HR departments have the power to transform their staff into autonomous, innovative, dynamic individuals. HR strategies facilitate this process by equipping HR teams with the tools they need to ensure every staff member performs at their optimum level. This process allows human resource teams to coordinate strategic goals with the company mission statement to create a good HR strategy via strategic workforce planning and other HR strategies.
But what is an HR strategy in our digital age? What are the five steps to the HR strategy implementation and development plan? And what does the future hold for HR strategies? We will explore all these questions, beginning with the definition of what an HR strategy is.
What Is An HR Strategy?
A human resource strategy ensures that HR is given a say in every aspect of a company’s core functions from the beginning of every relevant process. The goal is that the organization provides HR with a role beyond administrative tasks such as transactional staff interactions. Instead, an HR strategy’s role in the organization’s culture is much more deeply embedded, and the HR department unlocks its potential through its strategic human resources management.
What Does An HR Strategy Involve?
A successful HR strategy is a comprehensive plan for the future of what HR services must do to enhance employee development. HR teams often achieve this goal using strategic workforce and succession planning within a robust talent strategy. When the human resources department carries out these strategies successfully, it boosts employee engagement within the work environment of the entire company. With high employee engagement and buy-in, retention and performance increase.
According to Gartner, 66% of organizations say that a deficit of embedded business needs integrating into HR strategies is the main obstacle to success. HR departments can use technology to fill this need and acquire additional resources to look to the future and formulate better informed strategic decisions.
HR Strategies In The Digital Age
In the digital age, staff and organizations face many challenges. Most of these challenges involve teams navigating the constantly changing world of technology. HR staff must be aware of these changes as they will also be utilizing these technologies and supporting staff with the pressures of continuous learning.
Technology influences every aspect of HR business goals and metrics— how and why HR departments use measured metrics. For example, HR departments conduct many staff satisfaction surveys. Continuously reviewing the best ways to implement these surveys produce the best quality data to check against new strategic plans.
Performance management software offers the most effective ways to collect employee feedback using pulse surveys and other means. Lattice and Bonusly are a few popular examples.
The key to HR professionals optimizing technology in a company’s HR strategy is for the organization to integrate the strategy into the organization’s goals. Success is assured when the company aligns all the strategic HR processes to business goals.
Developing An Agile, Successful HR Strategy
Companies must practice a holistic approach when developing their HR business strategy to promote company agility and success. A successful HR strategy is an all-encompassing cultural shift that influences every aspect of the business by developing staff to work at their optimal level. This process involves large-scale changes.
The approaches to HR strategies change and shift with technological business disruptions and political, economic, and social changes. Reviewing the HR strategy bi-annually or even more frequently is the key to ensuring the strategy remains agile and successful. Gartner reports that only 28% of HR leaders review their HR strategy more than once a year, and just 12% make changes, highlighting the need to review and adjust strategies with market shifts.
The Five-Step HR Business Strategy Development And Implementation Plan
There are five steps to follow when an organization wishes to develop and implement its HR strategy. The first is the company’s evaluation and alignment of business needs.
Evaluate And Align Business Needs
HR departments must ensure they are aware of changing business needs at all times for HR strategies to be coordinated with overall business strategy execution. The first step is to establish what kind of company you are and how to define your organization’s mission. An HR department cannot build a strategy in isolation as the HR team’s influence feeds into every department. The strategy must represent the business needs, skills, and potential for staff growth and development.
Consider the impact of the global pandemic on an organization and how this might cause them to pivot their customer focus in 2022, from attracting new customers to improving their customer relationships to retain their existing customer base by 2023. This process involves reviewing and adjusting the current methods that affect customers to give a market-leading customer experience by focusing on ‘enhancing customer engagement’ as the company’s highest priority.
For an organization’s employees to optimize their customer care skills, they need to be passionate and knowledgeable. Staff needs support to achieve this goal, so HR staff needs to be aware of this company’s priority and the resources required. The HR team can align the strategy to this business need.
Gap analysis can also help establish what skills staff has and what training may be needed. HR can focus on employee retention to avoid wasting resources on training staff who may leave, which would negatively affect the customer experience.
There are many different ways in which HR strategy execution can align with business needs. Most business needs involve staff support and development, making business goals easy to align with HR, who conducts this support.
Strategies need the vision to ensure all staff move in the same direction. It is essential that staff continually ask themselves, “does this fit the original vision for success?” If it doesn’t, does the vision need adjusting, or do processes need to be reworked to achieve it?
The most effective method to continuously envision success is for staff to utilize four human resource strategies:-
How does the HR strategy optimize processes utilized within the talent management system across the whole employee lifecycle, from onboarding to compensation planning to offboarding?
How can the HR strategy be designed to improve employee experience, offering the most benefit and value to the Continuous Professional Development (CPD), satisfaction, and success of your team?
The Organization’s Strengths
Whatever the structure of your organization, how does the HR strategy reinforce and work with existing infrastructure to optimize existing responsibilities and clearly defined new roles?
