Your people are the most important part of your business. It sounds trite, we know, but if your people aren’t turning up, aren’t productive, and aren’t advocates of your business, brand and ethos, then you are destined to fail.
Having the best possible people, committed to developing themselves and, with them, your business is not something that will happen by chance. No matter what size your business is, what sector it is operating in or how ambitious your growth plans are, you’re going to need a Human Resources (HR) strategy to flourish. It doesn’t have to be War and Peace so don’t panic. Here are 10 reasons we think you should create one.
OK, you don’t need an HR strategy to make sure your people are getting paid each week or month. But you do need an HR strategy to make sure you are attracting the right level and type of employee to your business relative to your strategic goals.
Do you need the very best talent or do you simply want experienced people who will come in each day and do what needs doing? Can you achieve what you need to with entry-level people who will not command the highest salary but may leave in a year or two?
You’ll need to set your pay structures dependent on answers to questions like these and the strategic approach you take to pay and reward will determine who wants to work for you and how long they’ll stay.
You will have ambitions for your company, both long and short term. A good HR strategy will help you identify the human resource you will need to achieve your goals and ensure that your people numbers are growing or reducing aligned to your company plans, not tactical things like week-to-week workload. Such an approach will save you money and heartache in the mid to long term.
Safe and Sound
Whether you are running a factory, managing a call centre or transporting hazardous chemicals, you will have a number of obligations related to keeping your people safe in their workplace. An HR strategy can help guide how you meet these obligations and the plans you can put in place to reduce risk. Reducing risk and incidents is going to have a positive impact on your bottom line, too.
Most of us have seen the meme on LinkedIn. A CEO asks: what happens if I train my staff and then they leave. To which, an HR director replies: what happens if you don’t train them and they stay.
There’s no right or wrong way to approach training and development but whichever way you choose, there will be consequences for your business. It will impact staff turnover, productivity and succession planning. You need to take a strategic decision and then you need a long-term strategy to manage the consequences of that strategy.
Treating your people fairly and equally is mandated by law. An HR strategy document can help ensure you have a plan to do this and remain compliant. It’s about more than just doing what you have to though. Treating employees inconsistently can be very divisive and have a strong negative impact on your workplace culture.
There’s nothing that riles an employee more than feeling that someone else is getting preferential treatment. A good HR strategy should provide you and your employees with a clear vision of how employees will be treated and what they, and you, should expect.
We’ve talked a little in previous points about employee productivity and happiness, how you develop your people and why these things are important. Simply though, recruiting new people is expensive and comes with risk. Sometimes a business needs fresh blood and new ideas. People who understand your business, who are proven and capable are, however, always invaluable.
Having a good approach to succession planning as part of your HR strategy ensures that you will know who these people are and you can develop their potential with specific roles in mind. When someone retires from your business, you know you have a trusted person who you have prepared for the role. It’s invaluable at a time of potential disruption.
Employees who know they are part of a succession planning process feel valued. Employees who see internal promotions happening are more likely to stick around. Great businesses do this very well and it’s not just good luck, they work hard at it and have a clear strategy in place.
The millennials are taking over. Satisfaction at work is not just a ‘nice to have’ anymore. A good HR strategy will include a plan for monitoring happiness, engaging with the workforce, identifying problems and fixing them. It is ultimately about embedding higher performance and morale, much of which comes down to effectively branding yourself as a reputable employer.
Your staff talk about your business to the outside world more than anyone else and a lot of firms forget this. Make sure they’re saying good things, you never know who they’re talking to. An HR strategy will help you build and maintain strong employer-employee relationships.
Without an HR strategy, many organisations end up with a very subjective hiring policy. An HR strategy should help your business to standardise the recruitment process, determining how you identify, assess and on-board new talent to effectively meet the needs of your business.
We’ve touched on your legal obligations as an employer and how an HR strategy can help with this but it is a subject that deserves its own point in our list. HR law is complex, changing and evolving. If you do not take a strategic approach to complying with legislation and to making sure you are always ahead of changes, then you are putting your business at risk. It’s blunt but true.
People. It’s the common subject in all these points. An HR strategy is about your people. We started out by saying that your people are the most important part of your business. Without your people you wouldn’t have a business. It’s true but if you didn’t have an investor, a customer, or a product you wouldn’t have a business either.
The list is endless. The difference is that you don’t find many businesses without a product strategy, an investment strategy or a new business strategy. Hopefully, this list has made you think about having a people one too.