A healthy collaboration between business leadership and HR is crucial for business success. Many times, there is a disconnect between the leaders creating yearly goals and sales strategies and the HR department that is managing the company’s workforce. It only makes sense that these should be inseparable as one heavily impacts the other. It’s extremely important that workforce strategy is aligned with business objectives. Here are some tips and ideas on implementing a successful system that works together.
Aligning Your Workforce Strategy with Business Objectives
If your leadership and HR department have been existing on separate islands up to this point, the first step to working together is to communicate. Do you hold separate meetings for your sales department and your HR department? Does senior management tend to congregate together and rarely venture into the HR realm? If so, you need to start integrating the two.
Though every meeting should not be all-inclusive, you should at least facilitate communication between the two departments and have regular meetings that go over an integrated strategy. You might also consider having retreats or regular lunches or happy hours to help them get to know each other. Once they realize they are all on the same team and that they need each other to succeed, you can start the process of improvement.
Here are some of the topics and issues that need to included when discussing a successful partnership.
Perform an Organizational Capability Assessment
Before you know where you can go, you need to know where you currently are. Performing a full company assessment will help you analyze your business capabilities and find out where changes need to be made. You can take a look at what departments are strong or overstaffed, where you may be weaker, and what areas in which you need to improve. You may find that you have all the right team members, but that some of them are in the wrong departments or performing jobs that don’t capitalize on their skills.
Some hard decisions may be necessary after your assessment. If you find you have staffing redundancies or that the same workers are consistently underperforming, your HR department may have to consider cuts. Your entire team must be prepared for this before you undergo analysis so you can implement a plan once you see what needs to be done. Make sure your leadership sets the standard of putting the company as a whole first. Don’t make downsizing personal or a cause for guilt. Having a healthy attitude towards change and a fluid environment will always lead toward greater success.
Emphasize Workforce Planning
Your assessment should provide you with the data you need to do some effective planning. Do you have the right people in place to accomplish the goals that leadership has set forth? Are they in the right positions and shifts? Do they have the tools they need to perform their jobs efficiently? These are all questions that need to go into the workforce planning conversation and you should have better answers to them after your company analysis. An effective human capital strategy will help you get all your ducks in a row and uncover holes or flaws in your current staff.
A good human capital management plan is comprised of many layers. You need to ensure that remote employees have access to the same resources and tools that in-house workers do. You also need to provide everyone with easy and efficient tools to clock in and out, communicate with managers, report on progress, and more. Managing competency and performance are also key tools of a good plan. This helps you put the right workers in the right place and can also help management identify underperformers and coach them to higher production.
Analyze Organizational Development and Structure
Your analysis may turn up issues in your company’s overall structure. It could also alert you to red flags that are impacting your employee or strategy development. Many times, using workforce optimization solutions such as human resource management programs will help you solve these problems. A good program can help your HR team with shift scheduling, time and attendance tracking, payroll, and personnel data.
When you begin digging down deep into the inner workings of your company, it can often produce daunting results. Giving your HR team a solution to help implement changes is a great way to take some stress off their shoulders. You never want to uncover a list of problems without offering any solutions. This is a recipe for disaster and deflated workforce morale, which is one of the reasons why comprehensive assessments are often avoided. Knowing that there are solutions available will help put your team more at ease and open to the changes that need to happen.
Leverage Diversity and Inclusion
Many companies have the right team in place, but collaboration is low. The right strategy will help you focus on the power of inclusion. Your team should respect each other’s differences and unique ways of working. Before they can collaborate and make better decisions together, they need to understand each other.
Being aware of how your employees differ is the first step to an effective communication strategy. Do you know where friction may be occurring? Is it due to cultural influences or gender issues? Or is it more an issue of how they process and implement information differently? Having an open door policy where employees feel safe to express themselves to HR or management is the key to learning where issues may be occurring. This will help you decide if further training is needed, or if it’s more of a matter of team members needing more interaction. You may find that some team bonding exercises or retreats will help everyone be more appreciate of who they work with.
A diverse and inclusive workplace culture is an important part of your employee value proposition. Not only will it keep your current team happy in their jobs, but it will also help you attract new talent when it’s time to hire. The new generation of job seekers value company culture and environment as much or more than the pay structure and benefits. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward by developing a culture that is warm and welcoming and helps bring out the best in your team.
Have a Change Management Plan in Place
If there is one thing that is constant in the business world, it’s change. Your leadership and HR team should always have a fluid mindset that allows them to respond to change in the economy, the industry, and your business. Doing a full assessment of your company should not lead to inflexibility. It should be a basis for improving and incorporating new information as it unfolds.
A good plan that allows for change is all about being proactive. When you aren’t prepared for change, you and your team fall back on a reactive approach is that is often based on emotion. Anticipating change and figuring out how to use it to your advantage is what will set your business apart from the competition. When your leadership and HR team is able to anticipate and plan for change, they can champion it to the rest of the team. This leads to an entire workforce that anticipates change with hope and enthusiasm instead of fearing what it might mean for their future.
Are your business objectives in line with your workforce strategy? If these two parts of your company are not working hand in hand, you’re missing the bigger picture. Goals cannot be met without the right team in place that can operate at their highest efficiency. Making sure you have a full view of your company and where you currently are is always the best place to start. After analyzing your needs, you can implement a plan that incorporates a healthy attitude toward change, a dynamic and inclusive culture, and tools that can help bring it all together.