6.250.1 Policies, Requirements, Responsibilities, and Strategies


  1. The purpose of this Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) is to establish general principles, concepts, and policies that govern human resources management (HRM) activities and practices within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These requirements constitute the framework for managing employees in an efficient and effective manner while ensuring adherence to Federal Human Resources (HR) laws, rules, and regulations.

  2. HRM involves all of the activities that relate to attracting, developing, sustaining, managing, and retaining a high-quality and diverse workforce. Strategic HRM is the creative, mission-oriented, results-driven approach to HRM. It provides IRS managers with the HR tools necessary to properly plan, develop, organize, and accomplish core programs and operations. This requires:

    1. Significantly heightened sensitivity on the part of the HR function to the mission and goals of the Service;

    2. Knowledge to identify HRM issues, problems, and opportunities potentially affecting the accomplishment of the Service's mission or goals; and

    3. Willingness to reconfigure HR policies, procedures, and programs again and again as circumstances require.

  3. A fundamental concept of HRM within the IRS is to provide high-quality, cost-effective policies, programs, and services that demonstrate positive contributions to achieving the mission of the agency. In the IRS, the primary responsibility for managing human resources is placed on the Service's managers who have accountability for overall mission performance.

  4. The effectiveness of human resources management will be judged on two bases: legal/regulatory compliance and mission-related outcome and results. This balanced approach requires IRS managers to comply with legal and regulatory requirements while maximizing the mission effectiveness of their HR decisions and practices.

General Standards and Requirements for HRM

  1. HRM policies, procedures, and practices within the IRS will be consistent with and support the Merit System Principles outlined in 5 U.S.C. 2301(b). In upholding these Merit System Principles, Service managers will avoid or prevent the occurrence of any of the Prohibited Personnel Practices identified in 5 U.S.C. 2302(b).

  2. IRS supervisors and managers will not discriminate when carrying out HRM policies, procedures, and practices because of race, sex, martial status, age, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, lawful political affiliation, labor organization membership, or handicapping condition.

  3. IRS employees will be placed in jobs for which they are qualified, and will be given equal opportunities for advancement. Selection to fill positions shall be made impartially on the basis of merit and fitness.

  4. IRS employees’ work performance will be evaluated fairly and objectively on a scheduled basis, and the results of such evaluations will be discussed with employees. Training and development required to improve present job performance and meet future skill needs will be provided.

  5. IRS employees have the right, without interference, coercion, restraint, or reprisal, to join or refrain from joining any lawful labor organization or employee association. When employees are represented by a recognized labor organization, management officials and supervisors will endeavor to build a relationship with the organization based upon mutual respect and trust.

  6. IRS employees with a grievance or complaint will be accorded a fair and prompt discussion with their immediate supervisor; and, failing prompt and satisfactory adjustment, have the right to pursue the matter under an applicable grievance or complaint system. When employees present a grievance or complaint, supervisors and managers will assure that employees are free from interference, restraint, or reprisal, and that they understand that they may be accompanied and assisted by a representative.

  7. IRS supervisors and managers will treat employees with full regard for their dignity as individuals, and will encourage them to express themselves concerning improvement of work methods and working conditions. Employees and their recognized labor organizations will be informed in advance, insofar as possible, of plans and policies affecting them and their employment.

  8. IRS employees have the right to discuss their problems with their supervisor, HR office specialist, equal employment opportunity officer or counselor, labor organization representative, a person designated to provide guidance, or a supervisory or management official of higher grade or organizational level than the immediate supervisor (provided such higher-level official agrees to consult with the employee).

  9. IRS supervisors will represent management in the administration of HR policy and labor-management agreements. They will provide progressive and constructive leadership, and ensure that all employees understand what is expected of them, to whom they are responsible, and the expected work relationships with fellow workers.

  10. HRM authorities will be delegated to the lowest practical level based upon local circumstances. The decentralization of HRM authorities supports the Service's concept that these authorities are key elements of the overall responsibility of individual IRS supervisors and managers, and directly relate to their ability to achieve timely, effective, and efficient mission results.

Issuing and Revising HRM Policies, Procedures, and Programs

  1. HRM policies, procedures, and programs will be developed in accordance with existing legal requirements, applicable regulations of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), decisions of the Comptroller General (CG), and directives issued by the Department of the Treasury.

