Loyalty isn’t a prime attribute of today’s workforce. Current employees have lived through The Great Recession, and most know how tenuous a job can be. Most millennials expect to switch employers several times during the course of their careers. A company’s culture and the opportunities a job offers for professional development and advancement is more important to millennials and Generation Z than any other generation before. The challenge for companies large and small is to recruit and retain the best talent in a competitive job market. To meet this challenge, you may need to bring HR, your people department, to the planning table.

Human resources is evolving. Gone are the days when its main function was to process vacation requests, issue pink slips and conduct the dreaded performance reviews. This evolution in HR has been aided by technology. Many traditional HR tasks are now automated, freeing up the department to engage in creative problem-solving and long-range planning. Your HR professionals have the skills, knowledge and data to create a productive work environment.


HR’s contribution to strategic planning


  • To align goals. Your HR department’s goals need to go beyond efficiently handling HR functions. They need to support your company’s objectives. As the link between employer and employees, HR is in the unique position of knowing what must be done to meet both business goals and employee needs. A regular review of HR activities should include rationales. How do these activities support the overall company mission?


  • To identify skill gaps and fully utilize employees’ talents. HR knows the resume of each employee. The department’s input is critical when expanding your workforce and planning professional development and training. HR is in the position to recognize staff shortages or extraneous personnel.


  • To use HR data to drive policy. A bad hire is costly. Big data informs hiring decisions, weeding out candidates with unsuitable backgrounds and tendencies. HR analytics can provide insight into why employees are unengaged or are leaving altogether. With this information, you can lower attrition rates and attract quality talent to your firm.


  • To open lines of communication between leaders and employees. Businesses with engaged employees are more profitable, more productive, have lower rates of absenteeism and higher retention rates. Communication is key to building this performance culture. Think of HR as the employee liaison, sharing company objectives, defining team goals and explaining why each employee’s contribution is essential to meeting these goals.


HR leaders bring valuable data and insight to strategic planning sessions. They can identify and offer solutions to staffing problems, identify weaknesses and strengths in the workforce and unite all members of the organization towards common objectives. Involving these professionals in planning and decision-making will strengthen your business.

This article was written by Gillian Burdett for Small Business Pulse


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