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The competition in the business environment and swiftness of changes calls for more emphasis in the prioritization of human capital in all organizations. This has made many organizations introduce strategic human resource management in order to take charge of the organization’s future direction. This was not the case back when organizations tried to produce just to meet the prevailing demand. Managers focused in the investment of better equipment to speed up production with little acknowledgement of the organization’s most valuable resource, which is human capital.

Today, all organizations irrespective of the industry in which they are trading must manage the following four types of resources: money, people, equipment and information. As noted above, equipment will speed up production as well as reduce waste. Information about the products and the market is also highly essential to the business. However, people cut across as the major determinants of success in the organization. Managers all over the world are now appreciating the fact that companies with super efficient equipments and information systems can still fail if the employees are not productive, (Wooten & Decker 1996).

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Driven by the need to create sustainable productivity and maximize returns from the owners’ investments, organizations are now adopting strategic human resource management concepts. Human resources managers are expanding their investments in the people by incorporating training and development, competency development, leadership development, evaluation and appraisal as well as shaping the organizational culture for better results.

The service industry has not been an exception in this worldwide phase of dynamism. In fact, this industry relies more on the competency and motivation of its workers in order to perform and create customer value. Delivering quality services to clients is the core business here, which makes the industry put human resources before any other type of resource. This paper, discusses how learning and growth, competency development, corporate culture, leadership development, and measurement and appraisal among other strategic human resource management concepts, can be used to drive performance in a service providing organization as well as how they can contribute to the creation of the desired customer value. For this essay, I have chosen Mayo Clinic to be my case for their extraordinary track of performance as well as the emphasis they are known to put in the development of their employees. It is this exceptional performance that did put Mayo Clinic on the list of hundred best companies to work for in the United States for eight years in a row as published by the Fortune Magazine.

Mayo Clinic is the number one and the largest integrated non-profit-making organization in the world’s health care service industry. It brings doctors of all specialties together from different parts of the globe to take care of the patients’ needs. This organization has employed more than three thousand and three hundred physicians, researchers and scientists who work closely with a staff base of about forty six thousand health workers.

The assumption that not-for-profit organizations lack enough incentives to perform does not apply in this organization. It is impressive how they create a unique organization and keep on thriving even in this volatile business environment especially in a period of time when healthcare costs are increasing. The Clinic’s mission is to avail the best healthcare services to all patients using an integrated organizational practice and extensive research. The Clinic’s comprehensive research department and the Mayo College of Medicine aim at preparing all the medical professionals for tomorrow’s health care.

Over years, Mayo Clinic has achieved a lot, which most business scholars agree that it was indeed due to the appropriate strategies applied on the workforce management. The Human Resources function in the organization has been leading in the structuring and delivery of Mayo’s Model of Care. The current trends in the environment of healthcare business call for high need of creating and maintaining sustainable performance by hospitals like Mayo making their role on the workforce and Human resources even more critical than the other organizations.

In the simplest terms, investing in training and development can make employees more productive or effective in performing their jobs and thus contributing directly to the performance of the organization and creation of customer value. An intensive research on the topic of managerial training where trainees were trained on six different contents using seven knowledge imparting methods and four different training procedures resulted in a conclusion that managerial training effectiveness is fairly moderate. Even after evaluating other related documented studies, which involved government officials, the military and the medical personnel, just to mention a few, it was still clear that managerial training was moderately effective. However, this is a substantial effect that should not be neglected.

A proper cost benefit analysis would show clearly that the organization will not only save a lot in the short run but also transform itself to a higher level of productivity in the long run. For instance, a training program on seventy bank supervisors that cost the bank fifty thousand dollars proved to increase the organization’s utility from thirty four thousand dollars in the first year to one hundred and eight thousand dollars by the end of the third year and even one hundred forty eight thousand dollars by the closing of the fifth year, (Edwards 2005).

