Human resources departments are often concerned with internal matters such as training and hiring. If you're looking to make the most of your HR team, however, it is important not to lose sight of the company's short-term and long-term goals. In fact, a 2013 study by the Aberdeen Group found that companies with strategically aligned HR departments are more successful at building powerful teams.
The first step in aligning an HR team with strategic goals is effective communication. Before you take any action, schedule a meeting with your team and company executives; for large teams, it may be more effective to send in a few top HR leaders.
As a group, talk through and establish corporate goals, then rank them in order of priority. Identify the goals that present the greatest opportunity for HR involvement. Keep in mind that it can also help to designate goals that are better served by other departments; after all, the company will not benefit when HR employees are wasting time and resources on futile projects.
Finally, ask about the expectations for the HR team and express any concerns you have. After the meeting, everyone should be on the same page in terms of goals and HR contributions. This type of open communication is a crucial part of overall corporate alignment.
If your HR team has been working hard on other goals, introducing a goal alignment requirement can cause stress and dissent. To keep the process from feeling overwhelming, engage your employees. Sit down with them to examine the current HR procedures and brainstorm ways the team can impact the company's strategic goals.
In some cases, you may need to rework the department's internal goals to line up more effectively with the corporate goals. Asking for input and involving the team can help you come up with projects and initiatives that are achievable and sustainable. It also helps create buy-in, which is crucial for total alignment.
Once your HR team begins integrating the goal-alignment tasks into their workloads, it is important to choose metrics to measure progress. If one of the corporate goals is to create a better office culture, for example, you might monitor employee engagement and turnover rate. Publish the metrics in an easily accessible place visible to executives to keep your team members accountable. Over time, you'll be able to tell whether or not your efforts are helping the company move closer to its goals.
For a manager, it can be a challenge to run an HR team in a way that serves both employee and corporate goals, particularly if the department is already stretched thin. By using sensitivity and common sense, you can smooth the process and increase your chances of success.
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