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Strategic Human Resource Management at Singtel
Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel) is a Singaporean telecommunications conglomerate and a key player within the industry, which is considered as one of the most competent players among the four major telecommunications companies operating in Singapore. Singtel pioneer in providing wireless telecommunications services and the company has continued to offer a wide range of services to its global customers, including fixed-line communications, mobile communications services, data services, internet services, television services, and digital solutions (“Singapore Telecommunications Ltd”, 2021). The company has a diverse investment portfolio that extends across the region and the organisation wholly owns Optus in Australia and has minor equity stakes in Airtel in India, Telkomsel in Indonesia, Globe Telecom in the Philippines, and Advanced Information Services and Intouch in Thailand (“Singtel”, 2021). The majority share of Singtel is owned by the Singapore government (“Singtel”, 2021). Founded in 1879 in Singapore, Singtel belongs to the parent organisation, Temasek Holdings, and the company has 22,892 employees worldwide (“Singtel”, 2021). Recently, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Singtel has incurred excessive loss both financially and in terms of losing a substantial subscriber population. The company has been facing employee dissents due to its current policy of cost-cutting that has compelled the top management of Singtel to cut the wages of the employees. Considering the aforesaid events and issues, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the primary strategic objectives of Singtel are to maintain its productivity, sustainability, and profitability, recovering from the losses it has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The primary objective of the report is to discuss about how the HR of the company can play a strategic role in helping Singtel accomplish its strategic objectives. The discussion will entail the strategic role that HR can play in the organisation, the critical functions of the HR, how HR functions will contribute to the organisation’s strategic objectives, and specific HR recommendations that are essential for helping the company accomplish its strategic objectives.
How HR Can Play a Strategic Role in the Organisation
The primary strategic objective of Singtel, presently, is to maintain its productivity, sustainability, and profitability in the obscure phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and HR can play an effective strategic role in ensuring that its human resources contribute to the accomplishment of such objectives. The Human Resource (HR) department has evolved over the years in terms of promoting and ensuring effective strategic implementation. In this respect, HR should play a vital role in Singtel in the context of enhancing the efficacy of strategic human resource management and organisational management through acting as a strategic partner with the management in times of policy formulation and adoption and in times of organisation-wide policy implementation. HR can play an effective strategic partner role through appropriately performing functions like hiring, employee training and development, employee performance evaluation and rewarding, and employee retention. HR can play an effective strategic role in Singtel in terms of relating the efficacy of the human resource to effective organisational decision-making that is primarily needed to ensure that the goals and objectives of the organisation are accomplished. It has to be noted that HR can play a strategic role in the organisation by paving ways for the human resources to make a direct impact on Singtel’s growth and expansion. In this respect, it is noteworthy that the HR manager needs to adopt a strategic approach towards training and developing employees to enhance their productivity and for retaining them in the long run to support the organisation in accomplishing its long-term objectives and goals (Abeguki et al., 2014). It is noteworthy that the growth, development, and expansion of the business of any organisation rely largely on the productivity and retention of talents and in this respect, Singtel is no exception. This can be argued by citing the fact that the financial and organisational resource investment that the management of Singtel will commit to the development of talents within the organisation can only give a proper return on investment (ROI) if the concerned talents strategically contribute to the growth and development of the organisation in the long-run, and HR can play a strategic role in this regard by retaining talents in the long-run. Strategic human resource management practices and dimensions together can have substantial impacts on employee retention through effective performance appraisal and rewarding and through engaging the employees in the organisational growth and development process (Sepahvand & Khodashahri, 2021). This in turn can promote vigorous, dedicated, and absorbed job engagement which is strategically important for Singtel as an organisation (Sepahvand & Khodashahri, 2021).
Moreover, HR can play a strategic role in the organisation by aligning the plan and objectives of the senior management with the skills and competencies of the workforce, the human resource (Anwaar et al., 2016). In this respect, it has to be taken into account that HR has the responsibility to develop a strategic plan for the top management of Singtel to make them understand where the organisation is really standing in terms of the productivity and competency of the workforce (Anwaar et al., 2016). The senior leaders of Singtel might have a great vision, but that vision cannot be considered clear and accurate until and unless the leadership has a clear and accurate picture of the organisation’s current status in terms of workforce potential and productivity (Meinert, 2016). HR can come to play a vital role in this particular scenario by assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the human resources of the organisation and reporting the same accurately and thoroughly to the senior leadership and management so that they can eventually evaluate their plans and visions against the levels of workforce competency (Meinert, 2016). In this way, Singtel’s decision-making capacity will increase and its mission and vision will be in the right alignment with the actual potential and competency of its human resources. This will enhance the overall competency of the organisation strategically. Besides, HR can play an effective strategic role through identifying, addressing, and mitigating, and managing organisational conflicts. Constructive handling of organisational conflicts is essential for the strategic growth and development of an organisational and HR can be conducive to such growth through being capable of managing conflicts within the organisation (Mash & Adler, 2018). The HR needs to take the organic approach to play the role of mediator in the course of conflict resolution and management for ensuring that employees’ productivity is not lost in undue conflicts and to make sure that the organisation’s overall business processes and operations are not affected. In this respect, HR can play a significant strategic role by indulging in face-to-face transparent conversations with the employees in conflict on a personal level to win their trust and confidence, and this organic approach can be the key for HR to emerge as a strategic partner in the organisation. Recently, Singtel has to cut on the wages for compensating for the loss incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, and this has given rise to considerable resentments among the employees (Syed, 2020). If the resentment persists then it can be a strategic barrier to the growth and sustainability of Singtel in the long run which is obscured by the pandemic. Hence, HR has to play a strategic role in addressing the resentments so that they do not escalate to destructive conflicts, and HR has to do this by establishing personal rapport with resented employees so that they can be brought back to track in terms of performance, which is highly needed by Singtel to sustain its profitability amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
