However, it is important to remember that, in reality, these two approaches are somewhat academic in nature. In real businesses, an HR department or manager would be likely to adopt elements of both soft and hard HR, and in many cases would not be interested in the slightest in the distinction! The key features of the hard and soft approach to HR can be summarised as follows: Hard HR ManagementSoft HR Management
Treats employees simply as a resource of the business (like machinery & buildings) Strong link with corporate business planning – what resources do we need, how do we get them and how much will they costTreats employees as the most important resource in the business and a source of competitive advantage Employees are treated as individuals and their needs are planned accordingly Focus of HRM: identify workforce needs of the business and recruit & manage accordingly (hiring, moving and firing)Focus of HRM: concentrate on the needs of employees – their roles, rewards, motivation etc Key featuresKey features
Short-term changes in employee numbers (recruitment, redundancy)Strategic focus on longer-term workforce planning Minimal communication, from the top downStrong and regular two-way communication Pay – enough to recruit and retain enough staff (e.g. minimum wage)Competitive pay structure, with suitable performance-related rewards (e.g. profit share, share options) Little empowerment or delegationEmployees are empowered and encouraged to seek delegation and take responsibility Appraisal systems focused on making judgements (good and bad) about staffAppraisal systems focused on identifying and addressing training and other employee development needs Taller organisational structuresFlatter organisational structures Suits autocratic leadership...