HR Strategy: Getting Everyone On-Board

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Human Resource Management Roles > Best Practices > HR Strategy: Getting Everyone On-Board

HR Strategy: Getting Everyone On-Board
C. Burcham, United States, Member
HR strategy and the business strategy must be totally integrated. (Kearns, 2008). Employees have to know and understand the vision of the business and believe they are somehow benefiting beyond just receiving a paycheck. The HR department must provide executive management with fundamental ideas that help gain market share, while enticing and retaining talent.
Once the business strategy is in place, it is management’s responsibility to ensure company goals are embraced. There are several ways to make employees embrace company goals:
- COMMUNICATION: the goals must be clearly defined. Ambiguity is a roadmap to disenchantment. Employees must understand how the company mission statement applies to their specific role within the organization.
- INPUT: management must seek input from employees about what tools and programs they do and do not need to perform their jobs; then, HR must eliminate wasteful and unproductive programs.
- FEEDBACK: management and employees should meet on a regular basis to discuss how the new strategies are working.
- POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT: employees should receive rewards for a job well done, especially after implementing new policies and procedures which tend to create added stress to team members who still desire to perform well and yet meet the demands of the new goals.
- VALUE: employees have to feel valued. HR strategy isn't worth the paper it's written on if workers feel neglected, taken advantage of, and are burnt out. A firm's performance reward system will in part be based upon its corporate culture. HR must ensure recognition and reward fit both the company and the employee. Regardless of the particulars, real strategy involves showing human capital sincere appreciation for their contributions.

If new ideas are met with enthusiasm, but they are never implemented, job satisfaction levels may drop. If sales goals are repeatedly reached, yet the people on the bottom never receive any kind of recognition (financial or otherwise), they will begin to resent the company. If employees aren’t given the opportunity to grow and expand their level of contribution, they will burn out and search for better opportunities elsewhere.
Source: Kearns, P. (2008). HR Strategy: Business focused, individually centered. Amsterdam: Butterworth-Heinemann Publications

HR Business Presence
Gregory Johnson, Coach, United States, Premium Member
Wow! Many years ago I was a HR specialist and got away from the profession because it was disconnected from the organization. With this post, it seems things have changed and I'm pleased.
HR people must know and understand the VISION of the organization's Leadership. They need to support it through a cadre of professional elements, including a communications platform with multiple directions. HR could be the driver of bottom-up communications, as well as the quality of the top-down communications.
HR needs to help the organization's leaders understand leadership and illustrate the concept of leadership by showing the Maslow diagram upside down. They also need to show the leaders that their purpose is to serve the organization, its people (i.e. employees), and its customers.
How do you "serve" the internal people? Leaders serve people by valuing their input to operations and understanding that they are much closer to the process. Leaders need to let the people know they add value to the success of the organization. Leaders should also hold their people accountable for the success.

Getting Everyone on Board
vincenzo de vera, Manager, Italy, Member
Yes, without forgetting empowerment. The goal is to ensure everybody is not only informed and conscious, but also feels responsible for what they are doing and how they are performing. It is also important to be able to measure results and determine the added value they are bringing to the organization. They must possess the right tools, skills (i.e., training), and authority to achieve the given goals. In one word: they must be fully responsible for their activities (and actions).

HR Should Remove Obstacles in Getting Everyone On-board
TSK.Raman, Strategy Consultant, India, Member
Here is a partial list of obstacles to get everybody on-board from my perspective.
Fear: The downturn's, the anxiety of being laid off when the economy fails, or whatever, there is a fear that grips employees. Then there is the fear of each other, of the leadership, of not measuring up, fear of creativity, of engagement, of failure and its subtle twin - fear of success. HR's endeavor must be to remove fear as much as possible.
Isolation: We need to remove isolation of every sort. Isolation from each other. Isolation from the culture, the main stream - developers/producers versus maintenance, people, sales/sales support or even isolation from play at work, meaning lifting enjoyment from their work and making it seems so serious.
Meaninglessness: Operational people, process auditors, policy makers, and policy implementers. HR should assess what is working and not working, and every effort must be made to remove meaningless work.
Blind focus on results: The organization needs to agree that businesses are not for charity, but watch what the obsessive push.

