a one-time event, but rather a developing programmer over the period of an employee’s life cycle (Leibniz et al. , 1986). CD can be seen as individual satisfaction, with the organization being the key facilitator and supporting ole for the individual to meet personal career goals and self-development. However there are many other advantages of CD that benefits an organization, it makes them more attractive to potential recruits and enhances their image by proving their commitment to employee needs.
By offering CD it will encourage staff retention and reduce staff turnover, it will also encourage employee motivation and Job performance when employees can see improvement in their work. Even though these the most important contributing factor, is that CD exploits the full potential of the workforce. (Darlington, Hall and Taylor, 2008). Giggle et al (2002) supports this by adding that it also creates a loyal and committed workforce and provides a basis for an effective succession plan.
Although as new CD practices are developed, so are potential other benefits, like workforce flexibility and innovative employees who initiate change in the organization (Prince, 2003). Conversely there are issues with CD practices, based on the 2003 CHIP study, Hirsh identifies the main barriers to career management are “practical rather than philosophical and involve lack of time and resources, career management being seen as peripheral and lack of senior management commitment” (Darlington et al, 2008:456).
Benson, Finagled and Norman (2004) found that tuition reimbursement programs or training will sometimes lead to employees leaving after finishing their degree or training due to their Job not relating or benefiting from their new found competency, moving onto organizations where their skills will be valued, thus costing the organization an employee and the capital invested in them.
Career Development at Microsoft There are many different techniques Microsoft can offer to support CD, however effective career management needs effective career management activities valued by employees, training line managers, and HER staff, as well as commitment from all levels of the hierarchy and a clear alignment with the HER and Business strategy CHIP (2003). Watts (1998) listed a number or organizational systems in which businesses were adopting to support career self-management: career planning workshops, assessment centre, career resource centre, mentoring systems, regular development reviews and appraisal systems.
Microsoft demonstrates CD in many ways, by offering flexible career paths and grids, employees can become experts in a particular field or build proficiencies across many areas, they can move into managerial roles and have the opportunity to be internationally or globally mobile (Darlington et al, 2008). Managers at Microsoft provide on-going support to their employees in order for them to move forward and receive the feedback they need for their CD (Boon-Mining 2008).
Microsoft also help employees by providing them with career exploration through the help of an internal tool called Career Guide, it offers employees the chance to understand the various roles throughout Microsoft and what skills and expertise required for them to develop their career in a specific area. Microsoft also offer 2,000 training programs as part of their development schemes, in which employees have the opportunity to engage in the programmer they see most beneficial (Darlington et al, 2008).
Microsoft offer mentoring programmer to employees in order for them to build networks and opportunities (Watts, 1998). Karma (1985) (in McDonald and White, 2005) identifies various benefits that derive from having a mentor, including increased career satisfaction, success as well as psychological support. This type of practice promotes acting strategically as it helps to ensure the Rockford is well nourished and therefore improves staff retention.
Another Microsoft Employee Development practice is the use of Employee resource groups, networks and social groups, which allows individuals to connect with one another, finding similar interests and building a healthy Microsoft community in order to develop an employee’s career and lifestyle within the organization (Darlington et al, 2008). As fast developing workforce in order to “create a family of devices and services” (Babbler, 2013).
Microsoft have developed a wide range of tools and practices that support CD including career grids, support and mentoring which Hereford clearly identifies the strategic alignment between the organizational strategy and the HER strategy. By developing CD practices such as these they encourage their employees to develop and exceed faster and to the best of their ability which will help in turn to meet the strategic aims and objectives of developing new and innovative technology, this proves that Microsoft are acting strategically as a company and within HER.
Conclusion To conclude this report has critically evaluated the extent to which Microsoft have been acting strategically with regards to the strategic alignment between the organizational and HER strategy, through the use of Employee Development Practices. This report has identified the value and purpose of an organization aligning both their HER strategy with their organizational objectives (Taylor, 2008; Boxful and Purcell, 2003).
It has defined the importance of the use of SHRED within the organization (Caravan, 2007) and the necessity of Employee Development Practices in order to achieve strategic alignment and acting strategically (Harrison, 1992). Also within this report is the range of HARM literature from Barreled and Clayton (2007), that focuses n the vertical strategic integration between the HER strategy and the organizational strategy, (Schuler and Jackson, 1987; Cochin and Barbaric, 1985; Miles and Snow, 1984).
This report identified that Microsoft has adopted a holistic vertical integration relationship by offering a range of CD practices that interlink very closely with the organizational strategy (Babbler, 2013) of developing an innovative and fast developing work force. (Darlington, Hall, Taylor and Atkinson, 1998). Microsoft are acting highly strategic with regard to their CD practices (Lips-Wireman and Hall, 2007), hey exploit various different practices that adhere to the mechanisms identified that support CD (CHIP, 2003; Watts, 1998).
They do this through programs such as career paths and grids, managerial support, Career Guide (exploitation tool), training, mentoring (Karma, 1985) and also offer an employee community group that can offer support and guidance for an individual’s career (Careers. Microsoft, 2013). Microsoft have clearly established a strategic link between the HER strategy and the organizational strategy by their copious amounts of CD programs, thus proving that Microsoft are indeed acting strategically with regard to its Employee Development Practices.