What should we be doing differently, as a small/medium-sized business, to strategically manage our HR function?
No matter what the size of your organization, it is important for the Human Resources function to be strategically aligned with the business goals and strategies of the company.
To start, you need to understand the purpose HR serves to the organization. Regardless of whether an individual handles HR as part of their other duties, you have a one person HR department or a full HR team, the purpose of HR will need to be defined specifically for your organization. Does HR exist to administratively process paperwork and track employees? Is it to enforce rules and manage employee relations? Or maybe it is to be a coach or advisor to the company on employee and management issues. Whether it is a task-based role or a strategic role, it is important to determine this purpose.
Next, evaluate company goals to determine how HR will align with them. If the company doesn’t have a formal plan or set goals, there are likely some key objectives that the organization is striving to reach – i.e. sales, profit, growth. For HR to be more strategic, determine how HR can support these objectives. For example, if a goal is to increase sales by 10% this year, the HR function might want to consider internal goals such as:
- Reviewing the compensation of sales (and other staff) to ensure compensation provides the right incentive to meet sales goal;
- Developing the necessary training for the (sales) team to be sure they have the skill set and knowledge to successfully sell the product or service;
- Evaluating the (sales) team to determine if the right staff exists to meet goals, or, if you happen to be short staffed, based on productivity results;
- Ensuring clear expectations are set with the (sales) team including measures that will be used to evaluate performance.
This is just an example, but gives an idea of the type of thinking that takes place in order for HR to be a strategic solution for the company.
Working strategically, and formulating a plan to guide the HR function in a more strategic direction, does take time to implement on top of an already full plate. So, how to start:
- Shuffle priorities – is there something you are doing that could be delegated or outsourced to free up time to work on strategy?
- Identify subject matter experts – are there others in the organization that have the expertise needed/have an interest in developing by working on a special project?
- Assemble a team – can the strategic goals be met with a team effort rather than by one person?
- Use an outside expert – do you need to outsource the project (to someone like Strategic HR) to get the project done in a timely manner with the right expertise?
Once the HR function has its’ goals clearly defined in conjunction with the corporate strategy it will be easier to identify areas in which HR needs to make adjustments to be more strategically aligned with the organization and with the leadership team. As with the organizational strategic plan, the HR strategy will need to be revisited and revised periodically to address changes in the organization and the goals of the company.
Are daily HR issues interfering with your ability to focus on the strategic matters of your company? Do you find yourself at odds with the directives of the leadership team? Strategic HR knows how integral human resources is to the health of your organization and can assist you with HR strategy needs. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn how we can assist you with your strategy and help align your goals.