There are a number of differences between action-oriented and people-oriented HRM departments. One of the most distinctive differences lays in the approach that each of the different methods take to the role of human resources. It’s important to note that a good HRM department is both people and action-oriented. An action-oriented HRM is one that seeks to further the organization by solving problems through taking actions. These actions are typically resolved based on a set of rational actions and not on a set of strict policies and procedures.
The action-oriented department is all about people and how the HRM department can work to solve the problems of those individuals. An example would be an HRM team that has a recruiting department that is focused simply on bringing in new individuals to the organization. The lack of standard record keeping doesn’t mean that adequate records are not kept it simply means that the department is focused primarily on progress and not on procedures.
An example of a company that falls under an action-oriented HRM is Exxon Mobile. The difference in the people-oriented HRM department is that the entire focus of the HR team is on the individual and how those individuals can benefit the organization. It takes a slightly different approach as it is more proactive than reactive. The reason is that a people-oriented HRM department focuses on the talents and skills of individuals in the organization and how those skills can best be used in the organization.
By matching employees and skills to problems that must be addressed within the organization the HRM team serves to provide a strategic advantage in that HRM is leading rather than simply dealing with reactionary problems or employees who may be unhappy in their current roles. An example of people-oriented HRM is the assessment of individual skills by which assignments will be presented. A good company example of people-oriented HRM is Apple Computer. While both methods are valid they do take a different approach to how HRM is handled.
The method that is used will be determined by the senior HRM director which will set the role of HRM and how it will be managed in the individual organization. Finally, it should be noted that action-oriented and people-oriented HRM are not mutually exclusive and some organizations may function better with one method over another depending on the type of business.