An expert HR department knows it's responsible for creating and managing strategies that support both its talent management objectives and the organization's business goals. There are two vital approaches to strategy discussion and implementation: how to develop a strategy and what should be included in the company's HR strategy. Today, we're focusing on what to include in your HR strategy by establishing the three foundational features of talent management.
HR strategy: 3 essential ingredients
It's tempting to say that HR strategy is simply recruiting and hiring strong performers to help further the organization's goals. However, there is so much more that goes into implementing an effective plan. In fact, a company's HR strategy can be broken down into three essential ingredients:
- Performance is how the organization produces their product or service. HR professionals play a huge role in the design of work. The way the company plans to bring their product or service to market also drives how work will be designed. It even influences the candidates HR identifies as ideal for those jobs.
- Learning focuses on the processes where employees learn about the company, products/services and customers. Granted, HR doesn't always directly conduct these learning sessions but they do have influence over developing managers and supervisors who will transfer knowledge and skills to their teams.
- Engagement is all about employees' commitment to the organization. Engagement-focused organizations understand the value of loyalty. They appreciate customer loyalty because it contributes to the bottom-line. It's the same with employees. The way companies get employee loyalty is through employee engagement.
Performance, learning and engagement are different components but they are also strongly related. Think of them like a three-legged stool: if one leg is missing, the entire framework collapses
If an organization simply trains employees on the basics to get them out on the floor quickly, do they run the risk of disengagement? It's more likely. Company cultures that provide minimal learning but immediately expect high performance aren't positioned for comparable levels of engagement.
If a company invests in foosball tables and free food to incentivize employees to work longer and harder, it won't have a positive business impact unless those employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills to do that job well.
If the organization provides fun training programs, that doesn't mean employees are automatically able to perform satisfactorily. There's nothing wrong with fun. But cool and engaging training doesn't always translate into effective training (and the positive impact it should have on performance).
Balancing HR strategies is essential
HR's goal is to balance these strategies so that the organization can create a desirable employee experience and a culture that aligns with the business. HR can achieve a balanced strategy by:
- Creating employee engagement through a well-designed talent acquisition strategy. HR and hiring managers have the ability to start building trust and working relationships with candidates during the hiring process.
- Providing learning opportunities through one-on-one meetings. While there's nothing wrong with classroom learning, much of today's learning takes place outside the classroom. Employees can learn from managers and peers on a daily basis.
- Encouraging high performance with regular feedback and coaching. Take HR strategy full circle by recognizing employee's excellent performance and offering coaching when necessary. Train managers on how to deliver feedback and coaching so they can do the same.
Successful HR strategies should align with business needs and established goals. Learning creates employee engagement when using a balanced approach. And engagement creates high performance, which allows the company to succeed. It's very similar to how the business strategy might have to balance cost strategies, differentiation and focus strategies. For instance, the decisions a company makes to differentiate its product or service may affect the cost of that product. It's all about balance.
So, what's the key to incorporating these HR strategies into overall business success? It requires clear and deliberate alignment – connecting these best practices to the organization's business needs.
Your next steps: How to develop an HR Strategy
Now that we know what goes into a winning HR strategy, it's time to talk process. In order to build your strategy from the ground up, you can take inspiration from the methods used to develop general business strategies. For instance, you could try:
- Crafting the organizational mission/vision/values that drive the organization
- Conducting a SWOT analysis to determine the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
- Creating goals and objectives that allow the company to capitalize on their strengths and minimize their weaknesses
- Implementing action plans to accomplish goals and communicating those plans to the entire organization
Remember: successful HR strategies are the result of thoughtful and informed planning in partnership with stakeholders and leaders across various departments. These strategies are ever-evolving based on your business and talent needs.
Your turn: Is your organization over or under-invested in one of our three ingredients over the others? Share your story in the comments below.