Human resources management in South Africa role is gradually changing in today’s organizations and this requires professionals to get well equipped with the challenging role in a complex environment. The complex environment is characterized with uncertainty in the world markets, as organizations today are affected with globalization. The HR role in the past was administrative, but today in South Africa organizations have realized that in order a company to gain a competitive advantage, an employee’s uniqueness should be considered, with reference to what the company intends to achieve.

Relation HRM and performance

The past decade has also seen dramatic increases in the understanding of the relationship of Human Resources Management practices and firm performance. Consequently, Human Resource Management in South Africa is now seen as a major competitive advantage that cannot be copied readily by one’s competition. To win competitive advantage, companies invest in HR activities hoping to get better results from the overall performance of the business. In his way, companies would have to find ways to measure the contribution of Human Resources.

Senior executives once considered HR a “soft,” unavoidable cost of doing business, responsible for compensation, employee transactions, company functions, workforce problems, and legal issues. Three factors changed this perception: the significant impact of high-performance Human resources management, the implications of poorly performing HR, and soaring HR operating expenses. These factors have led to an increased demand and focus on HR metrics. Urich (1997) asserts that the role of the Human Resource Practitioners has shifted to that of a strategic partner, a change agent and an employee champion.

Strategic management role

The professionals have to work closely with the line managers when carrying out plans for the organization. This calls for the human resource management role to be strategic, which means that their role should formulate and implement plans which are long run success and which enable the organization to gain competitive advantage in the global market. Some Organizations have realized the importance of aligning their business processes with the vision, goals and the purpose of the organization, hence they have implemented the balanced score card.

A balanced score card is a management tool which focuses not only on financial outcomes but also on the operational, marketing and developmental inputs to these, the Balanced Scorecard helps provide a more comprehensive view of a business, which in turn helps organizations act in their best long-term interests. Financial measures are useful but they tend to measure the past and they tend to measure the easily measurable. They are thus unbalanced measures taking a particular view of a situation. They also often tell us what has happened but fail to explain why it has happened. They may suggest where things are going wrong, but again often fail to highlight where things are going well.Hence both financial and non-financial aspects of the organization should be put in to account in trying to bring out the balanced view of the organization.

Strategy which is at the heart of the process is derived from an organisation’s vision and mission. The strategy determines what is to be measured, and measures are often referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs), which will be used to determine progress towards achieving the strategic aims. The mission of water Utilities Corporation is to provide a quality water service that is, providing both quality and the service that accompanies its delivery to the customer. The vision is to become a reliable, innovative and customer focused organization, where the customer interest is deeply entrenched in its vision statement and that customer service delivery plays a pivotal role in the success of the corporation.

The Balanced scorecard is tool that organizations today have adopted to implement their strategy. The original concept was developed by Kaplan & Norton and it’s premised on the notion that for an organization to do well, it has to have a comprehensive view of a business which does not only focus on financial outcomes but is also focused on its customers, processes and people. For this reason, the Balanced Scorecard is used to manage performance based on four perspectives namely:

• Financial perspective

• Customer & Market perspective

• Internal Business Process perspective

• Learning and Growth perspective

When using the Balanced Scorecard to manage performance, strategic objectives have to be developed under each perspective at a corporate level. This is then referred to as the corporate scorecard. Thereafter Departments/Business units would then develop their scorecards and these have to be used to develop individual scorecards. In this manner we would they ensure alignment of an organization strategy with human resource management.


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