Creating a strategy around your most valuable asset – your people – and aligning it with your business goals is crucial to business success. However, it does take a lot of planning, monitoring, evaluating, and adjusting along the way. Having a strong HR strategy will set you up for employment success and best of all, will help you achieve your business goals.
If you are in the process of creating your first HR strategy or adjusting it to meet your current needs, consider the following:
Align your HR strategy with your overall business strategy
Begin with a strong understanding of your general business plan and goals over the next 3-5 years or beyond. Next, identify how your organization’s needs may change over those years as you begin to work toward those goals. Are you planning significant growth? If so, in which areas? Are you planning to roll out new products or services? Will your customer base shift in a significant way? Are there external factors you anticipate impacting the business, such as a rise in material costs or modern technology on the horizon? As always, keep your mission, vision, and values top of mind while planning your business strategy.
Determine your people needs along the way
Once you have a solid understanding of your business goals and how your organization plans to achieve those goals, you should consider how your staffing needs will change. Recognize that your needs may evolve as you progress toward your goal. In fact, your needs one year from now may look different than five years from now. Start by outlining your people needs at the end of the goal achievement and work backward to determine when you will require the new talent, skills, or assistance.
Don’t forget to include your company culture as part of your strategy. What is your ideal culture and how does it compare to where you are now? Are your employees engaged? Are your turnover rates comparative to the market? Or, are there improvements you can make in each of these areas to enhance company culture? Consider the characteristics, skills, and attitude your ideal employee will possess. This type of planning will help you choose and develop the candidates that shape your desired culture.
Assess where you are now and what gaps you need to fill
Now you know the direction to steer the organization and culture as well as the talent you need to get there. Next, you should assess your current talent. Who shows potential for filling future roles? Who are your high performers? What underutilized skill sets do they possess? Or, what skill sets are they capable of learning through career development? Involve your managers. After all, they will be instrumental in identifying high potential employees that emanate the desired culture. At this point, you can decide if you should cultivate talent from within the organization or fill the gaps with outside candidates.
Prepare for filling the gaps
At the same time, you should consider what your ideal employees seek from an employer. Are they more interested in flexible work schedules and a hip workspace, or do they desire a robust benefits plan and many perks? With a little creativity, organizations can offer many benefits beyond competitive pay.
Be honest with yourself on where your organization lies in the competitive landscape for talent in the following areas:
- Pay rates
- Bonus structures
- Benefits packages
- Employee perks
- Opportunities for advancement
- Career development
- Turnover rates
- Employee engagement and satisfaction
- Professional development
Understand employee’s perceptions through employee surveys and analyzing data from exit interviews. Where does your organization shine, and in what ways could it improve to attract better talent? Truly understanding what your organization has to offer compared to what your ideal candidate pool is seeking will help you develop plans to fill any gaps.
Identify how you will measure and report progress
You’ve identified your people needs, considered areas of company culture that need improvement, and know what your ideal candidates desire in an employer. Now, it’s time to determine how you will measure and report success. This will tie directly to your HR strategy goals. For example, if your goal is to fill seven key positions in the upcoming year, report how many you’ve successfully filled. If your goal is to decrease employee turnover or increase employee engagement, compare current measurements to your initial measurement. Report progress consistently and adjust strategies and plans as appropriate.
Your HR strategy should align with and support your overall business goals. One is hard to achieve without the other. After all, it’s the people who will ultimately help your business succeed in achieving those goals!