8 Questions to Help Develop a Successful Strategic HR Plan

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8 questions to help develop a successful strategic hr plan

During the past few years, businesses across the globe have faced numerous unique and exceptional challenges. Many businesses were forced to make significant changes to their operations and figure out how to push forward with organizational goals while dealing with substantial and rapid changes. But, we’re here now… and there’s no time like the present to ask yourself, “Where are we going in the future?” This is a question all business owners should ask themselves because it’s essential to be prepared for the uncertainties of the future, to evolve and grow as an organization, and to make sure you have the resources to accomplish what you set out to do. 

To do this, you’ll need an effective Human Resources strategy. A Human Resources strategy can be one of the most significant tools to ensure your overall business plan warrants success, maintains competitive advantage, and promotes employee engagement that can lead to sustained achievements. The basis of any good HR strategy starts with the questions: “Where are we now? Where do we want to go? What do we want to accomplish?” These are great questions to ask, but asking yourself more focused questions may give your HR strategy a needed boost to yield the maximum results. To that end, consider asking yourself these eight questions to help you develop a successful HR strategy:

1. Do We Have a Clear Set of Values to Guide Our Business Objectives?

Organizational values

Values are your ultimate guide to carrying out your HR strategy. Meant to shape your organization’s vision and principles, a clear set of values will guide your decision-making, utilizing your organization’s desired standards as a reference point. Examples of organizational values might include teamwork, integrity, accountability, diversity and inclusion, and respect. When considering a component of your HR strategy, ask yourself, “Does it align with our values?

2. Who Should Be Involved in Strategic Planning?

Middle management involved with hr strategy

Senior leadership plays a large role in establishing a strategic HR plan, but don’t forget to consider other vital employees to help carry out your strategic plan. Middle managers, for example, can be cardinal communication agents to others throughout your organization. Because they may be more heavily integrated into your company’s daily operations, managers can help mitigate concerns of front-line employees, deliver clear communications, report valuable feedback to upper management, and reinforce the benefits of your HR strategy.

3. What Are the Obstacles We Will Have to Overcome?

All businesses experience different risks and obstacles during the strategic HR planning process. Some common pitfalls include a feeble communication strategy, failing to build a coalition to support change and goals, poor resource management, and a lack of buy-in and support from leadership and key stakeholders. To evaluate what obstacles your organization might encounter, consider conducting a SWOT Analysis that compiles your organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats that’ll help give you the full picture of influential factors in your strategic decision-making.

Swot analysis

If your HR strategy is global, you might also want to consider a PESTLE analysis, which compiles external Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental factors.

Pestle analysis

4. How Can I Make Sure My Employees’ Needs Are Aligned With Our Business Objectives?

Ensure hr objectives are aligned with employees needs

To ensure your employees’ needs are aligned with your business objectives, you’ll have to do three things:

a.) Establish the key competencies and duties of each role in your organization– having up-to-date job descriptions can support this feat. You can learn more about the importance of having detailed job descriptions here.

b.) Examine your existing workforce; identify what high-performing employees can best support your HR strategy, find out where there are skill gaps, and determine whether you can fill them through training and development or recruitment.

c.) Make sure your employees understand how your objectives affect them. Communication is critical here; if you’re not transparent about your strategy, you’ll be sure to encounter resistance from your team, which can be detrimental to your objectives. 

5. What Do I Hope to Gain From This HR Strategy?

This might seem like an easy question. When you envision the future of your business, you want to be the best in the game, right? You want your employees to love coming to work every day. You want your organization to be successful. However, if you want your HR strategy to succeed, you have to have clear and specific outcomes that you are striving to achieve. For example, if training and development are part of your HR plan, what definite competencies and capabilities do you hope your staff will gain?

Human resources training

If creating a more diverse culture is part of your HR strategy, how will achieving this goal make you a more competitive business? Solidify what you hope to gain from your HR strategy and ensure your actions lead you to that desired outcome. 

6. What Resources Will I Need?

When ascertaining the resources you’ll need to carry out your HR strategy, think about what you don’t have. Do you have data and analytics to guide your decision-making? Depending on your HR strategy, you might consider a compensation analysis, conducting in-house surveys about employee satisfaction, or looking at your organization’s turnover rates to help benchmark your objectives and goals, as a few examples.

Hr strategy resources

Secondly, do you have the support from leadership and key stakeholders? Buy-in from essential personnel is crucial; without it, it will be rather difficult to carry out your objectives.

Thirdly, do you have a succession plan in place? Employee separation is an inevitable part of any business. Whether it’s through retirement, resignation, or involuntary termination, your team is a primary resource in a successful HR strategy.

Think about which employees can effortlessly float to other roles, who are promotable, and if you have the bandwidth to develop existing employees.

And lastly, do you have a budget? Part of a good HR strategy involves being practical about what you can accomplish. If your plan is fiscally irresponsible, it can have grave consequences for your organization’s bottom line. 

7. How Do We Make Sure We Are Meeting Our Goals?

Hr reviewing of targets and goals

Establishing goals is one thing, but monitoring and evaluating your progress toward those goals is what tells you whether or not you’re on track. Consider regular reviews (such as monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually) of your goals. Doing so will give you the opportunity to adapt your methods as needed, celebrate small victories along the way, and reignite the importance of meeting your goal. Consider maintaining a monthly tracking spreadsheet or dashboard, using HRIS to provide quantitative data metrics, or benchmarking to measure how your progress compares to similar organizations. 

8. Do I Need an Expert HR Consultant to Help Us With Strategic Planning?

Hr consultant for human resource strategic planning

There are great benefits to engaging an outside HR consultant. HR consultants offer a wealth of experience to help you lead your team, provide an objective perspective, and can help implement best practices and procedures that are HR compliant. While HR consultation isn’t right for every business, it can be an added benefit and resource for your organization. EnformHR specializes in Human Resource Consulting. For more information or to discuss whether or not bringing on an expert HR consultant may work for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to us

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Cristina Amyot

Cristina Amyot, SPHR, the firm’s President, leads the HR Services Group. Ms. Amyot graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from Rutgers University. She holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute and a Life, Accident, and Health Insurance License from the State of New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance.

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