Take a Good Look at Strategic HR

By Kathy Gurchiek June 27, 2011

LAS VEGAS—A small-group exercise on dealing with HR strategy issues prompted robust discussions among attendees at a sold-out June 26, 2011, seminar about “Strategic HR: Delivering Business Results.” The seminar was part of the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 63rd Annual Conference & Exposition.

Table-top questions on strategic issues that business leaders typically encounter—in talent acquisition, performance management, total rewards, and training and development—drew attendees into the discussions at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. One conversation highlighted the importance of conducting a demographic assessment of an organization to determine if the types of rewards being offered are appropriate.

For example, a demographic assessment may show that the employee population skews young but that the rewards package does not meet the needs of that particular demographic, noted seminar leader Milton Perkins, SPHR. He serves as senior director of HR for Workforce Consulting at Agile1 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

In addition, it’s critical that the organization and HR communicate with employees about the rewards package.

“Your total rewards system is not just cash,” Perkins pointed out. “Some things,” such as incentives, “are motivators and impact job satisfaction.”

He advised employers to train employees in the skills organizations currently need, cautioning that “If you train everybody strategically, you’re developing skills for your competitors.”

Pointing again to generational differences among employees, he noted that Millennials are “thirsting for knowledge.” They are not interested in long-term employment, but instead deliberately “job hop” as they look for ways to gain experience and skills from different employers.

Perkins shared seven steps for creating an HR strategic plan:

Get the big picture. Assess work completed in the organizational strategic plan, review more organizational documentation if necessary, and identify the organizational context that influences the HR strategy.

Conduct an HR analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Review it, collect any data needed to complete it, and identify the context that influences the HR strategy.

Develop an HR mission statement or statement of intent. Initiate and lead a planning session with HR leaders, and craft or review the HR mission and vision so they align with the organizational vision and corporate values statement.

Conduct a detailed HR analysis. Initiate and lead a planning session with HR leaders to identify current and future HR requirements.

Determine critical people issues. Conduct a gap analysis between the current HR systems and future HR requirements. “This is going to start defining your work,” Perkins said.

Develop HR goals, metrics, consequences and solutions.

Implement and evaluate the HR strategic plan. Write the first draft, review it, and finalize it with HR leaders. The plan should address communicating, disseminating and executing the plan. “This [step] is not done in one day,” Perkins said.

Kathy Gurchiek is associate editor for SHRM Online.



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