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People Strategy

You have the HR framework—the department, the employees, the policies, the procedures, and the systems. Heck, you even have an HR newsletter. So, it may seem like you have all your bases covered. And you do—well, some. You have a great foundation, but now you need walls, a roof, doors, plumbing, etc., which is where a People Strategy comes into play.

What Is People Strategy?

A People Strategy guides your HR people decisions. In a way, you can look at it as your North Star. If your people are your company’s greatest asset, you and your leadership need to build a strategy regarding how you find your people, who you’re trying to find, and how you develop and nurture them.

People Strategy vs Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management is the foundation on which you execute on your People Strategy. HR Management provides the systems you use to attract, retain, and develop your talent. But how do you know what systems you need and how they should work? Your People Strategy provides guidance as to how you go about finding, retaining and developing your talent.

The Importance of Having a People Strategy

Having a People Strategy that is aligned with your organization’s vision, mission, values and goals enable you to achieve operational excellence. You will no longer spend time on activities that aren’t producing the results your company needs.

  • Being proactive vs reactive. When you take time to identify the types of talent you want to hire and align your actions to reach that audience, you build a talent pipeline that you’ve determined is exactly what the company needs. At that point, you are saving time and money by being strategic and intentional with your talent acquisition.
  • Company Vision Alignment. Your people initiatives will be aligned with your company’s vision, mission, values and goals. A People Strategy identifies what the talent needs are now and will be in the future, allowing you to help meet the goals of the business you support.
  • Thought-Out Plan in Place. Having a People Strategy makes sure everyone on your team is rowing in the same direction—again, that North Star. If your People Strategy is clearly defined, you and the leadership team know exactly what you need to do to attract, retain and develop your organization’s talent.

What the Most Successful People Strategies Focus On

As the saying goes, there are many ways to skin a cat. However, if you focus on the following three items when developing your People Strategy, you will achieve success.

1. Organizational Vision, Mission, Values Alignment

In order to put together a People Strategy, you need to understand and align with what your organization plans to be and accomplish over the next three to five years.

2. Simplicity

Your People Strategy should be easily understood by anyone in your organization. If your strategy becomes too convoluted, it becomes harder to adhere to and understand. Make sure your plan can be easily broken down into bite-size actionable tactics.

3. Attraction, Retention, Development

These will be the main parts of your People Strategy. You should be able to walk away from your People Strategy knowing exactly what kind of talent your company wants to attract and the ways in which your company commits to retaining and developing existing talent.

How to Form Your People Strategy

Are you convinced you need a People Strategy? Here are the steps you can take to form your own.

Step 1: Have a Deep Understanding of Your Company’s Organizational Objectives, Vision, Mission and Values.

Before you begin to draft your People Strategy, you will need to make yourself very familiar with your organization’s yearly objectives and future objectives, along with its vision, mission, and values. This knowledge guide your People Strategy.

Step 2: Utilize the Company’s Most Recent Employee Feedback

You can use something like an employee survey to identify the top three areas for engagement improvement within the company. This can serve as a starting point for a retention strategy.

There is always room for improvement. The best route to figure out what changes can be made is to listen to your employees’ feedback. Take the feedback and work with a cross-functional group of employees to determine some solutions to increase engagement, thereby increasing retention.

Step 3: As You’re Developing the Retention Strategy, Begin To Think Through Your Development Strategy, As the Two Will Overlap.

Employees often feel there should be more opportunity for development that will either help them become better in their current role or help them with a promotion. Opportunities for development, such as leadership training or learning specific software, are an important part of your retention plan. If your talent can picture a path for themselves into the future, or continually feel the investment the company is making in them, they will be less likely to leave.

Step 4: Identify What Kind of Talent Your Company Will Need To Be Successful Over the Next Five Years.

Get with your leadership teams and discuss their future plans and what kind of talent they will need to achieve those plans. From there, build out the recruiting piece of your People Strategy, which identifies how to attract the candidates your leadership believes they will need.

Questions You’ve Asked Us About People Strategy

Is HR responsible for the People Strategy?
There are many players responsible for the People Strategy. Your executive leadership team needs to clearly outline the company’s objectives for the near and far future. Hiring managers and other levels of leadership must identify the kind of talent needed to meet those objectives. HR will be the authors of the strategy with input from various groups. HR should also advocate for the strategy to be followed and identify any needed changes in course.
Why create a People Strategy?
A People Strategy allows you to ensure you are using your time and resources as efficiently as possible. It ensures that the HR team understands what is expected from them when it comes to the attraction, retention and development of people to and within your organization.
Malea Booker

Malea Booker

Malea Booker is a progressive HR leader who loves playing in the gray, finding outside the box solutions to help organizations solve problems utilizing their greatest asset – their people. Malea has over 15 years of broad HR experience but finds talent optimization on the top of her – “Favorite HR things” to-do list. Malea believes that strong HR departments are the foundation upon which the most successful companies are built.

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