Hard-working people make companies successful, and that’s why human resources management (HRM) is essential to keeping a company running smoothly and efficiently. Interestingly, many people see human resources management as a department that works primarily in the “here and now” of issues management. Yet, HR departments often have a long-term strategy and are proactive rather than reactive.
Getting into the field of HR generally requires a human resources management diploma, which, depending upon the chosen school, can be earned either in a traditional classroom setting or through an online program. While there are several courses available, individuals should look at schools that offer a strategy component as part of the curriculum for candidates to make a more significant impact on their current and potential workplaces.
What is an HR Strategy?
An HR strategy is a long-term planning tool that helps those in the human resources management department of a company to set and achieve goals within the HRM realm. It involves managing the business’s human capital and aligning it with the overall organizational objectives. The strategy sets the direction for all the critical HR areas, including hiring, training, culture, performance appraisal, development, and compensation, amongst other things. Therefore, it’s important to have qualified HR staff who have, for instance, earned an HRM diploma and have the knowledge and understanding to develop an effective plan.
Why have an HR Strategy?
Those who have earned their HRM diploma, whether in-person or through an online program, can probably already answer this question. People are the greatest assets for any organization. Given the expense that salaries and wages represent and the inability of a company to run itself, people and a good strategy that points them in the right direction are the key ingredients for success.
When human resources management aligns its practices with the overall company objectives and provides timelines, people know what to do and when to do it.
Professionals with appropriate qualifications will likely understand that having an HR strategy aligned with one/some/all of the following objectives is much more likely to be successful than an organization without an HR strategy in place.
HR strategies can be aligned to the following (and many other) organizational objectives:
– Improving productivity
– Reducing expenses (resources, wages, benefits)
– Employee retention
– Enhancing recruitment
– Becoming a desirable employer and achieving excellence in the market
– Reducing external and internal complaints and issues.
How to Develop an Effective HR Strategy
Start with an assessment of what’s already in place. This can involve a fair amount of navel-gazing as well as looking at certain hard realities. For example, the objective of one HR professional may be to attract and retain the best and brightest employees, but if the salary, benefits and employee programs don’t match, it will be an impossible objective to attain. Solutions must be identified for problems that undermine the success of various aspects of the strategy before the steps for achieving the strategy can be implemented.
This will include looking at HR policies and procedures as well as corporate policies, procedures, and objectives to see if there are gaps or disconnects within the existing system. It will also include looking at expenses within the HR department to identify if cost-savings are possible or if money can be shifted from one part of the human resources management budget to another to achieve the success outlined in the future strategy.
Perhaps the most challenging part is looking at the “air around you,” meaning, the corporate culture and environment. Are employees complaining about a toxic work environment in their exit interviews? (if you even have one in place) Are there ongoing communication issues between departments or team members. HR teams should have the tools in place to dig deep and identify the underlying issues (or seek outside professional help) to resolve these problems before beginning the strategy process. Or, resolving existing employee issues, and challenges could be a part of the strategy before taking on projects that move the company ahead. Think of it as getting to a baseline before taking steps to achieve and excel.
Steps to Creating the Strategy
1. Bring in individuals from all areas of the company at all levels. Inspire conversations around organizational objectives that will lead to elements of an HR strategy.
2. Use this information to determine the gaps and challenges to be fixed or set the goals to achieve greater success.
3. Look at the marketplace your organization operates in. Are there any trends you notice? Create a SWOT analysis of the evolving strategy.
4. Look at all the aspects of HR and apply them to the needs of the organization to draft a strategy.
5. Review the draft HR strategy and provide feedback. Revise until the majority of the core team is on board with the plan, then communicate and roll out.
Creating an HR strategy doesn’t need to be onerous, but it will take time and research. Ensure that the plan is cohesive and aligns with the organization’s objectives.