Creating Value Through Effective HR Strategy
Imagine building a house on your own without a general contractor. It can be done. You could go to Home Depot and rent demolition equipment; I’m sure there’s a manual. You could research piping and wiring and source Italian granite for your countertops. And you could most certainly find a “guy,” who knows a “guy,” that could install the bathroom fixtures. But if you GC’d your home by yourself, would it be built in the most efficient manner, with the best craftsmanship and the least waste? Most definitely not.
Human Resources is much like the general contractor of the basic business model. It’s actually the “humans,” and their expertise that gets the business off the ground and on the road to profitability. Providing the scaffolding by which employees are supported is, in essence, the job of the HR strategy team.
The Importance of HR in Today’s Organization
An effective HR strategy starts with integration. Too often, HR is viewed as an unnecessary infrastructure cost center, but there is a significant difference between HR Administration and HR Strategy. In order to gain value from the function, businesses must embrace HR at the onset and from the very top.
According to Harvard Business Review, “…all strategy is executed by people who need to be supported, trained and equipped to fulfill the strategic vision. This is the real role of HR, and even though some people remain skeptical of its bottom-line importance, in fact, its relevance cannot be underestimated.” Whether you know it or not, you actually already have a good foundation for an HR strategy: your employees. The key is utilizing your most effective component, so it might as well be intentional and aligned to your business’s needs. Let’s take a look at how to do this.
Building An HR Strategy Roadmap
According to Deloitte, “An effective HR strategy provides a roadmap to create value through the organization’s workforce.” But what does that roadmap look like, and how do you construct it? According to Armin Trost, Ph.D., and professor of HR Strategy at Furtwangen University in Germany, those involved in integrating your HR strategy need to review three key elements of the business to get started:
- Understand the business model and the overall company objectives;
- Understand the critical business challenges; and
- Understand where the company has a competitive advantage.
According to Trost, once these pillars are understood, you can begin to overlay potential people-related challenges and solutions. While these details will vary tremendously from business to business, the basic formula is the same. The Society for Human Resource Management, as another example, states the following steps for Developing a Strategic HR Plan :
- Assess the Current Situation
- Envision the Future
- Develop Strategic HR Objectives
- Monitor and Evaluate
Execute Your HR Strategy Effectively
Regardless of the approach you choose, the concept of “value” is subjective by nature. Therefore, getting the most value out of your HR strategy is largely determined by the degree to which you embrace the function that business advisors recommend. McKinsey & Company recently wrote, “As the organization of the future takes shape, HR will be the driving force of many initiatives: mapping talent to value; making the workforce more flexible; prioritizing strategic workforce planning, performance management, and reskilling; building an HR platform; and developing and HR tech ecosystem. For the other initiatives, HR can help C-suite leaders push forward on establishing and radiating purpose, improving employee experience, driving leadership and culture, and simplifying the organization.”
In summary, if you value your business, you value the people that perpetuate your business. It’s been said often, but it’s worth repeating – your employees are truly your business’s foundation. So, build your corporate “house” with intention. Embrace your HR leaders and allow them to be the general contractors of your strategic vision by including them in the plans from inception. Empower them to secure the framework of your enterprise – your employees.
If you need advice on basic HR Strategy, EnformHR can provide consultation at any level of your organization. Contact us to begin a partnership with one of our HR advisors.