  2. Servicewide HRM policies, procedures, and programs will be developed in conjunction with the Human Resources Policy Council (HRPC). The Council serves as the principal corporate HR policy-making body and strategic HR advisor to the Commissioner and senior staff.

  3. HRM policies, procedures, and programs in the IRS, whether established at the national level or business-unit level, will be issued only when necessary to interpret or supplement a statute or federal policy or rule, or to meet the unique requirements of the IRS or an individual business unit.


    The following definition applies to the term business unit when used in Strategic Human Resources' IRMs that are included in Part 6 of the Servicewide IRM system: A business unit is one of ten stand-alone organizational divisions. They include four operating divisions (Wage and Investment, Small Business/Self-Employed, Large and Mid-Size Business, and Tax Exempt and Government Entities); four functional divisions (National Taxpayer Advocate, Appeals, Criminal Investigation, and Communications and Liaison); and two shared services/support divisions (Agency-Wide Shared Services and Modernization and Information Technology Services).

  4. In the case of employees covered by negotiated collective bargaining agreements, those agreements can supersede or modify Servicewide policies, procedures, and programs where the Service has discretionary authority. IRS bargaining agreements cannot, however, modify statutory or governmentwide regulatory policies or rules.

  5. All matters or issues affecting Servicewide or governmentwide policy or requests for additional authorities, flexibilities, or variances (Treasury, OPM, and GAO) must be referred to the SHR organization for consideration.

  6. The SHR organization will establish and maintain a vigorous and aggressive program for evaluating HRM policies, procedures, programs, and other activities as a basis for ensuring legal and regulatory compliance, and for making improvements that facilitate IRS mission accomplishments and strategic goals. HR management issues that will be addressed include the HR tools, processes, and systems used to support HRM programs and goals.


    IRM 6.273.1 provides information, procedures, and requirements relating to the Merit System Assessment Program administered by the SHR organization.

  7. HRM policies, procedures, and programs in the IRS will be designed to achieve organizational excellence through a flexible, stable workforce with the competence to do the job well, and to realize a cost and mission-effective return on HR-related investments. The effective use of IRS employees is a responsibility shared by IRS managers and their HR staffs. Generally, IRS managers are primarily accountable for the program impact of HRM decisions, while the HR staffs are primarily accountable for the regulatory compliance of the action. However, IRS managers and HR staffs are expected to work in partnership with emphasis on shared accountability for mission-effective and legally compliant workforce management policies and practices.

Key HRM Responsibilities

  1. Commissioner of Internal Revenue. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue has overall responsibility in all matters pertaining to the employment, direction, and general administration of the IRS workforce. These authorities are redelegated to subordinate officials that best support the efficient and effective use of the Service's human resources. The following are the applicable statutory and departmental authorities:

    • 5 U.S.C. 1104, Delegation of Authority for Personnel Management

    • Internal Revenue Code, Section 7804(a), Other Personnel

    • Department of the Treasury Order 102-01, Delegation of Authority Concerning Personnel Management

  2. Human Resources Policy Council (HRPC). The HRPC is responsible for providing strategic HR advice to the Commissioner and senior staff on Servicewide HR policy issues and direction including oversight of their implementation by the business units and the National Headquarters. The HRPC also performs the key function of coordinating Servicewide HR issues, policies, and strategies to ensure that cross-division linkages are established and operate effectively. The responsibilities, membership, and operations of the HRPC are described in Exhibit 6.250.1-1.


    The National Headquarters consists of the following principal organizations:

    • Senior Counselor to the Commissioner/Director of Practice

    • Chief Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity

    • Chief Financial Officer

    • Strategic Human Resources

    • Office of Tax Administration Coordination

    • Research, Analysis and Statistics of Income

    • Compliant Processing and Analysis Group

    • National Headquarters Management and Finance

  3. Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO). The CHRO is responsible for providing leadership and direction of the SHR organization in the planning, development, execution, and evaluation of HRM policies, procedures, programs, and requirements necessary to support IRS managers, supervisors, and employees. This includes the development of legislation, policies, or authorities that support innovative and flexible HRM that best meets mission requirements. The CHRO's authority is established in IRM

