Second Generation HR Strategic Planning

I had a very rewarding opportunity on Friday to meet with a fantastic group of HR professionals and discuss the various facets of second generation HR strategic planning.  Most organizations developed their first HR strategic plan during the 1990s or early 2000s.  For most of us, the plan included our goals as a team coupled with our approach to recruitment, compensation, benefits, retention, and automation.  After almost two decades of transformation in human resource operations and practices as well as growth in technical and non-technical capabilities, a second generation of planning has evolved.  Now more than ever, the plan acknowledges the important of human resources supporting business objectives.  The new approach strives to:

  • increase the linkages between business objective and human resource management to add to the organization’s competitive advantage;
  • build on analytics and metrics more than simple association to determine the best alternatives; and
  • maximize the value of human resources not simply optimize the processes; and
  • link human resource success to organizational success.

Among the successful, second generation plans, three factors seem to be present in each:

  • Alignment – new plans go beyond simply linking overall business objectives to joining the results to the organizational strategy of every unit and employee.  A comprehensive plan ensures that the strategy links to necessary resources, staffing, policies, and processes.  By aligning each major component, not only is the plan’s chance of success increased, but the organization functions in a more integrated and efficient manner.
  • Data – planning fails to reach its full potential without a sufficient use of data analysis.  Not only should inputs and outcomes be analyzed, but the drivers and processes in between.  A planner needs the right data to support the findings as well as the goals.
  • Process – we all learned, the typical or basic planning methodology in school of developing vision, creating mission, assessing strengths and weaknesses, developing goals, and determining how to implement, multiple methods and tools are available today.  The best process depends on your organization and its culture.  While the best process is inclusionary, the structures, tools, and steps should be responsive and flexible.

Happy Planning!

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