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How to create an HR strategy

As we draw closer to the end of the financial year in March, many organisations begin to review their strategic plans and draft their business plans.  One aspect of this will be to ensure that your HR strategy supports your business plan.  What does this mean in practice?


What are your organisation’s long term goals?

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) describes strategic HR management as an approach to the management of human resources that provides a strategic framework to support long term organisation goals.

The starting point is therefore to be clear about what the long term goals are for your organisation. Is it to grow? To increase surplus? To improve on existing services? To change direction? Attract different types of funding?

Your organisation’s goals may not be unique to you but the specific plans you need to put them in place will be.


What staff resources do you already have?

Whatever your longer term goals, it is inevitable that your staff will be instrumental in achieving these. It is also true that your staff might be involved in shaping these goals.

This has two dimensions. Firstly, front line staff are often closer to your service users or members than senior managers and their knowledge may be as valuable as any amount of expensive market research. The second dimension involves using the talents and capabilities of your staff team to shape your strategic plans.

For example, a strategic goal which aims to grow the range of services you offer might be shaped by a staff member with a particular area of expertise or interest. In other words you could build a strategy, in part, around the staff resources you already have.  


Can your current staff structure deliver your goals?

Once you are clear about the business goals, this will lead you to a second set of questions around your current staff.  If you accept that your staff will be instrumental in achieving your strategic goals then you will need to ask whether you have the right staff in place to do that. More specifically whether they have the skills, knowledge and experience you need; whether they are in the right location and working the hours that you need; whether you have enough of particular types of skills or a surplus in a particular area. In other words, whether you have the right staffing structure to deliver your goals.


Does your organisational culture support your aims?

What is the culture? And does it support your strategic aims?  For example, do you have a culture where you’re more reactive than proactive? Think about the type of organisation you want to be and need to be for your strategic aims and this can be the starting point for your HR strategy.


Define your HR strategy

All these questions should point towards the aims of your HR strategy. Once you are clear about these you will want to move onto the next phase which is to identify the individual HR actions which might need to be taken.

These will typically fall under traditional headings such as recruitment, pay and reward, performance management, staff engagement, workforce planning, staff development etc.

What is really important at this stage is that there is clarity over how the actions you choose will contribute not only to the HR strategy but to the organisation’s strategic and business plans and that their impact can be measured.  

An example of how all this might work in practice could be something like: an organisation having a strategic aim to double the size of an advice service. This might lead to an objective in the business plan to achieve the Matrix standard within a year. This in turn could lead to a series of HR actions including conducting a skills audit; introducing competences which can be used to improve recruitment and, identifying ways of using appraisal to support the Matrix standard.  Each HR action should be drafted as a SMART (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and timely) objective so that it’s contribution to the strategic aim is clear. 

Further information

HR Services Partnership are one of the preferred suppliers and they specialise in providing HR support and advice to the voluntary and community sector. All HR Services Partnership's consultants are qualified HR professionals and their aim is to provide smaller organisations with access to affordable and excellent HR advice and services. The services can be engaged on an ad-hoc, project or retained basis.



Page last edited Mar 10, 2016 History

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