For the HR function, all strategies flow from the business plan of the organization. One can say that most of its plans and corresponding actions have a relationship with the business. Businesses create strategies to maximize competitive advantages to help in the growth and development of 3” P”-profit, people, and the planet. It is crucial for each function within the business, be it finance and accounting, sales and marketing, operations, HR, information technology, and production, to align with its departmental (functional) strategy and the overall business strategy.
It might be useful here to trace the steps for making a business strategy to appreciate the linkage with HR Strategy and later an L & D Strategy.
Knowing the WHY – Mission, WHAT – Vision & HOW – the Core Values
Do a SWOT Analysis – Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats
Create the 3 or 5-year business plan with details of the top line, bottom line, investments, Human Capital -nos and capabilities, etc.
Aligning HR with Business
The HR function intersects and affects the other line functions in the following areas:
Recruitment & Selection
Induction & Onboarding
Learning and Development
Employee Engagement & Retention
Compensation and Benefits
Aligning the HR strategy with the organization’s business strategy is critical to achieving the organization’s mission.
#1. Learning and Development: First, let’s take a look at the process.
#2. Learning Needs Assessment: It is necessary to identify what is required for an individual or for specific groups within the company, and then design training and development programs accordingly.
#3. Collation & Planning: Creation of a calendar covering the workforce. Craft the curriculum with internal or external trainers.
#4. Implementation of Training Programs
#5. Measuring Effectiveness: Gives feedback on the process and tracks results. We use the Donald Kirkpatrick model.
Creating Learning & Development Strategies – Key considerations:
#1. Desired behaviors from core values percolation and competency matrix
#2. A broad-based approach considering ‘3Es’ – Education, Exposure, and Experience.
#3. Aligning with Performance Management (PMS) eco-system, e.g. mention in KRAs
#4. Current trends– explained in the appended table:
From Employee PerspectiveFrom Employer Perspective Byte sized learning Industry trends e.g. Technology Hybrid learning Racing towards a digital world Eclectic approach Changing employee profile e.g. Millennial, Gen-Z, Gen-next etc. Reskilling in case of job redesign
Implementation of L&D Strategies – Some key considerations:
#1. Sign off in the strategy stage with business/line heads.
#2. A healthy mix of ‘3E’ components well thought out & in place.
#3. Rigorous follow-through of Donald Kirkpatrick’s levels 3 & 4 evaluation.
#4. Periodic updates to business/line heads
#5. Constructive conversation with employees during mid-year & yearly appraisal
Given below is a live example of an L&D project – strategy & execution from a leading company
# Problem identified as “not enough talent”
# Internal talent sought for
# A certain number of Area Managers were identified for elevation to the ‘State Head’ category
# 18-month timeline arrived at
# ‘3E’ model used in strategy
# ‘Education’-periodic classroom sessions & workshops on identified competency gaps
# ‘Exposure’ to the entire territory (horizontal exposure) to other disciplines like market & product knowledge, advance commercial knowledge, R&D, etc. (domain exposure)
# ‘Experience’ through a live project on product portfolio, contribution matrix, etc.
# Presentation (once in 3 months) to heads of businesses & other line managers to witness the progress of participants
# Overall significant success in creating the leadership pipeline.
Some steps can be taken to avoid pitfalls in the journey:
#1. Not to pack too much in the 18 months duration
#2. Line & HR worked in tandem at every step
#3. ROI kept in mind as a focus during review sessions
Creating a meaningful and high-value L&D strategy contributes significantly to the overall organizational vision. The Human Resource Development function is the backbone of any organization and must leverage this position. Every initiative that an HR function takes, must confidently fulfill the company’s corporate mandate for growth and profitability, both in the short and long term, to survive and prosper in this VUCA scenario.
Author / Educator – Dr. Krishnamurthy Iyer, Behavioral Trainer, Performance & Effectiveness Enhancer and OD Consultant
Dr. Krishnamurthy Iyer is a B.E. (Mech.) & MIE (Elec.) by Qualifications, however, his passion for people development made him embrace Personnel Management & later HR. After contributing as GM – HR for 4 plants of Auto Sector and a brief stint in Internal Communications, Dr K lyer retired as the Sr. General Manager for Learning & Organisation Development from Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd.
Coming from contribution and compassion, he strives to create a positive difference in the lives of individuals, teams, and organizations, as a coach, facilitator, and consultant.