Getting your HR strategy on track : 5 tips

Sophie Heatley · 01 Dec

Do not underestimate the power of HR strategy. Strategic human resource management could be the answer to all your business management woes.

Why is HR strategy important?

Before we establish why HR strategy is important, we should first of all define human resources. In short, human resources is the department that handles the hiring, administration and training of employees within a company or organisation.

But ‘in short’ doesn’t really compliment how valuable the HR department actually is. They’re responsible for pretty much all things worker-related; they’re the overseers of your beloved employees.

Starting to see why these guys are so essential? They’re the foundation of your employees’ productivity, satisfaction, engagement, and morale. HR is no longer about just hiring and firing. The role of HR in a company affects all aspects and levels of the organisation. HR is your most valuable business resource.

Okay, so HR look after a lot of business stuff. Let’s cover specifics. 

man at laptop

What do human resources do?

Recruitment process

This includes interviewing and selecting new hires, as well as monitoring which departments would benefit from new hires. It’s vital the recruitment process goes well because if new hires fail to meet your company’s standards, perhaps because they don’t have the right experience or simply lack the oomph you require, it could impact production efforts.

Again, it’s not just about finding people who fit the job spec. It’s about choosing people who will fit the company culture. The HR team should know the company inside out.

On-boarding process

Because HR know the company from stem to stern, they’re also pretty keyed up on how to take care of new hires. HR organises induction processes for newbies, and is responsible for helping them settle into their new gig.

This is also a preventative measure. An easy immersion generally helps to avoid mishaps in the future, especially problems provoked by poor integration.

Employee Management

This can mean a mega-monster to-do list including paperwork tasks, sorting legal compliance docs, dealing with public relations, managing employee benefits and incentives, as well as updating employees with any need-to-know info. What a mouthful.

Oh, and don’t forget conflict resolution too! HR is the trusty middleman, between management and employees, who you go to when you need help with a professional concern.

notes on strategy

Growth and Development

You’re probably starting to gather that HR, with all their fingers in various cookies jars, are still managing to spin plates on their heads. They’re also in charge of sorting out employee development strategies. This means the continued education and training of staff.

HR should be aware of the progress, or regress, taking place in various departments so it can figure out who needs an extra hand, or maybe who doesn’t need help but would enthusiastically try something new to better themselves.

Activities organised by HR could include software training, coding classes, first aid courses, mental health awareness courses… the list goes on. Any activity that will help to achieve company goals and maintain the values of the business should be researched and promoted by HR.   

Engagement

The HR team works hard to improve the quality of work life for employees. Employee engagement is based on the personal involvement of employees in the success of the company. Employee engagement directly impacts company productivity.

HR can help maintain employee engagement in various ways. Through monitoring and helping with group dynamics, keeping tabs on employee health and wellbeing, maintaining a strong level of communication with employees and between various departments, and finally, by sharing and embracing the company’s WHY to help give employees purpose and clarity in their role.

Company Image

If they’re responsible for employee wellbeing, engagement, and development, they’re pretty much the lifeline of the company. By consistently keeping staff informed with the company’s core values and ambitions, the HR department helps protect the company’s agenda and interests. This ultimately influences how the public will view the corporate image.

How can my HR team manage all the above?

With a good strategy, that’s how.

Strategic HRM tools and HRM strategic planning can be what decides if your company succeeds or stagnates.

What makes an HR team effective is how well it strategises business management. This strategising needs to be indefatigably thorough.

Based on the amalgamation of roles and responsibilities just given, we’ve concocted a few tips and tricks to help you or your HR team carry out the above tasks seamlessly.

invest in your employees

Here are 5 HR strategy tips your business shouldn’t be without

  1. Get your story straight

Earlier, we touched on how HR gives employees purpose and clarity in their job by helping to firmly establish the company’s WHY.

A key element of putting together any business strategy is thoroughly understanding what the end goal is. What is the mission? Why is that the mission?

If your HR team knows the company’s aims and prospects back to front, it can to start to truly innovate and individualise its management system to support and maintain these very goals. 

The HR department plays an enormous part in upholding an organisation’s image, so through understanding the fundamental motivations of the organisation, it can focus and found its performance management tactics and employee incentives around this.

Some good questions to ask when putting together your mission are: is this goal specific enough? What methods can we use to measure progress towards this goal? Are these methods realistic? What is the time-frame for reaching the target?

