Why HR must be included in the strategic planning process
The most important thing to consider in your strategic planning process? Your People. That’s why Human Resources plays an essential role in the strategic planning process. They’re the link between your people and the business goals.
No matter what you call it, HR, People Operations, or Talent Management, make sure you call it a critical department in your organization. That might sound like a lofty statement, but hear me out!
If your business counts on people to give all of their intellectual capability every day (hint: it does), then your people should be at the center of virtually every business decision you make. It naturally follows that no matter the business goal, HR plays a critical role to make sure that the strategic plan is aligned with the people who will carry it out.
There’s a lot of talk about strategic alignment, but what is it?
The word “alignment” gets thrown around a lot when discussing how people fit into an organization’s strategy. Thing is, we all intrinsically know what alignment means, but it can still be difficult to define and even more difficult to make happen.
There’s more than one right definition, but for the sake of this blog, here’s how we think about Culture and Strategy Alignment at RoundPegg.
- Organizations are composed of individuals
- Every individual has personal core values
- The values that are most commonly held by all employees shape the company’s culture.
- The best business strategies are those that align with the company culture and leverage it.
People will break their backs to reach business goals when those goals are well-aligned their personal values and the culture as a whole.
You can’t put a dollar value on this kind of buy-in. Here’s where HR can make it’s mark on the strategic planning process. Top performing organizations count on talented Human Resources teams to have a deep knowledge of their company culture. These teams don’t just know the culture as a whole. They can even speak to the unique culture of every team. In the strategic planning process, these culture experts can recommend ways to align business goals with what they know employees value.
A business goal has a better likelihood of being achieved when the strategy and tactics outlined to support it are tailored to fit the team’s values across these 3 key areas:
1. How they like to Communicate
2. Preferred Decision-making style
3. Rewards and Recognition they value most
This example of a very basic sales strategy should hopefully tie it all together.
Imagine the VP of Sales faces a revenue goal for next year that is 2x this year’s sales number. It’s her responsibility to develop the strategy and tactics to reach this goal. She builds a detailed plan that outlines a Goal, Strategy and Tactics.
Enter the company’s Human Resources rockstar. Speaking from experience, when HR has a handle on the culture of the sales team, they can provide vital information about the shared values of this team. Armed with this insight, they can work with sales leaders to make sure the strategy and tactics are tailored to the team. A strategy that aligns with the unique values of the team will garner more buy-in, and motivate the team to work hard and achieve goal. This is what “Aligning business strategy to people” means.
Above is a summary view of a typical planning process combined with additional information about the specific values held by this team (see last column). In this example, the Sales leadership can work with HR to determine how well the recommended tactics align (fit) the unique values of the sales team — then make adjustments as necessary. Better alignment equals a better chance of success.
Alignment makes good business sense, but quantifying what your people value is hard
We realize the annual business planning is not easy. And although it makes sense that you should leverage what your team values as you define the tactics needed to reach your business goal, figuring out what is most important to your people is hard.
We created a Business Strategy and Culture Alignment Worksheet you can use for your 2017 planning process. The worksheet makes it easy to see how your planned strategy and tactics align to the values of the people who will carry out the plan.