Getting Employees on Board
Ramalingam K S, Management Consultant, India, Member
What if companies gave one paid up share every year to each employee irrespective of their position or level? If companies reward employees, employee involvement will improve. In one way it allows for real public ownership and improved employee motivation.
No other amount of motivation can help, either in India or elsewhere. It is not Communism or socialism. It is inclusive participation, which creates real growth, which our economists or leaders preach, but do not practice. This approach is also the way to build mutual trust between one and all, for the good of all. Employees should not be allowed to sell these shares: but only redeem them when retiring.

Alignment of HR and Corporate Strategy
Jacki McCartney, Student (University), Member
This article is 100% on target. However, in the UK, the challenge is the HR community. The challenge and need is to move away from a transactional to strategic service offering. This amounts to a serious endeavour.
There are limited numbers of HR personnel, who are willing to embrace the necessary development required or give up the power and control that goes with the responsibility for managing what is often an enterprise's highest cost and/or investment - its people. It is very rare to meet an HR Director, who appreciates the strategic opportunity available to their business support unit and is able to translate strategy into action. Despite designing and delivering the 1st European HR Balanced Scorecard in 2002, 12 years later, I frequently hear the words, but I rarely see the required actions in terms of strategic functional leadership.

Your Next Actions Plan
HR and business objectives must always be achieved at the same time, or in a give and take RELATIONSHIP. Make your employees "fall in love" with the organization. Ensure employees stay for all the right reasons and use their full potential to support the overall success of the organization.
I agree with the 4 actions mentioned by Ms. Burcham: communication, feedback, positive reinforcement and value. They should really take place. Do not make your employees wait for support, unless they realize the working relationship is one-sided and then they want to leave.
No company wants to start over and over again, the “hire – train – employee leaves” cycle is a waste of time and money. Why take the risk of employing individuals (only to see them leave) and then having to hire another person after a short period of time. The result is reduced business growth.
To be successful, management needs to invest in these four ACTIONS. Positive results will just follow. Measure the ROI. You'll see.

How to Get Everyone on Board?
D P BABU, Strategy Consultant, India, Member
Human relations in organized way helps us to get everyone on board. Let us do network management, personally and functionally, linking people with suggestions and feedbacks. Of course, top management must encourage it by freeing people from hierarchical bottlenecks.

HR Must Be Integrated
Dr. Alan Williams, Professor, Thailand, Member
I broadly agree, and you can find a few HR departments that look like what has been described. Sadly many HR managers and their staff just don't get it and many never will.
An extreme real example: a large multinational, a new CEO arrives from abroad when the old CEO (been on site 20 years) retires. New CEO quickly has a 1 hour one-on-one with each department manager. He quickly discovers that the HR manager never left the big city office (on the job 12 years), meaning he had never visited 2 large manufacturing plants and 10 large sales centers. The new CEO asks "Why did you never visit any of these locations?" Answer: "It's not my job and these places are dirty" (in fact not true). The HR manager was gone before the end of the day.
Therefore, step 1 to getting good buy-in must be for the HR managers and professionals to show strongly that they understand the business and gain the respect of operational managers by showing continuous engagement and continuous added value.

Business Goals are Leading
ton voogt
An experience and a lesson: A business leader changes his organization from a 'production-to-sell' organization to a company that delivers solutions to clients. The managers develop new relations with each other.
The business leader wants a conference. HR organizes the agenda and sees it as training managers in new roles, using communication techniques. Each participant is equal. The consultant from outside is only briefed by HR.
A day before the conference, the BU leader expresses to the consultant the need to develop the cooperation between the new managers and their support in vivo. The consultant redesigns and executes the program. All are satisfied except for the HR, which thinks in individualized training.
I learned: HR's (only this HR?) concern is the individual's relation with the company. However, a company is an ever-changing team in the hands of the BU leader. HR must support BU leaders, as the team is their hands. HR should not focus on their own goals in training or educating employees. BU leaders must lead.

