Organizational Wellness

How to Build and Execute an Effective Human Resource Strategy

Jan 19, 2023
Last Updated Dec 5, 2023

HR professionals are expected to be some of the most personable and amiable people around the office, but don’t let that bubbly exterior fool you into thinking that they’re just a friendly face. In all reality, the HR department is one of the most strategic groups in the workforce. 

HR professionals are involved in many different initiatives in the organization to ensure everything is aligned with overarching company goals–which is no small feat! Directing the hiring process, working on wellness programs and other benefits, and ensuring employees are fully supported and trained are just some of the responsibilities HR takes on.

This makes HR one of the most dynamic and versatile groups in the office. They are the glue to an organization. But how do they keep things running so smoothly? By designing and facilitating a human resource strategy that continually serves the corporation and workplace.

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What Is a Human Resource Strategy?

A human resource strategy is a blueprint for unlocking employee potential while ensuring HR initiatives align with the organization’s business objectives. An HR strategy includes managing all parts of a business’s human capital, especially through the hiring process, and organizational development. Such programs should always support the goals and mission of an organization, which helps each department stay on the same page in regard to policies, procedures, and the employee experience.

Why Do Businesses Need a Human Resource Strategy?

Strategic human resources are meant to create a clear and efficient course of action that continually improves a company’s performance. The best way to do this is to start with your employees and their needs. As McKinsey & Company put it: “The most important resource in any economy or organization is its human capital — that is, the collective knowledge, attributes, skills, experience, and health of the workforce.” Everything always comes back to your staff and how well they accomplish their jobs, and their performance is undeniably linked to the support and satisfaction they receive from their company. 

Companies with highly engaged employees see 23% higher profits, according to Gallup, while another study found that engaged employees are more productive and do better work. So, when employees are taken care of and actively engaged at work, they are bound to perform better in their jobs and ultimately contribute more to business objectives. That’s why HR strategies are a must — leaders and HR professionals must be intentional about supporting employees in order to increase company-wide job satisfaction and productivity.

With HR strategies in place, an organization has a better picture of how it will leverage its resources and better advocate for employees. Some of the most notable benefits of having an HR strategy includes:

  • Improved relations within the company, especially between corporate leaders and other departments.
  • Building a strong company culture where employees feel secure and supported and, as a result, produce better work.
  • Increased employee loyalty, which is huge when it comes to great work and employee retention.
  • Greater ease of allocating HR resources and budget to the right activities, programs, etc.

There are so many ripple effects of having a great HR strategy in place that it’s impossible to capture all of the benefits. At the end of the day, an intentional strategy is going to make sure your company is always headed in the right direction and that your employees are happy and healthy.

How to Create a Human Resource Strategy

Each strategy is going to look as unique as every company. Priorities will vary depending on unique employees, a specific industry, leadership, and department goals, but there are some basic guidelines for designing an effective HR strategy.

Understand the Organization’s Goals and Objectives

Gather feedback and insight from a variety of people within your organization to understand goals, what’s been achieved in the past, what’s working well now, and what can be improved upon for the future. Surveys can be a great way to gauge employees’ satisfaction with current processes.

Evaluate Employee Skill Sets

Assess employees in the workforce on their performance, resumes, major contributions, and education to understand the aggregate skill force in your company.

Conduct a Gap Analysis

Determine if employees have the resources and motivation needed to be engaged in their work and perform at their best. Ask yourself: are there any investments that would improve employee engagement?

Assess Talent Strategy

Make sure that your top talent is inclined to stay by offering competitive compensation, benefits, and other advantages to working at your company.

Develop Existing Employees

Employees need opportunities to grow, and some will be more ready than others. Find those who want extra training or a new challenge to develop within your business (instead of outgrowing it on their own).

Limit Turnover

Gather feedback and conduct research to find out the primary reasons people leave your company. How can your HR plan resolve recurring issues and prevent high levels of turnover?

Plan Ahead for Succession

Especially as you identify top talent in your company, be aware of employees who could step into leadership roles should they open up so that there’s little disruption for other employees and business operations.

