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By: Matt Ingold

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March 4th, 2016

3 Steps to Tying Strategic HR Initiatives back to Strategic Company Objectives

Workforce Management | Strategic HR

elephant-in-the-room.jpgComing from the Marine Corps, an organization that, despite its massive size, maintains an incredible adherence to organizational culture and alignment, my assumption coming into the private sector was that all organizations enjoyed such harmony, leadership, and trust.

This is where most business professionals, particularly HR professionals, start to LAUGH!

Human Capital Management Consultant, Mark Salisbury shares in his book Human Capital Management: Leveraging Your Workforce for a Competitive Advantage, that organizational misalignment is a common plight throughout the business profession, and that HR professionals are better positioned than any other officers in an organization to carry the standard for organizational alignment. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) would agree. In fact, “showing HR professionals how their responsibilities can align with the organization’s strategic plan” is verbatim one of SHRM’s top Criteria for assigning Strategic Management Course Accreditation.

So, Human Capital initiatives are needed in your organization, but what are the steps to making sure they are tied back to the overall company mission and goals?

1. Learn your organization’s must up-to-date strategic vision

If the last strategic update you received was 30 days ago, chances are it’s stale. HR professionals can get so caught up in the transactional responsibilities of Human Resource Management that they are oblivious to the overall purpose of the organization they are a part of. As a result, we rarely find organizations that bring HR into regular discussions pertaining to strategic vision.

Business Culture Consultant, Patrick Lencioni, advises in his book Death by Meeting that healthy organizations are convening on a monthly basis to discuss strategic shifts and align the management team in a focused direction. The fast-paced and ever-shifting market demands such regular round-tables to make sure that the organizational ship is not heading for the shoals.

Step-1 to aligning HR initiatives with the company vision is making sure that you are in sync with the latest version of strategic priorities.

2. Nest and prioritize initiatives

The desired outcome of a properly nested strategic HR initiative must generate a result or foster conditions that enable or drive the ultimate mission of the organization.

What does this mean? Here is an example.

Organizational Strategic Decision: ABC Tech has decided to introduce a new line of software products to its portfolio of product offerings, and is preparing to hire a significant sales force to cross-sell the product to current clients.

Nested HR Project: Knowing that the current client service department will have to be prepared to service the new product, HR develops a new-product training program for client service representatives with financial incentives to drive reps to quickly grow their competency level in the new system.

Strategic Impact: Happy reps, delighted customers, increased retention, increased competency

By nesting strategic HR initiatives within the organizational vision and prioritizing your desired projects toward those that return the greatest impact on the company mission, HR can begin to depart from the stereotype of “necessary evil” and rebrand itself as a bottom-line impacting department.

Related Blog: How to Build a Business Case for HR Technology

3. Find creative ways to make space for strategic HR initiatives

Alright, so arguably this should have been at the top of the list. The elephant in the room (oh, now the photo makes sense) of every strategic HR discussion is the reality that until the daily transactional responsibilities are streamlined or reduced, no one has time for Human Capital Initiatives. So what’s the solution?

HR CANNOT BE AFRAID OF TECHNOLOGY!

You cannot have Human Capital Management without an efficient way of handling the transactional HR responsibilities, and most HR pros are painfully unaware of the new systems available in today’s market. If it’s been a year since you explored HR tech solutions, then it is time to look again. I recognize that this can be intimidating, as ultimately this exploration leads to HR standing open palmed in front of the C-suite.

But that does not mean that your palm has to be empty. This is where HR pros need to harness the art of building a business case of HR technology. The brass has something to gain from freeing up its HR staffers to think and act strategically. Becoming a strategic HR professional might have to begin with a strategic pitch of your own.

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About Matt Ingold

Matt serves as Benetech's Director of Business Development. He helps employers reduce the cost of personnel management, and discover where improved talent management can give their business a competitive advantage.

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