Working strategically is very much about knowing where you want to go. That is essentially what a strategy is, a destination and a plan for how to get there. The same applies to strategic HR. You have to know where you want to go, for what reason and how to get there. After that, it means getting everyone involved on board with the plan.
What is strategic HR?
We often divide HR work into two categories: strategic and operational HR.
Strategic HR is about how to work strategically with planning in relation to the human factor in a company; that the management and board of a company see HR as a business partner and an essential part of achieving the company's long-term goals.
Operational HR is what is traditionally called personnel administration. This is what deals with contracts, recruitment, onboarding of new employees and the structures that are about being employed in a company.
In order to work strategically with HR, you have to look a little further than just the people who work with human resources in the company. You must have the management on your side, especially those who have personnel responsibility in a company. Let's take a closer look at what that means.
Hva betyr å legge en HR-strategi?
What does creating an HR strategy involve?
Creating an HR strategy requires some forward thinking, that is to say lifting your gaze from daily HR tasks and planning where you want to be in a given amount of time. It is wise to do this in collaboration with the rest of the management in a company. If you can get the board and management to agree on a goal, it is much easier to achieve the goal in the long term. Of course, this requires that the management of the company views and trusts HR as a business partner.
It is important to understand that the operative part of the HR job is not put on pause while you focus on creating an HR strategy, and that prioritising strategic work in the day-to-day round may feel difficult. A good tip, then, is to make sure you have a reliable HR tool that can help you automate many of the small tasks that continue all the time. For example, all the tasks related to new appointments. With a good HR system, you can automate the onboarding process and ensure that the right person is informed of the right task at the right time.
You can read more about good onboarding in this article: It is not difficult to get good onboarding if you have the right tools. We will show you how!
"One good tip is to make sure you have a reliable HR tool that can help you automate many of the small tasks that continue all the time."
How do you create an HR strategy for your company?
Getting down to brass tacks then, how do you go about creating a strategy? Our suggestion is that you write down a few, clear priorities. A strategy cannot accommodate everything, and it is important to focus on the time ahead. Ask the management team questions and look for key figures that may indicate where the company wants to be headed. After you have listed your priorities, it is a good idea to reconnect with the management team. Get the managers on board with your plan; they need to feel ownership for it too. That makes it much easier to get things rolling. The idea is that your strategy should be reflected in the decisions that are made all the way from the boardroom down to the staff meetings that the various managers have with their people.
This of course requires that you are able to communicate your strategy to the organisation and that they buy into your plan. It is much easier to get people to back a plan that is communicated frequently and transparently. And keep your strategy alive! Don't be afraid to alter your strategy as you gradually get to see what works and what doesn't. This only increases people's confidence that the plan is good, and makes it easier for people to join in.
Example of an HR strategy
Write a list of what you want to achieve and why it is important. The list below contains a few suggestions for what a strategy could contain and a little bit about how you can measure any progress.
- Introduction to HR
Here you can write a little about what the various employees can expect from HR; what are typical HR tasks and why it is important that these are done.
- Our culture (a picture of where we are going)
Here you can write about the culture you want the company to have. Say something about the fact that this is not static, and that everyone must contribute to achieve the desired culture.
- Management development
What must managers do to achieve the given goals? Write a little about the responsibilities of the various managers towards the employees.
- Competence development
What do the employees need to learn, and how is the company going to ensure that people have the opportunity to develop their own skills?
Write a little about the needs you imagine the company will have in the future and the resources that it is important to have in place in order to meet those needs.
Next, make a list of which measures must be fulfilled in order to consider each point achieved. Here, it is a good idea to be specific. Write, for example, "We will hire two people with developer expertise to strengthen our technical delivery".
With a concrete action plan, it is much easier to see whether the strategy is actually being followed. It makes it easier for you to see if the work is progressing, and it makes it easier for all managers to see what needs more focus.
Now you know (almost) everything you need to know to create an HR strategy. Remember that we at Huma are here to help you. We can help you create a plan, help you automate your day-to-day processes, and we can connect you with consultants who are experts in these specific aspects. Don't be afraid to get in touch!