Learning from the Past, Planning for the Future: Strategic People Management and its Vital Role in Today's Uncertain Times

Brown D, Armstrong M |   | Institute for Employment Studies | Feb 2020

cover image

Over recent years, the HR function has been criticised for a lack of strategic insight and being either unwilling or unable to engage in strategic workforce planning; and for engaging in a monetarist conspiracy to ‘sell out’  the workforce and ‘sweat’ the employee assets, so as to line the pockets of senior management and their stakeholders.

In this exclusive HR Network report, Duncan Brown and Michael Armstrong use evidence from a recent study carried out in partnership with the CIPD, to look at how strategic people management appears to be emerging in response to these contemporary challenges and criticisms; and how based on the evidence so far, it can offer a way forward to uniting the often dissonant and sometimes competing perspectives of HR policy and practice; and ‘head and heart’.

The study, which was carried out through 2018 and 2019, looked at the evolution of ideas of Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) and workforce planning since those early years of their application in the UK context, and includes case study research in four deliberately different employers.

This paper looks at:

  • findings from the study, running through the adoption in this country of the concept of SHRM imported from North America, and what its influence and impact has been since then;
  • findings from the case study research as to just how strategic people management and HR functions really are in these four deliberately very different types of employer;
  • implications for our members and HR practitioners looking to enhance their role and impact resulting from the conceptual shift that appears to be occurring.

This publication is for members only.