HR Functions Critical to the Organisation
To support the strategic objective of maintaining sustainability and profitability of Singtel, HR must effectively perform two specific functions, viz. employee performance management and change management (which is essential for Singtel for propelling the shifts that are required to adapt to the changes ushered by the COVID-19 pandemic). Employee performance management is one of the most critical functions of HR of any organisation and in this respect; the HR of Singtel is no exception (Brown et al., 2018). HR has to implement the agile approach of managing employee performance in a situation that has been made critical by the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic (Cappelli & Tavis, 2018). One of the strategic objectives of Singtel amid the COVID-19 crisis is to ensure that the workforce remains productive and it stays away from conflicts and dissents that have gradually cropped out of the management’s decision to cut down the wages to compensate for the loss that the pandemic has incurred to Singtel. In this respect, one of the pivotal critical functions of HR is to make sure that the performance of Singtel’s employees are effectively evaluated and managed to ensure that they remain productive and engaged in the process of recovering the organisation from the financial losses that the pandemic has triggered (Van Vulpen, 2020). It has to be noted that HR has to strategically align the performance management process and outcome to the long-term workforce planning model that Singtel has adopted in order to ensure that in the long run the organisation is going to recover from the losses that it has recently suffered due to loss of substantial customer base due to the COVID-19 pandemic (SHRM, 2021; Vishnoi, 2021). In this respect, HR has to entail good leadership to keep on motivating the employees to enhance their performance and it should embark on the process of clear goal-setting for the employees and provide honest performance feedback so that in the middle of the crisis the employees of Singtel can determine what right or wrong they are doing and how they can improve on their performance to attune the same with the organisation’s strategic objectives (Van Vulpen, 2020). Moreover, the HR at Singtel has to ensure effective change management as a critical HR function to make sure that the employees accept and adapt to changes made in the organisational policies compelled by the losses and deficits caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The HR has to play a critical role in ensuring organizational change and for effectively doing so (and for efficiently motivating the employees to understand the benefits of change, accept the change, and adopt the change) the HR needs to alter employees’ behaviour for supporting the change direction (Maheshwari & Vohra, 2015). In this respect, HR must perform the critical function of influencing the employees’ behaviours through institutionalizing the HR practices that are essential for advocating, supporting, and ushering the concerning organisational changes (Maheshwari & Vohra, 2015). Performing the critical function of change management, HR has to influence employees’ behaviours through enhancing its employee evaluation and support processes transparently because, in the course of change, employees are highly influenced by their positive or negative perceptions of the HR practices (Maheshwari & Vohra, 2015). Hence, HR has to create positive employee perceptions through providing timely feedback to the employees, arranging frequent meetings to communicate the need for change, and through interacting with employees on a personal level to address their queries and resolve the conflicts that may arise out of resistance to change.
How HR Functions will contribute To the Organisation’s Strategic Objectives
The strategic objectives of an organisation are those objectives that embody the big-picture goals, describing the organisation’s policies and processes that are required for fulfilling its mission both in the short- and long run (Bright et al., 2019). An organisation’s strategic objectives constitute especially the performance goals, encompassing the goal of increasing profitability, expanding the market share, penetrating into new markets, increasing employees’ productivity for accomplishing organisational growth and development, etc (Bright et al., 2019). The HR functions are going to contribute largely to Singtel’s strategic objective of maintaining profitability and sustainability at the face of the adversities posed by the COVID-19 pandemic through effectively managing employee performance, managing and resolving employee conflicts arising out of the dissents related to the organisation’s policy of cutting down the wages, and through helping employees adapt to the organisational changes. At Singtel, HR can contribute to the organisation’s strategic objective accomplishment through effective performance review for assessing the employees’ progress towards the organisation’s goals (SHRM, 2021). The HR can do so by assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the employees and recording the same regularly so that the report can be sent to the top management, strategically helping the top management in making informed and appropriate decisions regarding how to delegate job roles among different employees, ushering their career development and ensuring organisational development (SHRM, 2021). Besides, HR must perform the critical function of influencing the employees’ behaviours through institutionalizing the HR practices that are necessary for promoting, supporting, and bringing in the organisational changes that will ensure sustainability and profitability for Singtel amid the COVID-19 crisis.
It is recommended that the HR at Singtel must carry on effective employee performance management to enhance the productivity of the employees, addressing their grievances properly through providing effective feedback, information, and support so that the employees can stride towards accomplishing the organisation’s strategic objective of maintaining productivity, sustainability, and profitability in obscure situations and amid the COVID-19 crisis. For ensuring an effective employee performance management, HR must resort to effective employee appraisal tools like the 360 degree feedback that can provide the employees with timely and constructive and critical feedback necessary for their self-evaluation and self-enhancement (Taylor, 2011). Moreover, HR has to demonstrate effective leadership before the employees to alter their negative perceptions of HR to positive ones and HR must also initiate the process of clear goal-setting for the employees and so that they can assess if their performance is in alignment with the strategic goals of the organisation. Besides, the HR must play the role of effective change agent and change manager to ensure that the dissents of the employees are addressed and mitigated and to make sure that the benefits of change are properly communicated to the employees so that they can accept and adapt to the changes in the organisational policies that have been triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. And in the course of change management, HR is recommended to play a dual role, viz. initiating and leading change and facilitating the changes that the organisation’s leadership has initiated (SHRM, 2021a). This must be done to maintain an alignment between employees’ goals and objectives and the organisation’s strategic goals and objectives.