Replace disconnected initiatives with an integrated and compelling HR strategic plan that drives business results.

By Juan Pablo Gonzalez

An HR strategic plan is the best way of identifying and leveraging opportunities for the HR function to deliver real and tangible business value, according to Axiom Consulting Partners’ Juan Pablo Gonzalez in the May 2016 Workspan cover story.

The schematic below illustrates a planning approach Axiom Consulting Partners has used successfully in helping many HR organizations to build effective HR Strategic Plans.

The left side of the schematic articulates a set of Enterprise Strategic Imperatives identified by management as critical to the long-term success of the organization. It also spells out the HR Value Proposition—the specific ways in which HR will support the enterprise in addressing those strategic imperatives. The value proposition clarifies how HR will allocate its resources, where it will focus its time, effort, and investment, and how this focus will create value for the enterprise. The keys to a compelling HR value proposition are to maintain a focus on the imperatives for the business, to explicitly craft the value proposition around those imperatives, and to resist the temptation to introduce extraneous elements into the mix.

The right side of the schematic focuses on HR’s Value Building Blocks—bundles of organizational capability that HR must marshal in order to deliver on its value proposition. The four building blocks illustrated in the schematic are common to most HR organizations:

  1. Domain Expertise: Maintaining, building, and delivering subject matter knowledge and competence in all core areas of the HR discipline;
  2. Strategic Partnering: Utilizing a deep understanding of the enterprise’s objectives, needs, challenges and opportunities to serve as trusted advisor and deliver effective HR solutions;
  3. Process Delivery: Continuously improving the efficiency and effectiveness of HR programs and processes; and
  4. Insight: Combining analytical capabilities and talent-related data to develop fresh insights and identify potential opportunities for building strategic advantage.

While these core building blocks will be common to most HR organizations, the balance of emphasis among them, as well as among the underlying Strategic Capabilities, will differ based on:

  • The relative importance of capabilities required to effectively deliver on the HR Value Proposition and address the enterprise’s Strategic Imperatives, and
  • The current effectiveness of the HR organization with respect to those capabilities.

Ultimately, the HR Strategic Plan needs to spell out both how the function will deploy current resources as well as how it will build and/or supplement those resources for the future. It must put forward a balanced set of initiatives—some designed to meet current recognized requirements of the enterprise, others that address new needs likely to emerge in the future, and still others intended to build HR capabilities that will allow the function to continuously deliver more and higher-value services over time.

In conclusion, most enterprises today agree that talent is among their most important assets, and they are prepared to invest significantly in acquiring, deploying, developing, engaging and retaining that talent. CHROs should respond accordingly by developing an HR Strategic Plan that sets priorities aligned with the broader enterprise imperatives and establishes the foundation for focused and successful execution—replacing vague and disconnected HR initiatives with an integrated and compelling HR Strategic Plan that drives results.

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