  1. Clear Communication

This leads on directly from tip number one. To have outstanding employees, you need to set outstanding expectations and clearly communicate these. Define your goals clearly. For employees to know how to stand out and how to go above and beyond, they need to know what this ‘beyond’ ultimately is.

Expectations and performance goals need to be clearly set out and tracked. Once there is clarity there, your HR team can start looking out for clear performance indicators (KPIs) – a quantifiable measure used to monitor the success of an employee or business in relation to meeting performance objectives.

Note down, though, that your KPIs are only as valuable as the actions they inspire. It’s up to your HR team to affect positive change by giving out clear and relevant information about what is required of employees to succeed.

Make sure you’re getting communication back too – this should be an iterative process. You want feedback communicated from employees, department heads, analysts and managers. Hop to it, liaise!

checking phone

  1. Career Advancement Programs

So, you’ve established what it is that you want your employees to do, now you need to provide them with the appropriate resources to do it well.

Invest in developing the employees strategically. Send employees to various platform-specific training events or workshops and cover certification and course fees. This could be a CIPD course, for example. Otherwise, why not sponsor your employees to go to industry or networking events?

These are all great ways to keep your employees learning, advancing and growing – this benefits the employee just as much as the company!

  1. Resourcing

This has a lot to do with maintaining organisational culture. Really, for all you HRers, onboard like your life depends on it.

As part of your strategy, get resourcing nailed. This isn’t just about hiring new team members. No, no, and no. This covers every means available to meet the needs of your firm for certain skills and behaviours.

This involves creating a pipeline for bringing in external talent to improve the current workforce. It also involves covering all grounds in interviews to make sure the new hires’ attitudes and ethos are congruent with what the company and management believe in.

This means a lot of planning ahead when it comes to resourcing: plan your approaches to obtain people conducive to company success. This ensures the organisation gains the talented people it requires and retains them for management succession. Your hires might be the future leaders of the business, after all.

  1. Compensation and Benefits

Keep your employees happy with compensation and benefits schemes, such as those offered by Perkbox, to increase company retention rates.  Keeping your employees happy generally leads to higher retention rates. It’s easier and more cost effective to invest in retaining staff than it is to rehire, retrain, and reintegrate new members of staff. It’s a no-brainer.

Benefits and rewards will contribute to not just keeping your staff but retaining your top talent. Your biggest earners won’t hang around if they don’t feel appreciated.

Offering meaningful raises, promotions, and good benefits are all good ways to keep your staff satisfied, seated and ready to keep up the high standard.

piggy bank

All-star HR Strategy examples

Businesses such as FedEx, John Lewis and Tesco, all understand the importance of good HR strategy.

FedEx in the USA focus a lot of their HR strategy around employee wellbeing and engagement. They have a ‘People-Service-Profit’ philosophy which promotes positive company growth through treating employees well. They track their employee satisfaction with regular surveys – a great idea for getting feedback when dealing with lots of employees!

John Lewis, the major retail department store group in the UK, are often cited for their humane way of doing business. They opt for a more formal, bureaucratic HR system built around a carefully planned system of checks and balances set out in a document which they call ‘The Constitution’.

The main theme of The Constitution is moral responsibility; employee happiness and harmony is valued as the utmost important aim of the business. John Lewis have a committee for communication, covering our second crucial tip right there, which hold regular meetings.

Their approach remains more traditional than the techy tactic of many new start-ups, but it’s interesting to see how it clearly works well for them, proven by their large supply of loyal employees.

Tesco, a big daddy in the grocery sector, have a well-established HR strategy which has enabled them to move from strength to strength. They base their HR strategy around the communities in which their stores operate.

pie charts and graphs

They promote their brand through providing active support to local communities, providing jobs to locals, and taking care of the local environment. Their strategy is therefore largely based on resourcing from the local area and creating a positive corporate image through local support efforts.

What the above all have in common is that they hone in on a particular aspect of their company and really develop that in particular. This development acts as a conduit to working on brand image, loyalty and engagement. Interesting tactics!

Whatever you choose to do, follow our top five tips and you’ll be well on your way to delivering an effective and fruitful HR strategy. Your strategy doesn’t have to be overly complicated. As FedEx, John Lewis, and Tesco have shown, the best strategies are succinct, sincere and carefully planned.

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