A firm's human resources practices will determine whether or not it is able to recruit and retain a competitive workforce. But how can a firm know if its HR practices are capable of achieving the desired results? This can be answered by using a SWOT analysis, to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a firm's HR practices.
Strengths of HR Practices
Evaluating the strengths of HR practices allows managers to understand what the firm does correctly. An example of an HR recruitment practice strength might be having a strong network of recruiters or developing a unique online recruitment system that makes it easier for potential employees to apply. These strengths have the potential to give the firm a competitive advantage over its competitors.
Weaknesses of HR Practices
HR practice weaknesses give a firm a picture of what it can improve about its HR practices. While HR practice strengths highlight a firm's potential advantages, HR practice weaknesses highlight a firm's potential disadvantages. An example of an HR practice weakness could be if a firm has a poor reputation as an employer. This poor reputation will have a negative effect on recruitment activities and place the firm at a disadvantage when it comes to staffing.
Opportunities for HR Practices
HR practice opportunities provide firms with the potential to improve their HR practices. Examples of new opportunities might include new geographic markets to recruit from or new technologies to improve recruitment efforts for example. A firm should try to use its strengths to capitalize on potential opportunities for HR practices. For instance, if a firm has strong technological capabilities, it may want to exploit new technological opportunities to improve its recruitment, such as building a database of potential recruits.
Threats to HR Practices
Even the most successful HR practices can face threats. A threat to an HR practice is the possibility that the practice may no longer be viable. This can happen due to changes to the workforce, economic changes and even political changes. For example, if a firm uses the HR practice of recruiting highly educated university graduates, a threat to this practice could be a dwindling supply of qualified graduates or increased competition for graduates. Firms must be able to recognize these threats so that they can prevent them or adjust their HR practices accordingly.