Human Resources departments, by their very nature, tend to deal with problems one at a time, as they arise. A position opens up in your company, so you find someone to fill it. Then another position becomes available a few months later, and you find another person to fill that one. However, if you really want to make a difference to your company in the long term, you should practice strategic HR. What is it, and why is it so important? Let’s find out.
What Is Strategic HR?
Strategic HR is the practice of hiring with a view towards the long term. Instead of hiring one person to fill an available position, you’re building a team of people who will work well with each other and function effectively as a group. To some degree, this is what any good HR department will do. But in hiring an individual, you ask, “How will this person fit into our company’s existing group dynamic?” When hiring strategically to build a team, you ask, “How can I use this person to build a better group dynamic going forward?”
Moreover, being strategic means hiring people with a view towards problem solving. What problems does your company have? Are sales not where they should be? Is production inefficient? Is your IT lacking? Strategic HR means looking for people who, in addition to the other qualifications they bring to the table, will have the knowledge, skills, and experience to solve these problems and get your company to where it needs to be.
With a little foresight, you can even hire people with the skills and knowledge to solve problems you anticipate running into down the line. For example, maybe your CRM platform is going to become obsolete soon and need to be replaced. Your next hires could be people who are experienced with the new system you intend to use as a replacement, in order to facilitate the switch from one to the other.
How to Implement Strategic HR
When you’re looking at potential hires with a strategic eye, what, exactly, should you be looking for? When looking to build a team, there are four types of people, who each play an essential role in a company. A good team will have a balance of all four types.
- The Generator. This is someone who can identify the problems that exist in your company, or, more importantly, the problems you’re heading towards in the future. On a more positive level, they can also find new opportunities that would benefit your company.
- The Conceptualizer. This person comes up with ideas for how to best to solve the problems that have been presented, or how to take advantage of the new opportunities.
- The Optimizer. This team member takes the Conceptualizer’s ideas and refines them into practical solutions. They look at what the obstacles might be and what challenges you might face, such as costs and budget limitations, necessary paperwork, and more. They figure out what it will take to turn an abstract idea into a reality.
- The Implementer. This is the one who actually takes action to implement the new plan. They also have the responsibility of getting the rest of the company on board with it, and helping a new idea become widely accepted and practiced throughout the organization.
If you view your hiring practices as a long term enterprise, focused on team building and problem solving, then you’re looking at HR with an eye towards the strategic. In any department, it’s important that you not move forward without a comprehensive plan, and HR is no different. By practicing strategic HR, you can solve problems before they arise and create teams that will carry your company into the future. Isn’t it time you started looking at Human Resources more strategically?
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