What is the Importance of the Harvard Model in Talent Management?

Amelia Jackson
4 min readMay 13, 2024

The Harvard model is one of the popular HR theories that leads to an effective human resource management policy. This strategic plan empowers companies to align and leverage their employees according to their business vision and goals.

This model has been gaining ground since 1984 when Harvard Business School attempted to devise methods to simplify HRM or human resources management. Today, this method is found effective in helping organizations optimize their resources and achieve incredible growth.

Let’s dive in and understand the Harvard HRM model and importance of Harvard model in talent management.

What Is the Harvard HRM Model?

The Harvard HRM model is a ‘soft HRM’ approach that prioritizes people’s needs and preferences rather than focusing on outcomes. According to the Harvard Model of Human Resource Management, employees are valuable assets and not liabilities. Harvard HRM also encourages people to perform the best in their roles.

This approach includes employee-friendly HR policies, organizational strategies, and successful techniques to achieve the organization’s objectives.

✅ Harvard HRM Model Framework

Harvard HRM Model Framework is built on five basic concepts:

Situational Factors

Internal and external situational factors affect people’s job performance. According to this model, you must properly consider both sets of outside and inside factors while drafting HR policies. The outside forces include the economy, job market, competitors, technologies, compliance and law, government policies, etc. The internal situational factors are business strategy, company culture, business structure, etc.

Stakeholder Interests

The Harvard Model focuses on different groups of people and how they want the HRM policies to look! The HRM process involves internal management, unions, employee groups, government, community, etc. This model discusses the importance of consulting with the people in the company’s decisions and making a comprehensive HR plan for effective outcomes. This provides a feeling of inclusion in the people and prevents rights violations, too.

Human Resource Management policies

HRM policies result from business strategy and company performance in different verticals, such as recruitment, compensation, training, and development. HR plans ensure that the company complies with legal guidelines and processes. It is also vital to ensure that the company adapts to new changes.

HRM Results

There can be four HR outcomes or 4Cs with good HR plans.

  • Congruence — Efficient handling of people, their jobs, and the company.
  • Commitment- A promise to perform excellently and reach organizational objectives.
  • Cost-effectiveness — Lowering costs and keeping the employees motivated.
  • Competence — honing the employee skills.

Long-Term Effects

Good HRM practices can have lasting benefits for a company. Fair and effective HR policies keep employees engaged, satisfied, productive, and profitable. This improves the workplace culture and fosters an environment of respect and values.

✅ Why is the Harvard Model Important?

There are many benefits of the Harvard Model, such as:

Collaboration

Harvard’s HRM model is useful in establishing good communication and understanding between people from different domains and hierarchies.

Positive Workplace

This model helps to create a positive and productive workplace that can foster an environment of trust and respect towards each other.

HR policies

This holistic approach formulates people-friendly HR policies and long-term planning. The model makes policies that also protect the interests of stakeholders.

Skill Building as per Company Vision

The model helps to align job roles with organizational needs and values. It aims to fill strategic gaps and develop training programs to build relevant skills.

Talent Lifecycle

HRM talent management manages the entire talent lifecycle, from sourcing the talent having the right mix of skills to employee retention strategies.

Performance Measurement

The effective Harvard HRM model also monitors and measures performance through formal appraisal systems, positive feedback, support, etc. This collaborative and two-way process focuses on setting realistic goals and aligning employee objectives with organizational needs.

Employee Development

This model ensures ongoing employee development by identifying skill gaps, anticipating future trends, and implementing targeted training and development. HRM can prepare employees for current and future challenges through initiatives like formal education, training programs, on-the-job learning, etc.

Wrapping Up

The Harvard HRM model is commended for its holistic approach. It has been helping talent leaders and strategists to strike a balance between employees, management, and stakeholders. It works on a robust framework that can lead to superior job performance and accomplishment of company objectives.

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Amelia Jackson

Human Resource Professional. Passionate about Human Resources. Writing has always been a passion with strong interest in talent management & HR Industry.