  4. Human Resources Directors for the Business Units and the National Headquarters. These officials are responsible for implementing or customizing policies, procedures, programs, and requirements established by the CHRO. This includes providing positive and expert HRM assistance and services to their managers, supervisors, and employees that take into consideration their unique business requirements. The most significant authorities delegated by the Commissioner are set forth in the following HR-related delegation orders:

    • Delegation Order 27 (as revised), Authority to Administer Oaths Required by Law in Connection with Employment in the Federal Service

    • Delegation Order 92 (as revised), Procurement of Training Using Standard Form (SF)-182, Request, Authorization, Agreement and Certification of Training

    • Delegation Order 102 (as revised), Delegation of Authority in Labor-Management Relations Matters

    • Delegation Order 105 (as revised), Authority to Engage in Outside Employment, Business, and Other Activities

    • Delegation Order 122 (as revised), Assignment of Personnel Under Intergovernmental Personnel Act


    Delegations of authority concerning HRM related matters previously covered in Delegation Order 81 are being revised into several orders to be issued at a future date. Other delegated authorities are found in SHR IRMs published under Part 6 of the Servicewide IRM system.

  5. Agency-Wide Shared Services (AWSS). The AWSS is a central support organization responsible for providing Servicewide administrative services to the IRS business units and the National Headquarters (NHQ). The Personnel Services component of AWSS provides standardized HR operational processes and services that are organizationally aligned with the business units to insure dedicated attention to specific customer needs. The HR support services provided include payroll and personnel transaction processing for the entire IRS workforce.

  6. Supervisors and Managers. These officials are responsible for providing effective leadership and management for the IRS workforce, which includes shared accountability with their HR staffs for effective, legally compliant HRM practices and actions. In discharging these responsibilities, supervisors and managers are expected to establish a work environment that creates positive employee motivation and high organizational performance. Supervisors and managers have been delegated specific authorities by the Commissioner to take final action on the HRM matters set forth in the Delegation Orders referenced in, and applicable SHR IRMs.

Servicewide HR Organizational Structure and Related Missions

  1. The CHRO, through the SHR organization, designs Servicewide HR policies, programs, and procedures in collaboration with the HRPC. The CHRO's and the HRPC's focus is on the IRS as a whole, with emphasis on integrating and aligning the HRM function with the overall IRS mission and strategic planning goals. The role of the embedded HR offices in the business units is to formulate and customize Servicewide HR policies, procedures, and practices in response to their organization's unique business needs. The role of the AWSS Personnel Services organization is to deliver the products and services required to make HR policies work as intended across the IRS, and to ensure consistent application of HR policies throughout the business unit. The chart in Exhibit 6.250.1-2 graphically depicts the delineation of key responsibilities among the SHR, embedded HR, and AWSS organizations.

  2. The SHR organization, which is part of the NHQ, is comprised of eight major divisions.

    1. Workforce Planning provides a planning process and analytical capability to measure and compare the current workforce (supply) with the future workforce (demand). This function also provides insight into the best policies and initiatives needed to recruit, develop, and retain a highly competent, committed, and customer-focused workforce. Workforce Planning also has a critical role in developing and modifying the personnel requirements system, which is linked to strategic planning and budgeting, recurring recruitment needs, and training requirements.

    2. Personnel Policy leads the SHR in the development and implementation of comprehensive strategies and policies for HR programs such as classification and compensation, performance management and recognition, staffing, worklife quality, and transition. Its mission is to establish agencywide policies, procedures, and programs that enable the Service to place and keep the right people in the right jobs. Accomplishing this mission involves focusing on recruiting and retaining the best qualified individuals, providing a variety of incentives to maximize the potential of the workforce, providing tools to hold employees and managers accountable for individual and organizational performance, and administering effective compensation strategies.

    3. Career Management and Recruitment provides an integrated approach for attracting and managing the development and progression of employees with the goal of fielding a workforce with the full range of competencies necessary for high-quality performance. The Career Management function develops the framework to identify the competencies required for IRS occupations, creates tools to assess those competencies, and prepares instruments for achieving career planning within and among the Service's major occupations, workforce components, and organizational units. The Recruitment function develops recruiting programs and guidelines, and creates and implements strategies to market IRS as an employer of choice.

