What is an HR strategy?

An HR strategy is an organized set of HR methods designed to support high-performance work and promote the company’s vision, mission, values, and objectives. HR may create a strategy for a single job or a collection of jobs to address specific needs within each department. 

HR strategies aim to drive overall business success by spurring employees to provide high-quality work. In SHRM’s guide on Human Resource strategy, Patrick M. Wright outlines three crucial elements successful HR strategies focus on:

  • Have something. What skills, competencies, and abilities can employees offer?
  • Feel something. What level of commitment, engagement, and motivation do your people demonstrate?
  • Do something. How do your people demonstrate productivity?

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Why is HR strategy important? 

An HR strategy guides HR professionals toward reaching business objectives while aligning with company values. The strategy enables efficient use of the budget and effective management of HR processes. Implementing an HR strategy that focuses on nurturing community, autonomy, employee-company value alignment, and employee growth can increase retention, engagement, productivity, performance, and profit. 

What is an HR strategy plan? 

An HR strategy plan paints a picture of where your organization is currently and helps identify how to reach your goals. Consider using a SWOT analysis to help evaluate your organization’s goals, create new ones, and match the right people to the roles that best utilize their skill sets. HR strategy plans can also help you determine which new positions to open and what kinds of programs will support your people as your company evolves.

What are the benefits of strategic human resource planning?

Strategic human resource planning enables companies to visualize and capitalize upon their current strengths and anticipate future challenges. 

Some benefits of strategic human resource planning are: 

  • Boosting the bottom line with targeted budget allocation
  • Reducing staff turnover 
  • Increasing team engagement and productivity 
  • Attracting top talent 

How can you develop an effective HR strategy?

HR leaders can develop a thorough and dynamic HR strategy by: 

  • Carving out time to plan. Dedicate several focused hours to home in on pertinent questions, research external factors, and outline the strategy. Documenting essential information and goals helps pave a smoother path for implementing the strategy. 
  • Creating a checklist. Developing an HR strategy plan can feel overwhelming—there is a lot of information to include in such a comprehensive document. Breaking the task into smaller categories by drafting a checklist enables HR professionals to develop a well-rounded strategy with all the essential components.
  •  Aligning with other business leaders. Every successful HR strategy must align with the company’s overall business strategy. In today’s ever-changing work world, it’s best practice to build a people-first and agile business strategy built to adapt to unforeseen challenges. 
  • Creating a timeline. The timeline should identify goals that HR leaders aim to reach throughout the year and in the long term. Routinely reassessing milestones can help companies stay on track while adjusting to unpredictable changes in the market.

Best practices for implementing an HR strategy

No one can predict how and how often the market and needs of the company will change. But, staying proactive can keep you one step ahead and ready to pivot at the drop of a hat. These guidelines can help build a proactive HR strategy:

Work with other company leaders. HR strategy serves as the foundation of a people-focused business strategy and requires the collaboration of HR and other leaders from across an organization.

  • Secure your budgets. Allocating a budget to HR programs is critical. Work with your finance team to secure a budget and ensure your programs have the financial support they need to be successful. 
  • Constantly review your strategy. To keep up with changing business needs, it’s crucial to review your strategy frequently. This will enable you to identify elements that must be updated and adjust KPIs when necessary.
  • Encourage cross-team collaboration and transparency. The best people strategies support cross-team collaboration, liquid teams, and transparency. This approach nurtures trust and team building. It also enables companies to shift gears quickly and leverage their workforce’s skill set, avoiding the need for large-scale layoffs and massive recruitment efforts with every market change.

What are some examples of HR strategy?

HR strategies can be characterized as either expansive or specified. Expansive HR strategies address the management of an organization as a whole. Specified strategies focus on improving a specific HR function—for example, recruitment, compensation planning, and employee development. While every HR strategy is different anf tailored to the unique needs of each organization, common HR strategies typically include:

  • Constant communication between HR, leadership, and team members 
  • Provisions for positive onboarding and offboarding experiences 
  • Diverse and inclusive hiring practices
  • Career mobility and professional development 
  • Competitive compensation and benefits packages 
  • Trust and transparency 
  • Prioritizing employee health and mental wellbeing

How can HR tech support strategic human resource management?

Without technology, the ever-evolving nature of HR can leave us feeling like we’re juggling a dozen balls in the air at once. HR tech can streamline processes, helping companies improve operational efficiency, removing the burden of administrative tasks, and allowing people to refocus on strategic, higher-level duties. 

HR technology can assist strategic human resource management by: 

  • Automating processes, storing data in the same place, and making information easier to access
  • Removing human errors and biases
  • Collecting data via analytics, providing greater capacity for evaluation and improvement 

How can a comprehensive HR strategy improve company culture?

HR strategies are the bedrock for successful HR processes, enabling organizations to function seamlessly and prepare for potential disruption. Intentionally planning recruitment, hiring, and training and development practices to elevate the employee experience can ultimately nurture a healthy company culture of satisfied employees.