Author: Dr. Jeff Bassey
Aligning People Strategy with Business Strategy is what drives growth and gives meaning to HR.
This is especially true because organizations are experiencing;
• Sharp shifts in core business processes
• Restructuring and diversity with mergers and acquisitions
• Globalization and offshoring
• Intense competition
• Technologies driving human resource processes
• Talent war and increased competition for senior managers, etcetera.
Ghana is not an exception to the above issues, and this calls for a different approach to people management particularly for multinationals.
I share 5 out of 25 ways (from my article) to do this in order to build People Strategy in Alignment with Business Strategy for Organizational Growth:
1. TREAT HR LIKE THE ORGANIZATION WOULD TREAT FINANCE:
As demonstrated by many firms now, give HR a seat on the Executive Committee and explicitly define people strategy to reflect business strategy.
People Strategy must be deliberately inculcated into the strategic planning process.
2. MAKE HR A VITAL PLAYER:
HR must be involved in corporate strategy and accomplishment of business goals by focusing HR on issues outside of itself. HR must focus on helping achieve organizational and business goals, demands of other functional units, customer demands, and ultimately on helping achieve stronger financial results (increased cashflow, liquidity, stronger asset base, profitability and balance sheet).
These indicators must influence the thoughts and actions for HR's strategic alignment. HR must demonstrate effective understanding of operational business success factors in order to remain relevant.
3. DEVELOP AND DEPLOY STANDARD HR METRICS:
Whatever you don't measure you can't manage. Just as all activities in finance and probably other functions are measured, HR activities must equally be measured for impact. Quantitative and qualitative metrics must be put on all activities, from recruitment, engagement, training, development, labour relations, employee productivity, total compensation, to attrition, etcetera.
This way, proper cost-benefit-analysis can be made and ultimately good measurement of return on investment (ROI).
HR becomes more relevant to the business and seen as a strategic partner when metrics are used.
4. GIVE LINE MANAGERS SPECIFIC HR RESPONSIBILITIES:
One mistake organizations make is to attempt making HR department manage all people issues.
Yes, there are vital roles that should be performed by HR department, but many others must be performed by all managers coordinated by HR. Because people strategy is critical to business strategy, line managers must be deeply involved in people issues.
Here, HR serves as a Consultant and Business Partner to other heads of departments in areas of recruitment, training and development, performance management, compensation and benefits, labour relations, etc., managing managers to manage their teams.
HR policies are better implemented through line managers and HR professionals must be at the forefront to coordinate.
5. EXECUTIVES MUST GET DEEPLY INVOLVED IN HR:
Best practice organizations like Google deploy the Balanced Scorecard in accomplishing this.
Repsol, the global integrated oil and gas company, in order to make People Strategy & Business Strategy work, set up an HR committee at the executive level chaired by the HR Director. The committee is supervised by the Chief Executive Officer as he meets them once every month. This is a clear indication of executive involvement in HR.
The global CEO of Coca~Cola tasked his Chief Strategist and Chief HR Officer to work closely in aligning Business Strategy with People Strategy to revamp the organization during a business downturn. He said "we have to harness our people, bring in some new managers at senior levels and leverage key people development programs to turn around our dwindling business"
HR works best when Top officers get deeply involved as the organization becomes the ultimate beneficiary.
Companies with strong and effective people strategy have the CEO showing a lot of care for people issues and makes the Chief HR Officer his number one companion.
This was very much demonstrated by Mr. Kweku Awortwi, former CEO of VRA, Neville Isdell, chairman of Coca~Cola, and Dr. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric.
The GE boss expounded this in one of his statements "if you pick the right people and allow them to spread their wings whiles backing it with the appropriate compensation, you almost don't have to manage them, they will get you all the results and grow the business"
HR has moved from an administrative support service department to a strategic partner and organizations that take people strategy seriously will lead the competition.