Organizational skill formation and learning initiatives are, to a great extent, the major contributors of the competitiveness achievement in an organization in the present-day economy. Consequently, the employees’ development has become a prominent practice in many organizations. Since practitioners in Human Resource Development (HRD) are primarily concerned with the development of employees’, there is a necessity for them to be highly skilled so as to guarantee the organizations changing needs are met (Johnson 1997). This is achieved by the presence of formal education programs that assist the skill acquisition by practitioners’ necessary for an effective practice. However, it is problematic in designing such programs due to the cross-disciplinary and emergent nature of the profession. This analysis highlights some challenges faced by practitioners’ in strategizing for Human Resource Development.
The major challenge facing Human Resource Development practitioners is the determination of Human Resource Development in the organization setting. In the first place, it is argued that HRD constitutes the performance improvement through strategies that aim at achieving business objectives. Thus, the true value of the practice of HRD is determined in terms of its input to organizations as opposed to the individual learning value. Therefore, any HRD activities must enable measurable outcomes with value addition connected to the process of business planning, strategic goals and mission of organizations. Moreover, it is argued that the practice of HRD should be proactive and, thus, concerned about the anticipation of forthcoming needs of the business as well as shaping the future of the organization by means of deploying contingency plans when the situation calls for. Such an orientation of the future implies that the practice of HRD comprises the improvement of the adaptability and flexibility of business units and workforces. Therefore, it should work closely with other business systems as well as suppliers or customers so as to aid in the achievement of business goals (Hamel & Prahalad 1994). Thus, a HRD perspective, that is business oriented, suggests the formulation of HRD programs that foster activities of learning that enable increased understanding by learners’ of the direction and functioning of the organization as well as the pressures faced by these organizations. Therefore, such programs should be aimed at building the capacities of learners to diagnose the future and immediate skill level requirements in the organization. In addition, the understanding of a variety of strategies is provided to the learners for communicating, as well as achieving transparent and measurable outcomes in reference to valued improvements in performance by the organizations.
On the other hand, the existences of challenges also arise in the preparation of individuals so as to undertake new vocational roles which are subjected to significant changes. Such changes have been known to render less valuable essential working knowledge. It creates a necessity for new practice and knowledge. Thus, it is argued that any strategy preparation by practitioners achieves relevance only if at least occupations and context of work changing elements are addressed. The recent literature on organizations has scrutinized the cultural and structural changes organizations make in response to the highly competitive world economy. Some of the common responses consist of: the move to less hierarchical, leaner, more team based, and more flexible structures in the organization allowing rapid responses to the economic environments that are changing; the establishment of more competitive, dynamic and participative cultures of the organization that require more accountability from individuals in terms of their performance, as well as the use of more powerful production technologies, management, and information.
These responses have led to the use of employment practices that are more flexible within enterprises and industries, hence reducing individuals’ opportunities in securing permanent employment. The employment practice flexibility has evolved new conceptualizations of both work and careers, thus calling for the understanding of the development and planning of career process. In such a constantly changing business environment, practitioners in Human Resource Development face a variety of new challenges. Firstly, they find themselves accountable for employees’ up skilling for newer roles that necessitate new mindsets concerning the carrying out of work on the employees’ part. Therefore, the practitioner in Human Resource Development may be involved in learner motivation so as to accept new and structures roles in the organization, as well as the imposition of organization cultures at a period when recognition systems and long-established reward are wearing down. Secondly, as the set time frame for the achievement of desired outcomes in the organization reduce, practitioners in HRD no longer rely on the use of HRD strategies reliant on the development events calendars that are well-established and can be implemented in the long run (Field 1997). Thirdly, practitioners in Human Resource Development are increasingly required to display their personal contribution to the achievement of valued and measurable outcomes in this context of accountability and change for the organization. The above mentioned three changes place demands as well as requirements on Human Resource Development practitioners to possess newer working knowledge forms. Thus, formal strategizing by HRD practitioners must be designed to inculcate in the practitioners the capacity to assist in shaping the organization’s response and change anticipation in the world economic environment. In so doing, practitioners in HRD will no longer rely on traditional time frames in terms of acting and models for answers. This brings up the challenge of how learners in HRD can be made responsive to the changing environment context of the organization. Rhinesmith (1995) considers that HRD should assist in “developing new mindsets and reframing boundaries” about the practice of Human Resource Development. Arguments about organizations core competencies needed for survival in the post industrial business environment are also pertinent in modern organization set up. These arguments frequently give emphasis to the organizations need of developing knowledge management and knowledge generation competencies. Moreover, they advocate that employees from most fields of occupation and all levels need to view themselves as workers of knowledge who require abstract and formal skill sets that are enhanced. In addition, learning and managerial competencies are essential core competencies in an organization for the achievement of a competitive positioning in the modern day business environment.
In conclusion, this analysis has brought forward some challenges faced by Human Resource Development practitioners in the process of strategizing. These challenges emanate from the perspectives of Human Resource Development, divergence in findings, and complexity of HRD practice sites.