Alignment of HR and Business Goals & Strategies
Dr. Alan Williams, Professor, Thailand, Member
@Jacki McCartney: Agree. For years I was the Regional OD Director For North & South-East Asia, in a very large and successful multinational. When I took the job I discovered that 99% of the local HR managers were administrative managers and nothing more and the CEO was not happy about that.
I called the HR managers to an internal seminar and told them strongly but politely it had to change, & you have to add a lot more value. They knew I was serious. At first they were shocked, they then worked in small teams for 2 hours and then gave their reasons why they could NOT comply with my instruction. Most teams said:
1. They didn't understand the business. And didn't know the business goals.
2. They are not respected by the operational managers. I told them to go back to their operating companies and tell the CEO they wanted to join & participate in every senior management meeting (99% had never attended). They had to then report back to me and explain:
a. The business goals & current / mid-term business strategies.
b. Ongoing operational assessment data.
c. Customer satisfaction.
90% changed quickly, the rest were pushed out.

Adherence to 'Kaizen' at Work Places is Key to Enhanced HR Growth
C.L. Kappagomtula, Professor, Malaysia, Member
Gone are the days, when HR was seen as concerning only worker's welfare and integrating them to the organization they serve. With high-calibre brains at work places, as employees, there is a tacit need to build synergies using their talent potential for organizational enrichment.
This is only possible when employees become a part and parcel of the organizational strategic planning and are associated throughout all of the phases of tactical and operational decision-making meetings.
Japan, from the end of World War II, and China in more recent times are both rapidly progressing in Lean / JIT technologies. The root cause of this forward momentum is the inclusion of employees in an organization's decision-making.
Most of the great factories in China have a morning meeting at the start of the day's work of all employees, where the top manager gives a brief review of the activities of the previous day, including mistakes or laudable achievements. The manager also plans, with the workers, for the new day's throughput in the factory. Each and everyone in the firm gets a sense of pride from this.

New HR Proposal
Gandhi Heryanto, Management Consultant, Indonesia, Premium Member
There is an article from HBR magazine July Aug 2014 by Ram Charan, It is time to split HR due to disappointment with HR people. He splits HR into 2 strands, HR-A for administration managing compensation and benefit, reporting to CFO, and HR-LO for improving people capabilities, reporting to CEO.
This proposal from Ram Charan will eliminate HR strategy function as described and discussed.
Editor: a summary of that article and discussion can be found in another forum thread in this forum: Should HR Be Split Up?. .

HRM & Business Practicesd Integrating
K.Narayana Moorthy, HR Consultant, India, Member
In my opinion HRM roles embrace: Recruitment, Selection & Introduction; Personnel Administration; Training & Development; Performance & Reward Management; Talent Management; Succession & Career Planning; Labour Relations; and Human Resources Planning.
These roles should enable the Human Resources and Business Strategies to work together to create a viable integration.This is done through Horizontal Fit - a congruence of various HRM Practices; and Vertical Fit - the alignment of HRM practices with strategic management processes with Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The outcome of the above will be employees embracing company goals for great success.

Details to Integrate HR and Business Strategies are Important
David Wilson, Manager, Canada, SIG Leader
@K.Narayana Moorthy: I am very interested in how you would integrate HR and business strategies, plans and programs to engage and encourage employees. I think you are on the right track, but could you provide some added details.

Separation Requires the Elimination of Silos
David Wilson, Manager, Canada, SIG Leader
@Gandhi Heryanto: I believe Ram Charan's view may be useful to consider if the HR work is truly administrative (i.e. payroll services, benefits administration, recruitment, training, etc.). However, compensation strategies, job evaluation, organizational development, and labour relations are, in my opinion, more strategic HR functions.
What is really needed to improve HR services is the integration of HR strategies, programs, methodologies, frameworks and tools. In too many organizations, HR is more focused on the transactions and protecting their operational silos. HR organizations need to eliminate silos and improve program and policy flexibilities.
Until businesses and HR know how to improve their services, separating HR into different business areas may not be the best idea.

