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How to write a strategic human resources plan

By Higginbotham on April 15 , 2021

HR strategy

Success in business doesn’t just happen. It’s the result of hard work and careful planning. To achieve your business goals, your company needs a strong corporate strategy. It also needs a strategic human resource management plan.

What Happens If You Have an Ineffective Human Resources Plan

Your corporate HR strategy guides your company toward its goals. When creating a corporate strategy, it’s important to remember that this strategy will affect every aspect of your business. Here are just a few of the implications of an ineffective HR plan:

  • A company depends on its employees. When things go wrong, they can go very wrong.
  • Employee turnover can increase if employees become frustrated with confusing or inconsistent HR policies.
  • Retention and recruitment efforts can be thwarted by dissatisfaction with employee benefits programs.
  • Inadequate training and on-boarding can lead to ineffective daily processes.
  • Employee litigation and reputational damage can result if HR policies allow an environment in which harassment becomes widespread or if hiring, firing and promotion decisions are interpreted as discriminatory.

On the other hand, a strategic, thoughtful HR plan can help your company avoid employee issues so your company can thrive.

Create Your Strategic HR Plan

When’s the last time you assessed your company’s HR plan? If it’s been a while – or if it’s never happened – now is the time to write a strategic human resources plan. Here are some steps to follow:

Step 1: Align Your HR Strategy with Your Corporate Strategy

Your HR strategy should power your corporate strategy, but this can’t happen if the two strategies are out of alignment.
  • Concentrate on building a workforce that helps your company thrive.
  • Consider your corporate goals and what will be needed in terms of human resources to reach those goals.
  • Eliminate conflict and contradiction between your stated corporate goals and your day-to-day HR processes.

Step 2: Assess Your Current Strengths and Weaknesses

Before your company can improve its HR functions, it needs to conduct an honest assessment of its current capabilities.
  • Are HR policies clearly understood by everyone, including management and employees?
  • Does the new employee on-boarding process make it easy for recruits to understand HR policies?
  • Are hiring and training processes resulting in a highly skilled workforce capable of reaching corporate goals?
  • Is employee engagement and satisfaction with benefit programs as high as it should be?
  • Is employee turnover higher than it should be?
  • Does your company provide a positive work environment where employees feel valued?
  • Is the employee handbook accurate and complete?
  • Does your company support diversity and inclusion among its workforce?
  • Does your company have an issue with employee litigation?

Step 3: Look Outward

Your company does not exist as an island. When creating a strategy plan for human resource management, consider the external factors that can impact your employees and inform your HR policies.
  • Are you losing top talent to your competitors? If so, what are your competitors doing better than you in terms of HR?
  • How does the current job market impact recruitment and retention? A tight labor pool can make finding and keeping the right talent especially difficult.
  • What challenges do employees face from external sources? These could include issues with mental health, physical health, financial security and childcare arrangements. These problems can make it difficult for employees to focus on their work.

Step 4: Decide How to Fill in Gaps and Meet Challenges

Every company has room for improvement. Your assessment of your company’s current HR capabilities will likely uncover gaps. Writing your strategic human resources plan requires you to determine how to fill in these gaps.
  • How can you improve hiring, on-boarding, training and retention efforts?
  • How can you improve employee participation in benefits programs?
  • How you reduce employment liability exposures?
  • How can you improve communication regarding HR-related issues?

Step 5: Look to the Future

Your company has big plans. A good HR strategy can guide your company as it grows. When writing your HR plan, don’t just focus on the present – or worse, the past. Also focus on the future.
  • How will your human resource needs change as your company grows? As your company grows, you will likely need to hire more workers. Consider how you will find and train the workforce you will need in the future.
  • How will you control costs and manage resources as your company grows? As your company grows, HR administration becomes more complicated and time-consuming, and associated costs can increase. Consider how you will manage the costs and administrative burden.
  • What external challenges are likely to occur in the future? Outside factors could include a growing or shrinking talent pool, a demand for different benefits and the relocation of the workforce away from urban centers. Consider how your HR plan will need to adjust to these and other changes.

Step 6: Implement Your Plan

Once you have a clear plan ironed out, it’s time to implement it.
  • How will you implement the human resources plan? Consider the practical issues involved in the actual implementation.
  • What resources will be needed to aid in implementation? This could include funds as well as technological upgrades, outside services and other resources.
  • Who will be in charge of implementation? Identify the individuals who will play key roles, including HR team members and managers.
  • What is your expected timeline for implementation? How long should it take? What will the various phases of implementation be?
  • How will changes be communicated to managers and employees to ease the transition? Change can be difficult and confusing, but solid communication can help.

Step 7: Reassess and Update

After implementation, it will be necessary to review the HR plan and tweak it as necessary. This may be done on a regular schedule. Reviews may also occur after significant events that impact HR functions, such as crises, growth and mergers.
  • What is working well? What has contributed to the success? Identify what works so you can continue the policies and programs and expand upon them.
  • What is not working well? What has interfered with success? Figure out what has gone wrong so you can correct policies going forward.
  • What new challenges have emerged? Consider how the human resources department will need to adapt to face these challenges. What resources will be needed? What new policies or processes are necessary?

Need help developing your strategic human resources plan?

Reach out to Higginbotham’s HR Services team. We realize you only have so many hours in each day, and we’ve designed our HR consulting services to help give you some of that time back. Whether you need a hands-on partner or a specialist for occasional guidance, our services scale to meet your organization's need and budget.

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