Now that we are beginning to see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, businesses are turning their attention toward recovery, to ensure their businesses are prepared to thrive. This will require extraordinary focus and strategic planning, during what may be a protracted period.
We see three key phases that all resilient businesses must face over the next twelve months:
- Respond – Dealing with the present situation and managing continuity.
- Recover – Learning, growing and emerging stronger.
- Thrive – Preparing for and shaping the future of the business.
So how will you as a business do this?
Planning and communication
What steps are required to restart your business? Do you have a business plan in place? How will you communicate this plan?
Within your business plan you should be addressing what it is you want to achieve: is it growth, stability, retrenchment?
How will you compete in the market? Will it be through customer services, product or service leadership? How will your business differentiate?
How are you as a business going to grow? Will it be through market penetration, market development or diversification?
Strategy refers to the determination of the purpose or mission and the basic long-term objectives of a business, as well as the adoption of the courses of action and allocation of resources necessary to achieve these goals.
In other words, your business strategies are the general methods you use to reach your vision. No matter what the level, a strategy answers the question “how?”.
Here are 5 strategy questions all businesses should answer:
- Why do we exist?
- How will we behave?
- Where are we going?
- How will we succeed?
- What is important to us?
Many businesses can sometimes focus too much on the day-to-day operations of their business that they can lose sight of the core of the business: the vision and values.
HR can help to reground business leaders in the vision around what the company’s purpose is and the values that drive people’s motivations and behaviours. A successful HR Strategy can often set the tone for the way a business operates and how it is viewed by others.
HR strategies will vary from business to business, however, they all start with the same foundation: to create a work environment that is synonymous with engaged, productive, and loyal employees.
Every business is different and will be staffed by employees from different backgrounds, sectors, goals, ambitions, etc. It is important to identify what unifies and motivates employees and to incorporate that into the strategic HR plan.
Areas to consider in an HR strategic plan:
- Culture and values.
- Recruitment, selection and onboarding.
- Learning and development.
- Reward and recognition.
- Employee wellbeing.
- Equality, diversity and inclusion.
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How can HR strategies drive your business’ success in the next 12 months?
The people of your business are what drives its success, so it is critical to have the right HR strategy in place to ensure that your hires fit with your business objectives, culture, brand, and values and once on board, all behaviours and performance are focused on delivering against these too.
Create a culture of business success
In many ways your website sets the tone and perception of your business culture. This is where prospective employees research your business and what helps them decide if it is a place where they would want to work. Does your HR strategy effectively convey what your business values? What characterises the internal culture? What do your business and employees strive for? Communicate this to current and future employees and incorporate this culture into everything you do.
Use clear and concise job descriptions
With your business culture in mind, you can integrate this into each employee’s role. Have clear job descriptions that link each position to the goals of your business. Make it clear to employees how they each contribute to your business goals and to making the business a success. When an employee can clearly see where they fit in and how they can impact the business, there is greater commitment and job satisfaction.
Identify the right talent
A good HR strategy makes it possible to attract the right talent to your business. With job descriptions that clearly describe both the individual role and the culture of the business, it is easier to attract those who support and believe in the same goals and principles. With employees who already support your vision and goals, you are a step closer to achieving them.
Manage the interview process
Your HR strategy should extend beyond job advertising and be incorporated into the interview process. Plan your interviews and make sure your questions help you assess not only the skills and talents but also how that person fits into your business. Is the candidate’s personality compatible with your culture? Will they fit in with the team? Do they believe in your goals and vision? Your HR strategy needs to clearly guide hiring managers on how to assess a candidate’s business fit. Decide which questions will help hiring managers to assess who has the same goals. It is vital that managers include this component of evaluation in each job process. By gaining insight into the candidate’s business fit, you are more likely to have successful recruitment, employ the right people and have less employee turnover, all benefiting the bottom line.
Incorporate relevant product and skills training in combination with in-house or virtual onboarding to bring your new hires up to speed. Track their learning throughout the onboarding process and create an individual development plan. Create the frequency of training that works best for your business and the new employees. Increase employee retention and performance by allowing them to learn in their own time.
Engaging with employees regularly will monitor ever-changing motivations and opinions, but more importantly, it will drive transparency and create an open forum for discussion. Employees want to know that their thoughts and concerns can be voiced and listened to by leaders. Remember: do not avoid the tough questions or difficult conversations.
Promotion opportunities cannot be produced overnight. When career advancement such as pay rises and promotions are just not an option, progression is still essential. This could mean more responsibilities, projects and increased role scope. Glassdoor, as one of the top companies for career growth, provides its employees with a dedicated Career Coach; they discuss performance, coaching and development. Most businesses do not have the budget to allocate an individual employee to a dedicated coach, but it does show the importance of development in the workplace and how it increases productivity and profit.
Employee benefits such as sick pay, holiday pay and pension contributions are standard. The more attractive offerings of a benefits package will give greater insights into the company culture. Prospective employees will look at packages that give them flexibility, better wellbeing, and health support.
The Mental Health Foundation believes that addressing mental wellbeing at work increases productivity by 12%. There are many wellbeing platforms that can provide useful insights into the general wellbeing of your workplace, how you can better help employees and how the business is performing against its core values.
Diversity and inclusion
By committing to D&I, businesses promise to fight for equality, inclusion and a culture that welcomes all backgrounds. Though diverse hiring is important, a D&I initiative can be supported by focused workshops. Employees want to see that the business they work for is an active advocate for communities.
Strategic HR encompasses the preemptive management of employees, offering benefits for both employer and employee. It focuses on the long-term integration of HR strategies and the business goals.
Great HR programmes maximise employee performance and competencies through policies and systems to achieve the business’ strategic goals. The business gains success through its people, while supporting the growth of a healthy business culture.
The HR function is no longer administrative; now, it incorporates management practices and methods to integrate with the full business strategy.
Many businesses are dedicated to improving their HR strategies and best practices for better business performance. Those businesses with the best HR practices use a successful human resource management strategy that includes recruiting great employees, incentive programmes for employees, understanding and dealing with organisational issues, and developing innovative methods to stay ahead of the competition. HR is the perfect partner when it comes to aligning a business strategy for success.