Human Resource Management (HRM) function has evolved from its traditional administrative and transactional role to a strategic business partner that drives organisation transformation and performance.

This development has also changed this function name from HRM to Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) and it is expected to contribute value required in developing internal organisational competencies that sustain organisational performance.

All organisations are currently having a challenge of operating in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment, and SHRM is expected to lead in managing this change by taking a proactive and innovative approach of building agile and resilient organisations through people.

However, this is not the case in Botswana because close to 90 percent of HRM departments are still administrative and transactional. They still believe adding value in the organisation is through administration of human resource policies and implementation of labour laws.

This old thinking declines HRM brand and make it to lose value. For example, in the current modern business world, HRM specialists are still calculating work experience on the number of years an employee has worked instead of the number of strategic contributions leading to performance excellence.

As a result of that, HRM has failed many organisations because they use wrong measurement to hire wrong people who then fail to bring expected results. If this was not the case, then Botswana should not be having issues of poor service delivery, poor project implementation, poor leadership and frequent retrenchments caused by wastage in operations and inability of businesses to retain their customers and sustain their market shares.

Moreover, HRM functions that are still administrative and transactional contribute to toxic culture because they are rigid and biased, instead of being a neutral function that strikes a balance between the interest of the employees and employer, they will rather choose the employer side and that has resulted in abuse of workers’ rights and poor quality of life of workers.

This is a state that can never deliver positive performance results because the law of reciprocity, demonstrate that workers tend to give back the same level of treatment they receive from their employer in their work.

This article discusses the current trends of this function commonly practiced in high performing organisations in the world. One of the roles of SHRM is a culture architect which is a role that supports the leadership team in defining, building, and sustaining a high-performance culture using its expertise of organisational behaviour, human social systems, organisational design, and organisational dynamics.

It is imperative to humanise the employees’ work experience and shift from a culture that perceives employees as simple resources. Employees are human beings with feelings and that means our management approach should be more human rather than being transactional.

Another role is the business intelligence or people analytics role of this function. Sustainable organisations are future oriented, and this function should play a key role of building indigenous intelligent systems where HR Information Analysts continuously generate insights and foresights from the employees’ results and the market to provide management with strategic information to make correct human resource decisions.

In addition to the above, SHRM function has a role to brand the organisation by ensuring that it values and takes care of its employees so that it can retain them and attract talented employees in the future.

Some organisations fail to attract talent because of negative image associated with harsh treatment of workers. Who will want to work in a toxic environment anywhere? This means strategic activities such as employees’ engagement and experience surveys are vital in creating a motivated and engaged workforce.

Moreover, another role of SHRM is to be employees’ mental health and wellbeing advocate. Many organisations have become source of mental health, and HR specialists are not doing anything to improve toxic working environment.

Many employees have reached burnout, their workload is beyond the normal load a human being can take and they need serious mental and physical help. This situation has resulted in many employees in Europe and America quitting their jobs post Covid-19 pandemic because they realised that their organisations have been deteriorating their lives.

Furthermore, another role of SHRM is work systems Architect. Some of the performance problems are caused by poorly designed work systems and this is one of the important strategic roles of SHRM to correct. The work systems that worked for any organisation is not guaranteed that it will work for them in the future especially in a fast-changing world.

For instance, one of the new approaches of creating a high performing organisation is to form self-directed (High- performance teams) that have proven to be highly-effective in delivering positive performance results.

The Author is a member of African Excellence Forum, Holds Master of Science Degree in Strategic Management and is a Certified Manager of Quality and Organisational Excellence from America Society for Quality. Six Sigma Greenbelt, ISO 9001:2015 Certified. Contact: 72211182, Website: Email: [email protected] LinkedIn: Veron Mosalakatane