HRM & Business Practices Integrating
K.Narayana Moorthy, HR Consultant, India, Member
Determinants of Horizontal Fit: The three HR function factors that influence horizontal fit are:
1. HR Policy;
2. Options of HR practices;
3. Investment or budget of HRM.

Determinants of vertical fit are: Values and culture of firm.

Determinants of both types of fit:
- Personal factors - Ability and skills of organization members;
- HR Function Factors: (above Stated);
- Firm Level Factors: 1) Nature of Strategy and 2) Culture of the firm.

Matching of the above will lead to the realization of a new HRM system that gives an outcome of Labour Productivity- Flexibility- Social Legitimacy- Informality/ Formality of relations, with a good feedback with new HRM system covering external influences and internal influences.

HR Strategy - Getting Everyone On-board
TSK.Raman, Strategy Consultant, India, Member
I remember the words of a war veteran, a retired General of our Armed forces who said, "We may have new technology of weapons, a brilliant strategy too, but it's the men who win the wars for us."
This sums up brilliantly what we need to use in corporates too. This needn't particularly be confined to HR (for whom this should be like religion). We need to see how we can add value to the lives of employees, rather than extracting what value they give to help us build our profit margin or bank balances.
We achieve this only when we are genuine with our thoughts and feelings. Look beyond what's in it for me.
Using the mantra of the army general and using his language, I would say, "Instead of trying to serve the generals, let's aim at working with the soldiers and serve the nation". This implies that we owe it to the people who work for us rather than those who have appointed us for that purpose.
Let's wear our conscience and get answers for this "tricky" question. Thankfully, I do not suffer from any such guilt.

HR Business Business Involvement
Gandhi Heryanto, Management Consultant, Indonesia, Premium Member
@David Wilson: what is described by Ram Charan is an ambivalence of the HR function. On one hand, HR wishes to be involved in strategic decisions, as illustrated by this discussion topic, but on other hand, their mindset is still based on traditional HR.
Referring to Ron Ashkenas blog, why managers and HR don't get along, at least there are 3 examples:
1. The first example involves a process of efficiency by downsizing the workforce, where a team discussion about mapping process involving HR can change to an employee performance appraisal. This change will cause conflict in the team because the HR role is no longer as change agent, but rather as an employee advocate.
2. Another example is lack of proper functioning of HR in managing human capital from interview process, performance appraisal, employee feedback discussion, and compensation review, which are caused generally by lack of time, skills and interests.
3. The last example is generally less understanding of company business.

HR Complexity and a Family Approach
Dilip Khanal, CEO, Nepal, Member
HR people need to communicate the business strategy to other staff as business leaders do, show a caring approach for handling staff, align performance with reward & punishment system, educate the management on staff motivation, etc. Sometimes HR needs to act like a union for staff welfare (i.e. advocate), while at other times they need to act like management to convince the staff about their inability to satisfy staff aspiration.
Yet, they need to boost confidence among staff to identify that there is the possibility of growth for all in the future.
The dilemma occurs when management makes a decision without consulting HR, as many companies still perceive HR as a company cost (i.e. overhead), not as its capital.
It is very difficult to nurture staff as family and show generosity when they are in trouble. If we work along this line, maybe handling HR is a very easy task.
When people lose the concept of family in their lives, they might have difficulty in understanding a family approach endorsed by HR.

How HR Should Make Employees Embrace Company Goals
Conny Morokweng, Student (MBA), Botswana, Member
It is critical for HR people to communicate the business strategy to all employees including those at ground floor. The organization has to motivate its employees in order to achieve the desired goals and this can be done through empowerment. Employees need to be empowered through training and development of needed skills so that they perform their duties responsibly, effectively and efficiently.
HR Managers should ensure that the people at operational level know what is expected of them, how they can contribute towards the achievement of the organization`s vision as individuals and as a team and how to encompass the organization`s values in their daily operations.

