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Janine Milne

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In a Nutshell: Six considerations when devising an HR strategy


What’s the best way to develop an effective HR strategy? Christina Lattimer, founder of HR and leadership development consultancy People Discovery, shares some of her ideas on the subject, while maintaining all the while that simplicity and clear communication are key:

1. Understand the business and its people

On the one hand, it is crucial that you understand the organisation’s business objectives, priorities and constraints inside out. On the other, it is vital that you understand the capacity, capabilities and current potential of your people so that such insights can temper and shape expectations around outcomes and any timelines to which you are working.

2. Establish your top five priorities

Work on establishing your top five HR priorities as they will contribute directly to helping you deliver on desired business outcomes and priorities. Use the Pareto Principle: too much detail will simply dilute your efforts, while a vital few things will create the biggest impact.

3. Ensure that as many people buy in as possible

Ensure that the business owns the HR strategy. Call it the “people plan” or the “people element of the business plan”. Set up focus groups made up of a cross-section of employees, employee representatives and external customers. Take constructive suggestions on board and if you don’t act on them, explain why.

4. Keep your eyes peeled for new ideas

Look at innovative and emerging HR practices in both your own and other industries and include relevant beat practices or processes into your plan.

5. Monitor and measure progress

Set specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and timely (SMART) criteria for success and put in place a credible, simple and easy-to-compile measurement system to track your progress in hitting specific HR goals. Monitor the situation regularly.

6. Speak in plain English

Present your HR plan in employee-friendly language so that everyone both inside and outside of the organisation can understand it. If it doesn’t fit on two sides of A4 paper at most, it’s too long and so will be put in a drawer and forgotten about.

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