Make HR A Part Of Strategic Planning.


Businesses that don’t include a human resources component in long-term business planning are probably not going to reach their full potential, particularly as the economy threatens to dip once again into recession. Without the right people in place to execute it, even the most carefully crafted business plan is little more than wishful thinking.

Karin Grantham, vice president of worldwide human resources for Vistakon , a division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care  , recently spoke at the Florida HR Executive Council about matching a business’s growth goals with its human resources capital. Her presentation was entitled “Building Strategic Capabilities for Your Business.”

“It’s really about translating business strategy into your people strategy,” Grantham said. “It’s a future-oriented process where you look at where the organization wants to be in the future. [You determine] what are the strengths of the organization, what are the things the organization needs to do [in terms of talent] to make sure we get there.”

It’s important to assess all areas or departments of the company, and the short- and long-term challenges they are facing, along with what capabilities are necessary.

Grantham said Vistakon follows these best practices for hiring. The company looks at a department’s business goals and business plan and marries that with the people needed to make both those short- and long-term goals happen.

“It’s done completely in collaboration between those professionals in HR and those managers who are directly responsible for those areas,” Grantham said. “[If] you said you’ll grow shares or revenue by x percent over the next year, then with the business plan in place and the accompanying people, whether or not you achieve that growth in shares or revenue is the metric to assess the effectiveness of the process.”

This exercise demonstrates that HR needs to be seen more strategically to ensure the right talent is available to execute the agreed upon strategy, said Shinn, founder and director of the HR council.

“The key word is execute,” he said. “No sense in having a strategy if you don’t have the right people in place to execute it. They [Vistakon] really focus on high-potential folks. They have a lot invested in people to make things happen. That is part of their corporate culture to promote people from within. And they have done a very good job at that, succession planning.”

Shinn said that Grantham’s presentation highlights HR’s role in maintaining the company’s competitive advantage atVistakon  . “If they were not permitted to be part of that strategic development, that would be a huge mistake; it would be unwise,” he said. “They are the ones ensuring the talent is on board and ready to make the strategy happen.”

Lee Creasman, senior vice president of human resources and administration atSwisher International Inc.  , said Grantham’s presentation reinforces what his company is already doing, adding that this type of self-analysis can be done at any size business.

“The traditional role of human resources is reactive rather than proactive,” Creasman said. “I’m fortunate here. I get involved in the business strategy and the development of those strategies because the HR function is valued. I have had other HR positions where you wait until someone asks you what to do or to deal with an employee.”

Creasman said it’s important to have a collaborative approach with managers and employees throughout the organization to create awareness of business goals and strategies. “Often what gets lost is that we have a lot of dialogue ‘To be No. 1’ or ‘Provide the highest level of customer service’ and that’s great, but what are the capabilities we need?” Creasman said. “What about the details? Everyone wants to know from the top of the organization to the entry-level employee, ‘How does this affect me?’ ”

With an HR plan in place, it’s easy to communicate the details of how an organization will achieve long-term goals.

“The role of human resources is first working with the business groups to identify critical performance areas, the things the company wants to accomplish and the capacity of the key people involved. Then you can identify what they would need,” Creasman said. “The key is having senior management buy into the importance of the process.  Source:  Dolly Penland.  Jacksonville Business Journal.

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Posted on August 19, 2011, in HR Management & Leadership. and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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