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Strategic Human Resource Management
Strategic Human Resource Management

Being Strategic

We hear a lot these days about the need to be strategic. We know that organizations need an effective and well-articulated strategy to navigate the turbulent times we inhabit. But what does it really mean to be a strategic Human Resource professional?

First, strategic HR differs from the traditional HR administrative role in that it requires going beyond providing requested services to building business partnerships with management and aligning HR objectives and activities with business goals and strategy. It is the linkage between organizational strategy and human resource strategy and practices that leads to improved business performance based on cultures that foster excellence and innovation.

This process is outlined below. The first step is to have a clear business strategy based on a systematic strategic planning process, including SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. Next, the human resource function must develop its own strategy to support the business. This often requires a realignment of HR functions and key people practices. Then, HR needs to identify core competencies for major job positions, based on the organization strategy. This leads to a competency model that describes key skills and behaviors which support the organization’s strategy. Finally, HR must deploy this strategy through efficient work processes that achieve desired results for managing organizational talent from recruitment to retirement. To determine if the strategic alignment is effective, frequent evaluation of results is required. This may be done through a balanced scorecard that cascades from the organization’s bottom-line to the key enablers of organizational strategy, such as outstanding people practices.

Strategic Practices for HR

For human resource professionals who are just beginning this journey, here are examples of best practices for strategic HR management.

1. Consulting and building partnerships with managers to jointly solve performance problems and drive improvement.

2. Human Resources forecasting and job planning as a basis for recruitment.

3. Human Resources measurement and analytics to demonstrate value and monitor progress.

4. Change management to manage organizational culture through turbulent times.

5. Motivating and retaining high performing employees using a wide variety of incentives and rewards.

6. Developing human capital through continuous learning.

7. Developing organizational leadership, including succession planning.

8. Conducting strategic planning, especially in the areas of strengths and weaknesses related to human resources.

9. Planning and implementing HR technologies to drive efficiency, self-service and improve organizational communications.

To learn more about strategic human resource management, please consult Gary Dessler’s excellent textbook, Human Resource Management from Pearson Education, now in its 13th edition. For an in-depth understanding, consider taking my Strategic HR Management certificate program. Contact for more information.

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