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Strategic vs. Traditional HR Management - What is the Difference

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Did you know there are different types of HR management? Find out the difference between traditional and strategic HR management.


Did you know there are different human resource management practices?

Strategic HR management and traditional HR management take two different approaches to manage a company’s personnel. In this blog, we explain the differences between the two approaches.


Traditional HR Management
In a traditional HR management role, the HR professional is reactively working. They do not educate workers about responsibilities or how their work will be done; they assume their managers will go over their work and that the employee will pick up the training while on the job.

In general, they are working to solve employee problems, manage labor relations, and keep their employees happy.

Examples of traditional HR management tasks:

  • Placing ads for jobs when a department requests a role to be filled
  • Responding to questions employees have on benefits and payroll
  • Terminating employees

Because this role is reactive, the tasks may sometimes need to be rushed or fragmented.


Strategic HR Management
In contrast, strategic human resource management (SHRM) has a broader approach. A strategic HR manager is focused on forming a long-term strategy. For example, when they are looking to hire for a position, they are considering future growth projections and goals of the company.

While traditional HR managers work reactively, strategic HR managers work proactively.

Examples of strategic HR management tasks:

  • Recruiting employees based on long-term goals
  • Training employees
  • Creating the employee handbook
  • Developing ways to help employees reach the company’s goals


Contemporary HR Management
Many modern businesses recognize the importance of their HR managers playing a strategic role. Contemporary HR managementtends to focus on aligning their people strategy with business goals. HR managers are often viewed as partners and business leaders in today’s global companies.

However, it is not uncommon for HR management to struggle with finding the time to focus on strategic functions. Since human resource managers are often managing many administrative and risk mitigation tasks that require significant time and resources, they often take precedence over strategic activities.

Human resource management practices will continue to evolve with changes in the market and with modern business practices. While HR has moved into the direction of strategic HR management, it is not uncommon for today’s HR managers to manage with a traditional approach.

If you are considering a career in human resource management, our Master of Science degree with a concentration in Human Resource Management offers hands-on experience. Students can participate in case competitions and consulting opportunities during their studies. Get more details about our program here