    4. Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness has the overall responsibility for the Service's leadership development program. It designs, develops, and delivers education and training products and services for the development of IRS executives, managers, and supervisors. This function also provides products and services that support business improvement outcomes and directs the IRS change management program. The Center for Conflict Management and the internal Organizational Consulting groups are key service providers.

    5. Learning and Education (L&E) provides overall Servicewide guidance and sets education policy and standards for IRS business units and National Headquarters. This includes planning Servicewide L&E strategies; identifying and providing technology-enabled products; providing consistency and guidance in the development, distribution and delivery of cross-functional training; conducting L&E research and development; serving as liaison with the business units for special projects; redesigning the existing L&E curricula, and managing Servicewide L&E contracts and partnerships.

    6. Workforce Relations establishes Labor and Employee Relations policy and provides expertise, support, and program leadership with regard to administering the IRS labor and employee relations programs. The Labor Relations function prepares the IRS for, and participates in, national negotiations to include term, mid-term bargaining, and other national bargaining. It also provides corporate policy and technical guidance on the full range of other labor relations issues and requirements. The Employee Relations function provides policy and technical guidance for employee relations programs such as employee discipline and adverse actions including performance-based actions, agency grievance system, employee tax compliance, ethics and standards of conduct, employee organizations, outside employment, Section 1203 of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, and Unauthorized Access (UNAX).

    7. Executive Services provides analytical, advisory, and support services related to the Senior Executive Service and Critical Pay Executive personnel programs. This responsibility includes position classification and management, organizational structuring, staffing and recruitment, relocation, redeployment, succession planning, performance management, awards, compensation, benefits, employee relations, and personnel and payroll processing support.

    8. Program Integration (PI) provides coordination, integration, and management of all aspects of cross-functional programs and services internal to the SHR organization. The scope of these responsibilities includes strategic planning, budget development and execution, acquisition management, internal personnel planning and administration, merit system assessment, and corporate communication. PI also coordinates externally mandated programs and activities such as the HRPC, Taxpayer Service Improvements, Unauthorized Access, the Corporate Leadership Council, and external HR-related audits.


    An organization chart for the SHR organization is at Exhibit 6.250.1-3.

Strategic HRM Concept and Goals

  1. As a result of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, the role of the CHRO at NHQ has been redefined to focus on setting broad HRM policy, reviewing HR plans and goals of business units and the NHQ, and developing major HR strategies and programs that integrate and align HRM activities with the attainment of the Service's mission and strategic goals. An essential component of this process is to define specific and measurable goals and priorities, in collaboration with the business units and the NHQ, that ensure HR policies and practices contribute to the long-term viability and success of the Service.

  2. The Strategic HRM process reinforces the Service's conviction that its employees are its greatest resource and are the key to bringing long-term value to the organization. The IRS will invest in, develop, and manage employees in a strategic manner to produce a workforce committed to achieving results and to meeting customer needs. A corollary commitment will also be made to provide IRS employees with quality leadership.

  3. The Strategic HRM goals and priorities, identified in partnership with the business units and the NHQ, will be documented in a Strategic Plan. The creation of an effective partnership between HR professionals and Service managers is a fundamental goal of Strategic HRM. Its purpose is to strengthen the connection between the Service's short-term and long-term operational goals and mission and SHR's policies, programs and systems.

  4. The Strategic HRM process relies on workforce planning to drive the integration of the HRM function into the Service's overall planning and decisionmaking process. (See below.)

Strategic HRM Life-Cycle Framework

  1. The SHR function organizes its HRM strategy, structure, and systems around a Strategic HRM life-cycle framework with initiatives and outcome measures devoted to each of the major life-cycle employment phases. Exhibit 6.250.1-4 depicts the phases.

  2. The Strategic HRM life-cycle framework approach reinforces the core belief that IRS employees are the Service's most important asset and the IRS needs to focus its HRM strategy on how best to attract, develop, utilize, and retain them. This concept views employees as Human Capital — not a cost to be minimized, but a valuable asset to be invested in and carefully managed.