How can the strategy be built to enhance, adjust or transform the ways staff interact with leaders and how is employee engagement improved through regularly requested honest feedback?
When HR experts have formulated the vision for long-term success, they must split HR goals into manageable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ensure success is effectively measured. If monthly or quarterly waypoints do not achieve success, HR experts must ask what they can do to adjust the strategic plan to get back on track.
Emphasize Creativity & Collaboration
Every HR strategy is dependent on collaboration from every department to be successful. Every department must buy into the HR strategy, and the easiest way to accomplish this is to consult each department during the planning phase of the HR strategy. This action makes staff in every department feel that they have been listened to and are more likely to follow the strategic aims and objectives.
It is also essential for HR teams to try to use ways of presenting analytics familiar to each department. This action makes the communication of progress and adjustments clear and accessible for all staff, reducing frustration and boosting collaboration for all stakeholders.
Enhance Engagement Through Heightened Communication
Collaboration is one aspect of the HR strategy, but excellent communication turns hesitant collaborators into expert strategy champions and advocates. However, it is not essential for HR to communicate all the details of the strategy to every team member.
There are often leadership members in each department who can become passionate about an HR strategy if they are convinced by HR that it will benefit the company and their department. Once HR professionals win over these key figures, they become strategy champions, communicating the need for the strategy to the others in their team.
Communication styles can vary between members of different teams throughout the process of communicating HR strategies to team members. Personality types, corporate culture, and learning styles affect how the staff feels about a new HR strategy.
HR staff can vary how they present information using 1:1 liaisons with staff, even if this involves Zoom technologies, amongst other communication formats. News boards, team meetings, email, and many other communication methods can be successful. It is often necessary for an individual to see information several times in different formats to achieve buy-in.
Track And Present Progress Regularly
Measuring human resource strategy progress with metrics is essential, but the data and analytics drawn from it are useless if not presented regularly in an accessible format.
The insights drawn from the analytics are crucial to ensuring that HR teams present data to the rest of the company in valuable ways. HR professionals can collaborate with CIOs to ensure they draw the most compelling insights from analytics. This action allows HR departments to ensure that staff in all departments understand the relevance and gravity of the need for the HR strategy to be followed, adjusted, and successful.
Another way for HR to make raw data appealing to staff is by using a few guidelines:-
Emphasize Why The Data Is Important
- Make it clear why the data is vital to the entire organization.
- Ask and answer questions with the data.
- What impact could this data have on the organization’s strengths?
- What would happen if staff action this data or not?
- Data can take away any uncertainty about what outcomes can mean for the future.
- Use the power of quantitative data to communicate an unambiguous message.
Turn The Data Into A Story
- Turning analytics into a narrative is a powerful way for HR staff to communicate the importance of data.
- Include a hero or those impacted by the data in the narrative.
- Incorporate a conflict that creates a reason for the change.
- Use supporting evidence to rationalize why the change is needed.
- Every story needs an ending, so include an epilogue and reinforcing evidence.
Understand The Audience
- Different teams need differing levels of detail for various roles.
- A CIO will want to see every detail, from research methods to every piece of data, whereas the leader of another department may need to know the central message of the data in a condensed form.
Don’t Disguise The Numbers
- Transparency and objectivity are the strengths of numerical data, so don’t try to hide the numbers within the narrative.
- Tell the story using the message of the data rather than trying to tell a story different from what the data shows.
- Include all data, even if it may not make sense in the overall picture.
- Analysis needs to be comprehensive and objective to maintain the trust of employees.
- Don’t make a boring story that is overly simple and linear.
- Context makes stories interesting, so use it to keep the narrative engaging with various context types.
- Change over a period is one context type.
- Third-party business intelligence or research is another practical context.
When you have developed and implemented your HR strategy, it is essential to look to the future to consider what your organization might have to do to remain resilient.
What Practising Strategic Human Resources Management Means For The Future Of Enterprise
The future of HR strategies will be increasingly complex as organizations react to business disruption. We can divide the way that HR strategies may look in the future into several other positions that could increase in demand to fulfill the changing market needs:
- The head of the candidate experience is one of these new roles.
- Performance coach.
- Employee experience specialist.
- HR data scientist.
- Organizational psychologist.
These roles will allow organizations to ensure that HR strategies meet changing needs in more specialized ways to ensure success.
HR Strategies: Essential For Resilience
HR strategy plays a significant role in an organization’s overall strengths, and if not appropriately conducted, HR strategies can become a significant organizational weakness.
The future will see more strategic human resources management as HR technology changes the shape of business, and companies must embrace HR strategies to ensure financial sustainability.
HR strategies can promote agility, supporting organizations to combat the adverse effects of unpredictable global events, such as the recent worldwide pandemic. When an organization is competent in dealing with rapid changes and adjusting plans, it becomes easier to pivot and recover to gain a competitive advantage. Well-planned HR strategies make this agility possible.
HR strategies also improve employee engagement by boosting talent management, employee wellbeing, retention, and corporate culture. For all these reasons, HR strategies are important in our current time and will soon become essential.
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