Essential HR

Strategic HR Management – why is it so important?

Recently, a client set about recruiting to meet the growth opportunities his company was facing only to find no one with the skills he is looking for currently in NZ and that he needs to import someone from overseas! If only he’d organised an apprentice 2 years ago!

HR strategy is all about ensuring you have the right people at the right time to deliver your future business needs and address your business risks.

To be effective, HR strategy should be integrated into your normal business planning activities. So, when you sit down to identify your company goals and strategy and the specific business risks you need to address in the coming 1 – 5 years you should also be asking questions like: ‘What must I do to have the right people to execute the strategies?’; ‘What recruitment or training and development will be needed?’; ‘What must I do to retain existing key employees?’ and even ‘What changes should I make to my business strategy in response to my staffing constraints?’ And, let’s face it; where there is limited manpower, like on the West Coast, available staff are even more important.

This sort of “HR” thinking, while planning business strategy, should identify staffing issues to address, but is equally likely to identify business opportunities as a result of the particular mix of skills your employees hold. Holding on to these talented people then becomes critical. Yet this is easier said than done when you can’t afford to pay more in wages in a tight labour market. Many business owners put this into the ‘too hard basket’ and risk losing the very people that give them a competitive advantage.

The reality is that while pay is important, it is not the only important strategic factor.  Other factors can be just as important – like making staff feel valued; giving constructive performance management feedback; giving some autonomy; and providing job challenges. So this month I challenge you to think strategically. Next month we’ll look at how to better retain talented staff.