  3. The basis of the Strategic HRM life-cycle framework is the recognition that an integrated, decentralized HRM structure is vital to the successful achievement of the mission of the IRS. This approach places less emphasis on the transactional aspects of HR administration, and more on the strategic contributions of the HRM function — particularly on the importance of workforce planning. The goal is for HRM strategy, structure, and systems to be aligned with and fully integrated into the Service's overall mission. A strong reengineering and technology-intervention program will be used to ensure an effective and efficient HRM program that remains relevant to the Service's overall mission and strategic priorities.

  4. The six Strategic HRM life-cycle employment phases are:

    1. Plan

    2. Recruit

    3. Educate

    4. Develop

    5. Sustain

    6. Transition

Phase 1 — Plan

  1. The first phase of the Strategic HRM life-cycle process is to continually plan for the Service's future HR requirements since they represent long, lead-time investments that require years to reach full productive capacity. The planning phase addresses the:

    1. Impact of program decisions on number of employees needed in the future;

    2. Source of employees (permanent, contractor, part-time, or seasonal);

    3. Capabilities of the workforce (steady or changing skill mix);

    4. Location of the workforce (geographic deployment);

    5. Capacity of the current workforce to take on new or changing mission and priorities; and

    6. Influence of environmental factors such as proposed legislation, emerging regulations, and new technology.

  2. The SHR uses staffing models to accurately forecast future HR requirements. These models are designed to improve resource allocation and hiring decisions based on specific criteria such as workload, productivity, site performance, attrition, labor market characteristics, demographics, and physical capacities. The models also assist in determining the optimal geographic distribution of the workforce to improve labor allocation decisions. See IRM 6.251.1 for additional information on the HRM workforce planning process.

Phase 2 — Recruit

  1. The second phase of the Strategic HRM life-cycle process is to "renew" the IRS workforce as employees retire or leave. The objective is to replenish the IRS workforce without compromising the Service’s high entry and retention standards by marketing the IRS as the employer of choice. This process includes using a streamlined staffing process, Web-based recruiting campaigns, executive search assistance, recruitment incentives, and university partnerships.

  2. A competency-based hiring process is used to insure the intake of high-quality employees who will excel in IRS work. This process uses a modified "rank-in-person" approach to hiring, with the primary focus being on the qualifications of the candidate or employee rather than on the requirements of the position.

Phase 3 — Educate

  1. The third phase of the Strategic HRM life-cycle process recognizes the importance of providing quality training to IRS employees to improve individual and organizational performance. The Service will provide practical, business-based training, delivered by cutting-edge information technology, in partnership with some of the nation's best educational institutions.

  2. A major focus of the Service’s learning and education function will be on the development and deployment of strategies and systems that support and reward continuous learning. The use of a University Consortium, the introduction of Web- and computer-based training, and the development of performance support systems will allow the Service to leverage current technologies to help employees achieve and maintain full technical competence without adversely affecting customer service levels and business unit productivity.

Phase 4 — Develop

  1. The fourth phase of the Strategic HRM life-cycle process supports the investment in the long-term development of IRS employees to ensure an adequate supply of internal candidates for key positions in the future. These developmental activities will be systematically planned, integrated, funded, and managed to ensure a high rate of return in terms of mission value.

  2. To insure an adequate pipeline of high-quality candidates for supervisory, manager, and executive positions, the IRS will make comprehensive development opportunities available in line with the Service's future needs. This effort will include use of Service-provided development programs, University-sponsored courses, and Service-provided investment funds for use in individual development activities.

Phase 5 — Sustain

  1. The fifth phase of the Strategic HRM life-cycle process is to provide flexible compensation systems, comprehensive benefits, and tangible and intangible rewards linked to the attainment of Servicewide strategic goals, business objectives, and performance measures. This strategy is designed to ensure that managers and employees clearly see the linkage between what they do and the Service’s mission and goals, and to reward them in a systematic way based on their mission-related contributions. In effect, the Service will link accountability, accomplishment, compensation, and rewards with the recognition of nonwork-related employee concerns (e.g., child/elder care, commuting, health/fitness programs, etc.) to send a clear message that, in the IRS, high performance, accountability, and employee well being is valued and a Servicewide priority.

  2. The ultimate objective of the Sustain phase is to build a high performance culture in which teamwork, individual and mutual accountability, effective two-way employee-management communications, quality-of-worklife considerations, and leadership that inspires performance are integrated into IRS’ day-to-day management practices and decisions. IRS managers and supervisors will be provided the appropriate advice and assistance necessary to establish a work environment that promotes positive employee motivation, high performance, and retention.

