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What Are the Different Types of Human Resource Management Models?

By Florence J. Tipton
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are several types of human resource management (HRM) models practiced in most companies. Basically, human resource management models span across different industries and could fall into one of two types of general categories: strategic and traditional. Often referred to as hard HRM, the strategic model typically manages the operational function between a company and employees. Traditional human resource management models, or soft HRM, deals with the strategic relational function between companies and employees.

Generally, human resource management models connect HRM strategy with the implementation of human resource functions. These functions include staffing, training and development, and motivation. The staffing function typically identifies with hard, strategic human resource management models. On the other hand, training and development and motivation are linked to soft, traditional HRM models.

As an effective strategy, HR professionals might coordinate activities among each function. Overall, these activities are related to the goals and objectives within a company. Typically, HR functions connect strategic goals and employees to produce a successful company.

Often, these models are used to harness the skill and expertise of employees with desired business outcomes. For some strategic models, the goal is to help companies remain competitive and productive. Connecting traditional models might align strategic objectives with employee needs.

For example, HR may provide channels for employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Flexible work schedules and paid time off are channels adopted by some HR departments. Allowing employees time to address personal issues could increase productivity and the employees' loyalty to the company.

Hard or strategic human resource management models consist of developing a HR strategy. Incorporating HR functions with the company’s strategic goals and mission is part of this strategy. Typically, this involves recruiting and hiring employees with the proper skill set to perform tasks.

Most companies need employees to conduct business and achieve organizational goals. Following the hard strategic model, HRM recruits and hires the right people with the appropriate skill sets. Once hired, HRM usually provides the necessary training to help the employees acclimate to the company.

The traditional HRM model could be defined as the strategic relational function between the company and employees. While the focus is still on company goals, there is a relational connection where soft HRM considers employees as valuable assets. Normally, the premise is related to employee needs such as motivation, reward, and feelings of appreciation.

As such, part of this model focuses on offering opportunities for career and personal development programs to keep employees motivated. Another aspect focuses on employee benefits and providing a safe work environment. Under this model, the development of policies, procedures, and business planning also considers the impact on employees.

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Discussion Comments
By Certlerant — On Feb 04, 2014
This is interesting. Human resources is so often associated with what most employees consider boring or negative aspects of the work experience, like filling out tax paperwork, scheduling and sexual harassment seminars.

Let's face it, no one really wants to receive a summons to the human resources office.

Not many people consider the role the human resources department plays in the actual recruiting, hiring and training aspects of a business.

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