If your staff is the lifeblood of your business, then the Human Resource (HR) department is the heart. They’re charged with keeping all the different extremities in good health and working order by selecting and retaining the talent your company needs. Unfortunately, for many startups, growth can happen faster than your HR department can keep up.
In such circumstances, it’s time to take up what’s known as strategic human resource planning. In other words, your HR team needs to have a solid plan in place for the future.
With the right resource planning strategy and some helpful software, your HR department can make sure your most valuable asset is protected—your staff.
Why does strategic human resource planning matter?
If you’re new to the concept of strategic human resource planning, here’s a quick rundown of why every growing business can benefit from it.
First, let’s take a step back and consider the aspects of the business that HR is responsible for:
- Finding and recruiting new staff
- Onboarding new employees
- Ensuring employee satisfaction
- Managing employee reward schemes
- Overseeing holidays and sick leave for all staff
- Managing staff complaints and warnings
- Selecting and advising employee benefit schemes
- Helping existing employees transition out of the business.
Without planning what resources you need, your HR team will likely fall short on some of these tasks. Beyond that, they won’t have the flexibility needed for businesses that are growing in exciting (but sometimes unpredictable) ways.
The benefits of advanced HR planning
The goal of strategic planning for an HR department isn’t just to make sure they can stay on top of all of their tasks. Rather, it’s to help the department align its workflow and processes with the overall business goals.
In other words, strategic human resource planning means your business and employees will thrive; achieving their goals faster than ever.
There are many benefits to resource planning, including:
- Employees feel empowered and secure because they understand their role and what expectations are. This means they’ll stay longer, thus improving overall retention rate and the quality of staff.
- Business leaders can focus on what matters most—steering the business toward success—without having to worry about each employee individually.
- The culture of your business grows and develops, becoming more clearly defined for all employees and lending to the overall strength and unity of your workforce.
- The business itself will grow at a faster rate, because your HR team will be able to meet unexpected developments, and they won’t be wasting their time on unnecessary tasks.
Improving your strategic HR planning process
Now that you know how important it is for an HR team to have a strategy, how exactly do you go about implementing and improving one of your own?
Here are our top tips.
1. Take stock of where you are now
Before you can start planning for the future, you need to have a deep understanding of the current state of affairs.
Take a look at your business and start recording what resources you have on hand now. If you aren’t already using one, this would be a great time to invest in an employee management software system.
You’ll want to ask a few questions during this process:
- What processes do we have in place? Which ones are missing?
- Do employees have career development plans?
- Is anyone preparing to onboard or depart the business now?
- What are our current employee expenses?
Make sure you record all the information somewhere secure and, if possible, ask multiple people to check through it.
2. Interview your current staff, from the top down
To map out a strategy, you need to understand the company’s goals and pain points. You’ll need to interview multiple people in different parts of the business to get an accurate picture.
Start with the leaders of your business—hold a meeting where they can outline their short-term and long-term goals for the business. Ask them to be as specific as possible, so that you are certain of where you’ll need to put resources, processes, and people into play.
You’ll also want to spend time working closely with the CFO or their team. You will need a good overview of the business financial goals, as that will directly impact how many new employees you can onboard and what sort of employee benefits you can provide.
Finally, make sure you meet with managerial staff and ask them about their current teams. Ask them to run through each employee and their role, their history with the company, and how that employee is performing and enjoying their job.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll have the three big takeaways you need to build your strategy:
- The company’s long-term and short-term goals
- The company’s financial health and projection
- Areas where there are gaps in staff.
Now it’s time to start building the strategy itself.
3. Divide your strategy into sections
There’s a good chance your strategic human resource planning will result in a lot of changes, so it’s best to work through the process in stages.
The order in which you tackle these stages will vary depending on your business needs, but here are some places to start:
A big part of human resource efficiency is down to the process you have in place. As you do your research, you’ll find places where processes don’t exist or aren’t doing what they need to do.
Identify key dates in the coming year
Look through the upcoming calendar year and mark off the most important dates. Add in things like any employee departures or retirements, as well as moments when your business is likely to need more staff to meet business demands. Use these to prioritise your strategy for the next twelve months.
There will undoubtedly be unexpected developments in the coming year that will impact your HR team. Though you can’t predict the future, you can plan for potential scenarios based on what’s happened in the past or with other companies like yours.
4. Remember, your strategy will grow and change
A strong strategic human resource plan isn’t something that can simply be written up and put in a folder for the year. It needs to be tended to and reassessed frequently, and there’s no doubt it will change as your business does.
Set regular meetings with your HR team and other stakeholders in the business to routinely review the strategy and adjust it as needed. Though you want to remain firm on processes and standards you set, your strategy overall will benefit if it’s flexible and agile.
Though it may seem overwhelming now, a strategy will help the HR department feel prepared to tackle any challenges they may face. Startups with limited resources can ease the process with the right technology in place.