Phase 6 — Transition

  1. The sixth and final phase of the Strategic HRM life-cycle process is to manage change in a manner that balances fairness to employees with the flexibility necessary to achieve organizational restructuring or performance improvements. This process also involves helping managers and employees to personally deal with the stresses associated with changing environments, and provides for the collective involvement of employees and their representatives when making HR-related changes.

  2. The use of carefully designed transition strategies and tools (e.g., buyouts, early outs, retraining, etc.) will ensure that major organizational or workforce restructuring is accomplish in a manner that minimizes disruption to the mission and affected employees.

Human Resources Policy Council Responsibilities and Operations

A Human Resources Policy Council (HRPC), chaired by the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO), supports the IRS Human Resources (HR) mission and strategic goals by providing functional leadership and governance that addresses agencywide HR issues. The HRPC is responsible for:

  1. Ensuring a coordinated approach to agencywide HR policies, systems, and strategies;

  2. Identifying crosscutting issues and emerging priorities;

  3. Ensuring that cross-division linkages are in place and operating effectively;

  4. Sharing best practices;

  5. Providing a forum and network for development of HR professionals;

  6. Monitoring activities of the shared services’ organization in delivery of HR support;

  7. Providing input to SHR where appropriate on agencywide training, executive appointments, executive development, and labor-management negotiations.

Council membership is comprised of the senior HRM official/representative from each of the business units or national headquarters as follows:

Chair: Chief Human Resource Officer
Voting Members Advisors
Large and Mid-Size Business Federal Managers Association
Small Business and Self-Employed Professional Managers Association
Tax Exempt and Government Entities Senior Executives Association
Wage and Investment Deputy, CHRO
Agency-Wide Shared Services Director, Career Management & Recruitment
Appeals Director, Executive Services
Communications and Liaison Director, Leadership and Organizational
Chief Counsel Effectiveness
Criminal Investigation Director, Learning and Education
Modernization and Information Technology Director, Personnel Policy
Services Director, Program Integration
EEO and Diversity Director, Workforce Planning
National Taxpayer Advocate Director, Workforce Relations
Strategic Planning and Budgeting (M&F Rep) General Legal Services
National Treasury Employees Union HR Policy Council Coordinator
National Headquarters Management and Finance
Compliant Processing and Analysis Group

The operating principles of the Council are as follows:

  1. The Council is chaired by the CHRO but serves to address the needs of all members.

  2. The staff support for the Council comes from the CHRO with assistance, as needed, by other HR offices.

  3. The Council may also invite to its deliberations temporary external members such as subject-matter experts in business as well as support functions.

  4. Similar networks or councils may be established, as needed, for specific HR functional areas such as Labor Relations, Education, and Recruiting.

Delineation of Responsibilities among Strategic Human Resources, Embedded Human Resources, and Agency-Wide Shared Services Organizations

In the modernized IRS, the SHR organization designs HR policies in collaboration with the HRPC that includes representatives from the Business Units (BU). Each BU has an embedded HR component to provide advice and analysis regarding HR policies and issues, and to formulate HR strategies, procedures, and practices in response to the BU's unique needs. The role of the AWSS is to accomplish the operational delivery of personnel services across the IRS through a network of field personnel offices. The following flow-chart details the delineation of responsibilities among Strategic Human Resources, Embedded Human Resources, and Agency-Wide Shared Services Organizations.

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Strategic Human Resources Organizational Structure

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Strategic Human Resources Management (HRM) Life-Cycle Framework

The Strategic HRM life-cycle framework supports the IRS' core belief that its employees are its most important asset, and Servicewide HRM policies, procedures, and programs are designed to focus on how best to attract, develop, utilize, and retain them. Under this framework, the goal is to integrate all of the functions of HRM, and align HRM Strategy, Structure, and Systems to identify, attract, motivate, and retain a high-quality and diverse workforce that is capable of accomplishing the Service's mission with excellence. See Exhibit 6.250.1-4 (cont. 1) on the following page for a graphic presentation of the Strategic HRM life-cycle framework.

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