As a company progresses from the startup to the growth and establishment phase of its life cycle, it is critical that human resources evolve from transactional to a strategic partner. While getting the foundational policies and processes established is important, the company’s continued success will be dependent on HR’s ability to deliver on the following strategic activities:
Talent Acquisition – building a talent pipeline and developing capability fast enough to support transformation. HR needs to understand the vision and goals of the company and then determine what roles are going to be needed and when. Most importantly, what skills, knowledge, and abilities are desired and what can be done now to start identifying and attracting those individuals so that you are ready when the positions are approved.
Employee Development – With an intense focus on meeting goals, one of the most overlooked areas is the investment in the people that will determine the success of the company. What competencies do they currently have and what areas need to be strengthened or added to for their professional growth and the company’s long-term needs. For your leaders, the focus needs to be on ensuring that they are a champion of leadership and driving the right behaviors down into the company consistently. Continuous employee development is a key retention tool for your high potentials.
Succession Planning – When you invest in employee development, you get the added benefit of being able to plan for the future. Understanding employee interests and capabilities enable you to get the right people in the right roles with the right training and identify successors at different time intervals. Understanding your talent helps you to know where gaps exist and the identified resources needed to fill them.
Technology – HR is often the last department to get the funding or approval to implement a system or their module of an existing system. However, technology can systematize the transactional creating additional time for the strategic. With technology, you can create the analytics to support the discussion around areas to address and opportunities to improve.
Culture – Employee engagement is the key to a successful company. Beyond the perquisites the company offers, do employees understand the company’s strategy and goals? Do they understand how their efforts impact goal achievement? Do they receive professional development and understand how to move to different opportunities within the company? Do they feel they have a voice and can the affect change? Frequent “pulse surveys” that focus on specific topics enable you to stay on top of issues and provide an avenue to implement meaningful actions or provide clarifying communications to increase engagement. Additionally, a regular and more comprehensive cultural survey needs to be conducted to stay ahead of potential issues and identify what is working and where improvement is needed.
HR, as a strategic partner, creates the greatest value when its actions are aligned with the goals of the company. Spending the time to understand the implications each of these activities has on your goals will ensure that your time and energy are focused on the greatest enablers of your company’s success.