Rely on Analytics

Modern analytics can track a lot of relevant metrics such as compensation history, turnover rates, and employee engagement, which can be used to influence important (and data-driven) decisions.

Create a Mission and Vision Statement

Every organization needs a mission, vision statement, and related values that impact important decisions, shape policies and procedures. This directs the activities and actions of HR and all other departments. 

How to Successfully Execute a Human Resource Strategy

Creating a human resource strategy is one thing—setting that plan in motion is another task altogether. Now that you have a plan in place, here are some of the best approaches to implementing it.

Assess Current HR Skills

In addition to analyzing employees' skills, it’s also important to flesh out the HR department’s aptitudes. Consider conducting a comprehensive assessment of the existing skills and competencies within your team. When in doubt, you can start by helping specialists and leaders identify strengths and areas that need improvement. This evaluation can go over a range of skills, such as:

As you prioritize the skills your HR department needs, try to identify how these skills directly contribute to a successful strategy. For instance, if your strategy emphasizes employee engagement, HR teams often benefit from possessing strong interpersonal and communication skills.

Develop a Training and Development Plan

Once you have assessed the skills of HR, you’re ready to act on your findings. You can do this by creating a targeted training and development plan to enhance those skills and competencies. This may call for:

Continuous learning is one of the best ways to keep the HR team current on industry trends and evolving best practices.

Talent Acquisition and Retention

Supporting the workforce includes supporting your current employees and hiring the best fits for your company culture, too. HR can develop a robust recruitment plan to attract top talent and a strong retention plan to keep valuable employees engaged. This may involve:

  • Offering competitive compensation
  • Providing professional development opportunities
  • Promoting a compelling employer brand
  • Crafting effective and accurate job descriptions
  • Streamlining the recruitment process for the candidate experience

Performance Management

When you ask employees to engage at work, it’s important to give them the tools and feedback they need to succeed. This is why implementing your strategy will often involve a transparent and fair performance management system. Your strategy is stronger with clearly defined performance expectations and regular feedback. Some ways to do this in your strategy are:

  • Implementing a recognition and rewards program
  • Linking individual performance to organizational goals
  • Helping employees set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals
  • Basing performance assessments on objective and measurable metrics
  • Providing training for managers on conducting fair and unbiased performance evaluations

HR Strategy Best Practices

Doing this right is a time investment. Your HR strategy will likely take over a year to really become established, but it’s worth doing well as this will guide most decisions for HR management and other leadership. After you initially implement your HR strategy, consider these tactics for keeping your plan effective. 

  • HR professionals should be involved in the creation of the strategy. It’s essential that everyone is on the same page, especially those in leadership positions that will make impactful decisions.
  • HR practices should align with new strategy objectives. Don’t be afraid to ditch the old ways if they aren’t truly serving the purpose of your new strategy that will yield better results.
  • Your strategy should be measurable using KPIs. Your strategy should be number driven and made to achieve measurable goals.
  • Make sure management agrees with strategy points. Most strategy points will require management buy-in, so it’s important to make sure relevant figureheads are all in and aware of the goals.
  • Revisit your strategy on a yearly basis. Once a year, reevaluate your strategy to test how effective it’s been so far and ensure it still serves its purpose and aligns with your company goals.

Connecting the Dots: How to Get Started

Putting an HR strategy plan in motion is one of the best ways your organization can stay competitive within your industry. It can improve the employee experience, create realistic and impactful business goals, and, ultimately, keep your organization on track.

Every organization needs a human resource department that has a clear plan for helping staffers be their best selves at work, from perfecting your employee retention strategy to giving workers enhanced development opportunities. In fact, 93% of workers say their physical wellbeing impacts their work productivity. One of the most effective ways to do this is to offer a wellness program as a part of your benefits package.

The health of your workforce is a key factor in employee performance and your overall HR strategy. If you want to learn more about those benefits (or if you want to find the perfect wellness program for your organization), talk to a Wellhub wellbeing specialist today

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Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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