New Book by UB Management Professor Shows Businesses How to Implement "Strategic" Human Resources

Release Date: April 27, 2001 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A new book co-authored by a University at Buffalo School of Management professor shows how "human resources" can be transformed from its traditional administrative-support role into a powerful source of competitive advantage for a company or organization.

In "The HR Scorecard: Linking People, Strategy and Performance," Brian Becker, UB professor of organization and human resources, and co-authors Mark A. Huselid, associate professor of human resources strategy at Rutgers University, and Dave Ulrich, professor of business administration at the University of Michigan, describe the creation of a "high-performance" HR system designed to enhance the strategic value of human resources and measure its impact on business performance.

According to Becker, the goal of the book is to provide a framework by which senior managers and human-resources professionals can align human-resource functions with the overall strategy of an organization, thereby broadening the strategic role of HR and adding measurable value to its activity.

"In many firms, executives want to believe that 'people are our most important asset,' but they can't understand how the HR function makes that vision a reality, and they are skeptical of HR's role in the firm's success," explains Becker. "We show how human resources can be managed as a strategic asset that creates value for an organization."

Published by Harvard Business School Press, the book is based on the authors' study of nearly 3,000 firms over the past 10 years. Case examples within the book illustrate how companies with strategic, high-performance HR systems have consistently outperformed their peers.

Drawing upon those results, the authors recommend implementation of an "HR Scorecard" within the organization -- a seven-step process for developing a strategically focused HR system that will reinforce and measure the impact of human resources on business performance.

The HR Scorecard model:

1. Clearly Define Business Strategy

2. Build a Business Case for HR as a Strategic Asset

3. Create a Strategy Map

4. Identify HR Deliverables within the Strategy Map

5. Align the HR Architecture with HR Deliverables

6. Design the Strategic HR Measurement System

7. Implement Management by Measurement

The scorecard model, the authors say, makes HR the foundation of successful strategy implementation. They show how to link HR results to important business measures -- including profitability and shareholder value -- that managers and senior executives can use to assess strategic performance. Their model builds upon the popular "balanced scorecard" framework that incorporates both financial and non-financial results as measures of organizational performance.

"Implementing an HR Scorecard will enable human-resources professionals to become full strategic partners in their organizations," says Becker. "More importantly, these ideas will allow organizations to profitably manage their most important intangible asset -- their people."

Media Contact Information

John Della Contrada
Vice President for University Communications
521 Capen Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260
Tel: 716-645-4094 (mobile: 716-361-3006)
Twitter: UBNewsSource