HR and Business Strategy
Simply put, corporate strategy is the plan for continuously evolving your business. As an organisation, whatever your plan is, you need the support of your people to make it happen. Whether your goal is to be the leader in your industry, to become an eco-friendly company in a year from now or to simply increase sales by 30 percent, the key to success is to lead, direct and provide your people with the needed support, to perform at their best.
Understanding organisational goals and where the business is heading is a priority for many HR leaders. Such critical information helps readapt plans for the future of HR, as well as provide them with valuable insight into where the focus should be placed to support and enforce corporate strategy for HR practices and programs. In doing so, successful HR Leaders demonstrate a highly consultative approach and a solid business acumen. They frequently step out of the HR arena, which enables them to better understand the business context and lead HR initiatives that are closely linked to the corporate strategy and ultimately, to the success of the organisation.
There is still much discussion about HR supporting or being aligned with the business strategy. We would dare say that now’s the time, more than ever, for HR to aim higher and aspire to position itself as a key player in the development of strategy, as opposed to a mere contributor when it comes to implementation. It is true, that it’s easier said than done, yet even in a basic form, HR has a number of opportunities available to make this step. Here are some ideas:
- Proactively envisioning the medium- and long-term future of the organisation from a people perspective and building solid and visionary HR strategies, used as a point of reference for the development of the corporate strategy. In doing so, the need for HR specific data, as well as business data, is of utmost importance for HR Leaders. A solid HR strategy capitalises on existing people-related data, industry trends, the global context of the workforce, business intelligence related to competitors and market trends. It is also reliant on awareness and understanding of the different commercial aspects of the organisation and industry in addition to a solid understanding of the overall performance of the business across all areas.
- Implementing robust Talent Management processes, addressing contemporary challenges while also paving the way for the future. For example, having a clear understanding of the current capabilities within the organisation and the existing talent pool can be a valuable insight when defining the business strategy. It provides decision makers with an understanding of the capabilities that can be leveraged upon, helps in evaluating how ambitious the corporate strategy is, and assists in setting up priorities and realistic expectations for the strategy implementation.
- When done right, HR metrics and analytics alone, can create the space for HR to be an active contributor to the development of the business strategy. With the support of technology, more and more business decisions are now data-driven and the corporate strategy makes no exception. HR analytics provides visibility into how the business is performing and where it is heading. Comprehensive HR metrics, coupled with robust predictive capabilities can help HR and business leaders maximize the existing workforce, predict future performance, shape the talent pipeline and much more. For an HR leader, coming prepared to the corporate strategy planning meeting, means being ready to present relevant HR data and valuable insights that are closely linked to the commercial performance of the organisation and meaningful for everyone at the table.
Modern HR is more than just a supporting function, driven by a strategy that is aligned with the business objectives.Today’s HR is about driving the organisation forward by stepping up and proactively contributing to the development of the corporate strategy.