A business strategy is your overall plan for defining success, setting goals, and working out tactics to help your business grow. It informs many of your organizational decisions.
Your business strategy helps you understand your company's strengths and weaknesses, effectively allocate resources, and keep control over your activities. It gives you a strong competitive advantage over others in your field and also helps ensure that everyone is on the same page.
So, how can HR help you implement your strategy?
There are seven ways in which your HR team supports your business strategy and overall growth:
Hiring the right people is absolutely vital for your business strategy. HR's job is to help you work out what the right people are and what skills and qualifications they need. New talent should also be acquired with thought as to your core values.
Your growth strategy might also go into when new talent should be acquired, and at what stage of your business' development specific people are needed.
This requires going beyond recruiting and into talent acquisition. For example, it might involve hiring employees who speak Spanish right before expanding into Latin America. You might even recruit somebody in a lower-level position with the precise thought of moving them into a higher one which doesn't exist yet.
Along the same lines, the strategy should inform the training and professional development provided to employees. Employees can and should be trained for functions you intend to bring online six months or a year down the line. This means that when you are ready to expand, you already have people ready to go with no downtime.
Ideally, this should also encompass soft and transferable skills, as that training can be used as a perk to attract top talent.
Are your employees aware of your strategic goals? If so, you need to keep them around to see it through. Employee retention is a huge part of keeping a good organizational culture and steering your business in the right direction. It makes sure that you keep the employee experience you have developed through appropriate selection and training of candidates.
While some turnover is inevitable, HR can help here by ensuring that employees get everything they need, reducing conflict, and, of course, ensuring the right perks and benefits are present.
Lack of engagement is a huge problem. Many employees are not committed to the organization and its goals. Engagement is about getting your employees to believe in your company. An engaged employee puts in more effort, is willing to work late when needed, does the job even when not being supervised, etc.
HR helps with engagement by ensuring that employees are fully aware of the company's goals, by trying to hire people who are likely to believe in them, and by treating employees in ways that increase engagement. Engagement is often linked to retention, as engaged employees are more likely to stick around.
Nothing can derail your company faster than a compliance issue, and employment law can be one of the trickiest areas. A fine for not properly verifying immigration status or having to pay back pay because somebody didn't calculate overtime properly can eat up money you were about to spend on something important to your company's growth.
Human Resources makes sure that these missteps don't happen and that your company stays in compliance with federal and state labor laws. This also means that you don't have to worry as much about these things and can focus your attention on core competencies and growing your business.
Last, but not least, HR is responsible for developing your company policies regarding employment. This includes things like work from home policies, time off, whether you allow dogs in the office.
These policies should align with your values and expectations. For example, people are more productive when they take breaks, so HR should set policies that encourage people to use their vacation time. Flexible scheduling also tells people a lot about you as an employer.
You can develop policies that support retention and engagement, and which help prospective employees make the right decision as to whether your company is a fit for them.
Successfully executing your business strategy requires the cooperation of your entire company. Human resources, however, has a particularly key role. It is up to them to ensure that you hire the right people, train them properly, keep them around, and generate a company culture that encourages engagement and supports your goals and values.