Do You Have a Human Resources Strategy? Here’s Why You Need One

The human resources strategy is a roadmap that identifies where an organization is, where it wants to be, the options for getting there, and what success looks like.


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Do You Have a Human Resources Strategy? Here's Why You Need One

Employees are an essential part of any business. We all know and accept this. However, there are two mindsets that people use when considering employees: the cost mindset and the asset mindset. Many experts agree that employees, or our human resources, should be seen as an asset.

That’s only half the equation for retaining employees and ensuring they thrive. A human resources strategy is essential for business success and continuous growth. It’s also an easy strategy to overlook, given the daily demands of running a business. It’s easier than you think to put one in place, though.

What is a human resources strategy?

First, let’s start with the definition of a human resources strategy. Loosely defined, it’s the policies and procedures used for employee:

  • Recruitment
  • Retention
  • Rewards

It also is intended to help address any issues that arise.

Your human resources strategy is the roadmap that helps you get where you want to be.

Having a strategy in place means that benefits and rewards are handled fairly. Additionally, because a proactive plan has previously been established, valuable time isn’t wasted reacting to issues. Invariably, there may be deviations from the strategy, but the guide ensures human resources managers have a framework to operate within.

Think of it this way. Your human resources strategy is the roadmap that helps you get where you want to be. Drivers don’t worry about switching lanes when traveling down a highway from point a to point b since they know they’re still headed in the right direction. This is the flexibility that a human resources strategy provides.

Why a human resources strategy is essential

A human resources strategy is more essential than ever because of the existing challenges already facing human resources managers. These include staff:

  • Retention
  • Engagement
  • New skill requirements

It’s easy to think these problems can be addressed as they arise. Still, as the pandemic showed us, it’s better to have a strategy in place beforehand. One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned throughout this is how much more effective the proactive approach is.

Furthermore, a proactive approach means that you can easily tailor it to the results of surveys or other employee feedback tools. This will help retain talented staff and prevent issues with new hires. Next, we dive deeper into some of the reasons why a human resources strategy is essential.

A strategy aligns human resources with organizational goals

Effective companies are in alignment, and one of the best ways to be in alignment is by having policies and procedures that augment the organizational goals. Misaligned human resources negatively impact the entire organization.

The strategy should support the core business values, from seeking innovative solutions to fostering work-life balance. Building these features into the human resources strategy helps further the organization’s mission. It provides consistent messaging to employees at all levels of the business.

Clarify expectations

Clear is kind.

Clarifying expectations for employees and managers through the human resources strategy improves their relationships. It provides the clarity everyone needs to be successful in their jobs. This means:

  • Eliminating potential gray areas
  • Communicating often
  • Providing transparency

Clear expectations leave employees and managers free to focus on the tasks and issues that matter most. This, in turn, strengthens employee loyalty to the company and reduces turnover.

Keep it fair

Life is rarely fair, but we are responsible for leveling the playing field and providing equity wherever possible. A thoughtfully created human resources strategy facilitates this process and helps keep everything fair for employees navigating the workforce.

The strategy should address and prevent common workplace inequities, such as discrimination, based on:

  • Gender
  • Race
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Background
  • Among others

These checks and balances aren’t just crucial for employee recruitment and retention; they are the law.

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How to create a human resources strategy

Okay, you know that you need a human resources strategy or need to revise yours. The next question is, where do you start? Luckily, the task is easier than it sounds, and these 5 steps help put a strategy in place. We also recommend reviewing and revising your system annually to ensure it still meets the organization’s needs.

1.       Describe the current situation

Start with describing the current situation. This includes the following:

  • Business goals
  • Employee skill sets needed
  • Where the company wants to go

Identify any gaps, as it’ll be important to outline how your human resources strategy can help fill them later in the plan.

This section of your strategy should also outline any training needed, whether recurring for keeping licenses and certificates updated or new for software or other business features. The age of your workforce is also identified in your current situation, as it’ll help you determine if there will be a wave of retirements soon that could affect your staffing situation.

Identify industry trends such as artificial intelligence that may also impact your work.

2.       Outline the benefits you offer

Employees have many altruistic reasons to work for an organization. However, salary and benefits are still significant factors in employee recruitment and retention.

Remember that not all benefits need to be financial. Employees also value increased schedule flexibility, more paid time off, and other features.

Outline the benefits offered and how those compare to the cost of living and those offered by competitors. Your strategy should also include a plan for enhancing and adding to benefits over time. Remember that not all benefits need to be financial. Employees also value increased schedule flexibility, more paid time off, and other features.

3.       Identify the performance review process

We all need and want feedback. It’s also one of the key features that a human resources department provides. The performance review process should be clearly defined and explained in your strategy. It provides clarity for both employees and managers.

The rewards aligned with performance reviews should augment the benefits and help maintain your competitive advantage over other employers.

4.       Define success

Defining success is one often overlooked feature in developing human resources strategies. It’s important to define success for your strategy and the ways it will be measured. This will also help you revise the plan in the future.

Think of it as a performance review process for your department. Many human resources departments use surveys and other forms of employee feedback to help measure success.

5.       Communicate and train

Finally, communicate with employees about the human resources strategy and provide training to both employees and managers. The messaging should further enhance and confirm the human resources strategy and other areas of internal communications.

Offer training for employees and managers on a variety of topics. These topics include:

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Conducting performance reviews
  • delivering negative feedback
  • The relevant skillsets to the roles that employees and managers play

Ethics and diversity training should also be regularly offered as refreshers to keep employees aligned with the organization’s core values.

Hitting the road

The human resources strategy is a roadmap that identifies where an organization is, where it wants to be, the options for getting there, and what success looks like. Having this strategy in place relieves a huge burden on human resources professionals. It allows for the automation of specific processes, freeing up time in already packed schedules. It also provides the clarity employees, and managers need to feel confident in the organization and their role within it.

A human resources strategy isn’t a fail-proof plan. However, the organization that has one is certainly in a far better place than one without it. After all, when was the last time you hit the road without a destination or map.



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