The main aim of learning and growth programs is to increase employees’ capabilities, as well as the organizational capabilities. Mayo Clinic takes this with an unusual importance, and that’s why they spend billions on scientific research and the Mayo College of Medicine. The allied healthcare staff of workers is encouraged to further their knowledge in the college or any universities to help them improve their medical competency. Numerous incentives are given to the enrolling employees. This explains why the Clinic’s quality of healthcare services keeps on improving even after outmatching the other players in the industry.

Researchers and scientists work day and night in finding cures to non-curable conditions and diseases as well as improving the existing procedures and therapies. The organization’s learning and growth programs aim at improving individual performance of the service providers but more importantly increasing the team performance. Mayo Clinic puts a lot of emphasis on “working together”. The use of training and development to reinforce this norm intertwines with the human resource management function of shaping the organizational culture (Holland 2007). Healthcare staff, management and the physicians attend remarkably fruitful organizational seminars that help in promoting the same agendas. The Clinic has also an extremely busy press division, which prepares and prints all the necessary educative brochures, journals and memorandums not only for the staff but also the patients and the public at large.

Competences are some of the latest concepts used to differentiate organizations and explain their competitiveness in the market. Firms with similar functional qualities like say the strategy applied in the product-market can still perform differently due to their different levels of competences. Organizations with higher competencies manage to offer customers superior value in their services.

Competence consists of technology, organizational structure and people. Therefore, it can range from a simple one technology and a few workers to an extremely complex functional organization with numerous technologies and employees. However, the crucial thing is that competence keeps on changing and organizations should be ready to evolve dynamically with the environment. The Healthcare industry makes use of highly complex technologies, which just like any other forms of technology keeps on changing, (Godard 2004). Mayo Clinic integrates learning and development with competency development especially in situations where employees need training on the current technologies. The clinic manages to save a lot costs in the replacement of competences as workers can access the necessary training and development as already discussed.

Corporate culture or organizational culture may not be that easy to explain or define in an organization. However, we can generally say that it is composed of a number of shared values, behaviors, beliefs and symbols that guide people’s decisions and actions unconsciously. Such values can have an immense effect on the organization's operation both positively and negatively. The human resource management takes upon itself to mould corporate culture by discouraging negative values and encouraging the positive ones.

In most cases, culture binds the members of a certain organization together and may be giving them a direction. Strategic human resource management takes advantage of such cultures by creating and reinforcing their own ways of doing things for the better performance of the organization. Mayo Clinic for instances builds a culture of teamwork by providing a uniquely integrated practice that promotes 'working together’. The strategic human resource managers call it a culture of team work, (Strom 2001).

As noted above, these cultural values and norms can be positively used to make platforms for certain concrete actions aimed at solving different difficult challenges instead of visualizing it as an informal and disorganized substitute for procedural and responsible problem solving. Bad cultures need to be modified first or get rid of.

Among the highly lifted qualities in Mayo Clinic is the culture of teamwork. The famous Mayo brothers innovatively approached the field of medicine by making this organization embrace multidisciplinary model in the provision of healthcare to patients, which promotes better treatment and discovery of new procedures and cures. All the staff from the top to the bottom work together in a cooperative atmosphere and with exceptionally minimal squabbling. What the human resource department did to attain this kind harmony was as simple as scrapping all the incentives in the remuneration. Incentive-free salaries gave employees no reason to compete and therefore, fostering an extremely deep level of cooperation for the achievement of the greater good for all the stakeholders. After extremely long years of reinforcing this norm, Mayo can now be proud of achieving the teamwork culture and enjoying all the benefits that come with it.

Mayo Clinic is able to offer a higher level of healthcare since physicians work in teams formed depending on the medical necessities of the patient as well as their preferences. This fastens the treatment procedure making it possible to save more patients than in a normal hospital situation. For example, a team of doctors can diagnose a highly complex condition in a patient, propose the required treatment and slot the patient for surgery in less than 24 hours. This brings out an overall effect of orderliness, function and most importantly, vigor.

In this industry where equipment and modern technology are extremely expensive, cooperation in the working environment becomes extremely crucial. Other medical institutions use teams too, but Mayo’s techniques of collaborating activities being undertaken in the organization, not only in treatment but also in policy making and leadership, stand out as exceptional (Ferris & Perrewe 2007).

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