Planning for the future is essential for the achievement of business goals, but just how does that apply to HR managers? Just what is HR strategy?
A human resource strategy is key to the success of the overall strategic plan of a business. After all, if the right people aren’t in the necessary posts, who is going to work on achieving organizational goals? It takes the right people with the right skills in the right positions to reach milestones, improve productivity and ultimately, attain the goals of an organization – and that’s not as simple as it may sound. A good strategy and plan is required to tackle your top human resource challenges.
Important questions need to be answered
An organization’s strategy, and the HR strategies that are developed to support the desired outcomes are based on the answers to five simple yet vital questions:
- Where do we want to be? What is the end point that we want to arrive at?
- Where we now? What is the current situation?
- How do we move from where we are now to where we want to be?
- What kinds of people in what positions will be vitally necessary to the realization of the organization’s strategic plan?
- How will we attract, develop or retain the people we need to fulfil the strategic plan of the organization?
Human resource strategy: at the heart of your mission
Human resource strategy develops and evolves along with the aspirations of the organization and affects every decision that your department makes.
- It governs the people-related decisions that you make – factors such as recruitment, training plans, developing staff potential and building the capacity of the management team all rely on your department’s strategic goals.
- It affects how the organization will be structured. Determining who performs which tasks and functions and who they will report to is essential for the smooth strategic development of the organization.
- It defines the culture towards which you are striving beginning with employee norms and values, right up to the management style that will be implemented.
- Your HR systems are also aligned with strategy – how and whom will you recruit, what rewards and incentives will be offered, what training needs will be addressed and how the career development of employees will be approached are just a few examples of this.
Human resource planning is a dynamic process
Since your human resource strategy informs every aspect of your activities, it’s essential to ensure that alignment with overall organizational strategy is maintained. Every action and intervention should have strategic relevance. What is HR strategy considerations:
- Performance appraisals and incentives must be linked to the strategy of the organization. KPI’s may increase or decrease in relative importance and must be weighted accordingly. What is measured and how it is measured may even change altogether.
- The structure of the organization must be evaluated to determine whether it supports company strategy. Are major changes needed? The HR department carries a large portion of the responsibility for a smooth transition to a new structural model.
- Staff must understand and support the goals of the organization. HR professionals are required to communicate these goals clearly and unambiguously.
- Opportunities for consultation and avenues for staff involvement must be open to ensure that staff can contribute their suggestions and ideas or discuss concerns related to the strategic direction of the organization.
The golden thread of strategy runs through every aspect of your work. These are important considerations when thinking about what is HR strategy for your company.
Flexibility is the key when considering what is HR strategy
Most of all, you need to remain flexible. The business environment may change, resulting in a need to adapt carefully formulated strategies, or an organization may see the need to reinvent itself altogether. As an HR manager or HR director, you have a vital role to play in the realization of overall strategies, and as these change, so do your department’s human resource management strategies.
Human resource strategy in brief
As a strategist with an important contribution to the overall success of your organization, you will follow a process that can be summed up in four steps.
- Develop a strategic framework aligned with organizational goals.
- Generate a clear and meaningful HR mission statement.
- Conduct a full SWOT analysis that is relevant to your organization and the prevailing HR environment and use this to inform your planning.
- Make strategic planning decisions based on the evaluation of your HR options.
Throughout this process, its ultimate purpose should be the focus of your thinking. What you are striving to achieve with your HR strategy is an organization in which HR practices are designed to optimize employee contributions to the overall success of organizational goals. That means that every job and every department needs to be considered in the light of its contribution to the organization’s strategic goals – a mammoth task? Indeed it is, but when this challenge is tackled with a strategic mindset, the rewards are immense. In your role as HR manager, your contribution to the success of your organization is crucial. As you reach each milestone along the way, pause to think about it, and celebrate your success.
Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? Share your thoughts about what is HR strategy or your top HR challenges. What are the top challenges that HR professionals need to watch out for? Check out our HR blog post for more important HR topics.