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Published on: HR Consultant

How HR Supports Organisational Strategy

As an HR leader, it can be tough to be excluded from meetings that you know you should be in, when you know that your role reaches and influences every part and aspect of the business.

How do you articulate the importance of the HR function, and how do you make sure the decision makers understand the value of its role?

This article will help you to communicate the contribution of the HR team and why it is critical to involve HR at a strategic level to support the long-term business goals and outcomes of the strategic framework.

Organisations invest time and money in designing and implementing strategies to ensure the success of the business. Quite often senior managers and even external consultants are called in to help formulate and develop action plans designed to take the business forward. However, what many of them tend to overlook is the human factor and this is where strategy can fall down.

The key to the successful implementation and delivery of any organisational strategy lies with its people, led by the HR department. The business cannot deliver its strategic goals without the right people, with the right skills in the right places, and with the right motivation to do the best they possibly can.  For this reason it is crucial that the Executive Team of any organisation understands the full value of the HR function and ensures it is effectively aligned with all overarching strategies.

The Human Resources team extends far beyond an administrative, recruitment or compliance role, delivering vital functions that contribute to the success of any long term strategy.

  1. Organisational Vision & Values

It might sound twee but in order to achieve great things everyone on the team must be pulling in the same direction. The organisation often relies exclusively on the HR team to communicate the vision and the values of the company to the entire workforce (quite why that’s the case when the marketing team are the professional communicators of the business is a mystery to me, but my view that HR and Marketing should collaborate more is an entirely different blog!).  Employees must be strategically focused and understand what the organisation is trying to achieve.

2.             Company culture as a supporter of the strategy
The strategy is the ‘what’ needs to be done – the culture is the ‘how’. If the culture isn’t discussed in the boardroom or leadership meetings, the business is missing a key component. HR has the skills and knowledge to support the organisation in bringing strategy to life through its people.  Not a bunch of compliance policies – but how people interact with each other.  In a positive, supportive environment, individuals thrive and are happy and productive.

3.             Helping managers identify the skills needed in their team (and themselves)
In order to be able to do the business, the business needs the right skills.  HR works closely with managers to identify the skills they need within their team to be able to deliver their objectives.  HR practitioners are increasingly required to understand how to strategically manage human resources in line with the organisation’s future direction, and ensuring the business has the right knowledge, skills and attitudes underpins the success of the whole organisation.

4.             Reward levers to support the strategy
HR helps the business articulate the level of performance expected and required by the workforce and how it will be achieved.  HR advises how best to support this performance through effective performance reward schemes, so employees truly understand the link between their behaviour, the business performance, and what they are paid. ‘If I do this, then I will get that’ is a link often crucially missed by many reward systems.

5.             Employee engagement
Productivity, quality and service are critical issues for any organisation.  The HR team understands what drives someone to feel engaged and motivated to apply discretionary effort to their role. Understanding the employee journey is a lot like understanding the customer journey, yet many companies don’t see the link.How do employees talk about their job and employer with their friends at the pub? Are they advocates, trying to convince their friends they should also join the business?  Or are they wishing they could work somewhere else, and asking their friends if they know of any vacancies.

6.             Performance and productivity
The psychology of motivation is so much more than a performance appraisal system, or a bonus.  Fixing a bonus scheme won’t improve an employee’s performance any more than completing a once a year performance review.  Performance and productivity are a fluid system of ongoing coaching, feedback, trust and supportive goal setting.  I’ve researched this one academically and a white paper will shortly reveal more.

7.             Training & Development
An organisation that is investing in its workforce and is a learning organisation has the competitive edge in the market and is more likely to attract and retain high quality staff. This isn’t about sending managers on a two-day course to a hotel somewhere to eat mint imperials and get a ring binder of stuff that will go into a drawer and gather dust.  This is about learning on the job, identifying stretch tasks, coaching and mentoring, to apply the learning and grow and develop their skillset.

8.             Change management  
As the organisation evolves and grows the HR department plays an integral role in ensuring the workforce is available to deliver the work.   There are three key components to change – vision, implementation and persuasion.  The last one is often forgotten, and that’s where the HR expert is crucial. HR leaders understand the emotions of change, and can support managers to be able to help employees embrace and adapt to a changing environment.

9.             Future Proof Organisation Design
As every organisation evolves, it should periodically pose the question – ‘what got us here might not get us there’. What new skills and capabilities will be needed?  What gaps are there, and how can we build succession to fill those predicted gaps?

HR isn’t simply concerned with the hiring and firing of employees but sometimes it can be challenging to get the whole organisation to see the wider functions of the Human Resources department.

HR is the foundation on which each and every successful organisation is built and without HR practitioners who are skilled, equipped and properly supported to perform this full range of functions, the business will inevitably suffer.

If you would like advice or coaching to increase your confidence in delivering an HR service that packs a punch, rather than merely turning the wheel,  and how to truly highlight the value your work brings to the organisation, contact me for a bespoke package of coaching and mentoring support tailored to your needs.

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