8 simple steps to define a sound HR strategy

Many HR teams find it difficult to define an HR strategy for their organization, team or department.
Here are eight simple steps.

1. Summarise the strategy of your organisation

Talk to your boss and other management team members. The strategy on paper is one; it becomes a lot livelier if people express their most burning business issues related to the strategy.

2. Determine required capabilities and culture

Using the results of 1, try to capture the capabilities that need to be strengthened and the culture that is required to implement the strategy. Do not define capabilities too narrow. It can be leadership, commercial, technical or organizational capabilities.
When you have your list ready, circle back to your stakeholders and colleagues. Do they agree? Do they have additional thoughts?

3. Make a (quick-and-dirty) gap analysis

Looking at the determined capabilities and culture, where are the biggest gaps?
You can use data you have available out of your employee surveys, the assessment centers and other sources, and you can also talk to people who know your organization well (partners. suppliers). When you are finished, make a list with priorities. Which gap is most urgent to close, and where can you reach the biggest impact with, preferably, the least effort?

4. Refresh your insight in the global and regional trends in the domain of people and organisation

What is happening outside? What are opportunities and threats? What are other companies doing? Can you try to extrapolate the trends covering the timeframe of the strategic plan?

5. Talk to you colleagues in other staff departments

Most issues need to be tackled in a multidisciplinary approach. IT and Communications are almost always involved. Also Legal, Finance, the Strategy team and what have you will be able to contribute. Gather their views and see where it makes sense to team up.

6. Utilise your knowledge of HR

What are the most effective interventions to close the high priority capability- and culture gaps?
As HR professional you have a broad array of HR interventions at your disposal. Recruitment. Training. Development. Compensation and Benefits. Organizational Design. Talent Management. Performance Management. And so on.
It might be as simple as a matrix with the gaps on one axe and the intervention possibilities on the other axe. If you tick all the boxes in the matrix, you do not have a plan. Again, prioritize. What are the interventions where you expect the biggest impact?

7. Make a planning and cost calculation

This is a clear step that does not need further explanation. Do not forget to clearly assign responsibilities per project. Also decide how you are going to track progress.

8. Communicate and discuss your plan

Discuss your draft plan with your management team, your HR team, your external partners and other stakeholders.
Check if you are able to tell a sound story. Make adaptations where necessary.

After these 8 steps you are able to start implementation. Keep close track of what is happening inside and outside the organization, because your plan will need frequent adaptation.


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