Getting Everyone On Board Through the Immediate Manager
Dr. Alan Williams, Professor, Thailand, Member
@Conny Morokweng: Yes but never forget that HR is to some extent outside of daily, continuous on the job interactions.
In my opinion / experience, the position which has the most responsibility and the most impact in terms of communicating business goals, customer satisfaction, and checking & discussing progress towards achieving goals and achieving innovation etc., is the immediate manager / supervisor, through their approach, behaviors, listening and discussion approach, also their EI balance and empathy.
HR can and must of course ensure there is appropriate support so that the immediate manager / supervisor can do this well.
Another point to back this up: in many companies, the HR Manager, in fact all HR staff, have no real knowledge or understanding of what each individual operational position must achieve.

Getting Everyone On Board
Conny Morokweng, Student (MBA), Botswana, Member
@Dr. Alan Williams: I agree with you Dr. However, I take HR to be the link between employees and management. Hence, it is important for HR to know how each employee contributes to the organization. HR gets such information from employees' immediate supervisors like you said. It is crucial that employees should feel as part of the organization and they should be empowered, their efforts be recognized and be appropriately rewarded. The organization, through HR should ensure that it adds value to the lives of its employees which will result in employee satisfaction.

The Primary Role of HR
Dr. Alan Williams, Professor, Thailand, Member
@Conny Morokweng: Empowered, yes. It should be a complete package and include: engagement, motivation, innovation, and empowerment. To achieve gains, all of this effort and action needs multiple inputs in terms of the company culture and work environment, which mostly means organizational and leadership behaviors. Just 1 example: small power gap / big power gap.
I agree that HR should amongst other things be the watchdog taking care of employee rights, etc. HR should also be very active in suggesting organizational alignment adjustments, especially in terms of very focused work to continuously build organizational capability. The primary role of HR should be building people and organizational capacity and capability.
I know several organizations where Training and Development (T&D) has had a complete transformation and is now separated from HR. In two organizations, all T&D staff must come from within and have at least 10 years operation experience, including operational management experience.

Business Leads and HR Integrates
David Wilson, Manager, Canada, SIG Leader
@Dr. Alan Williams: I agree the organization's business leaders need to provide the direction and guidance to employees.
HR should support this messaging to ensure the organization's vision and mission is integrated into all HR programs, policies, and communications.
If HR is part of the strategic team, linking business needs to employee awareness and engagement, should be supported by the organization's leadership.

Totally Integrated Organization Not Yet Achievable
Ken Sylvester, Professor, United States, Member
I spent 42 years working with large global corporations. None of those organizations have been totally integrated.
It was not because of a lack of desire. It is because a totally integrated organization appears to be not yet achievable.
I think that if you can get 70% of an organization to work together you have achieved a magic moment in time. The important word in your premise is the word "IF" a company could integrate.

Shared Vision Among Employees
Tran le Phuong, Teacher, Mongolia, Member
Each employee must own the company's vision, and be given enough space in order to achieve it.

Employees Embracing Company Goals
K.Narayana Moorthy, HR Consultant, India, Member
Since 2000-2005, businesses have started to recognize variable pay plans, as incentive for performance. These variable plans also support new HR management systems and services, including: organization culture, business strategy, and HRM strategy. These approaches further enable organizations (and HR) to move towards a Total Reward System, which includes: compensation (variable pay plans); benefits; work life; performance; recognition; development; and career opportunities. Thus, enabling business organizations to attract and retain skilled employees, while achieving business goals and improving results.

Getting Employee Buy-In
Briolett, Manager, Canada, Member
It is the responsibility of HR and Upper Management to get the buy-in of their employees. People need consistency of message - saying one thing and doing another doesn't work, it leaves people confused and unhappy. Remember: The message received loudest is the 'doing'!
Honest communication and feedback, real care and concern for your employees ideas, valuing employee knowledge and experience by involving them and giving them opportunities to grow keeps employees long-term. Monetary rewards while appreciated are short lived and lose there luster if the other stuff is missing.

Employees want to be proud of where they work - what makes them proud to work for you?

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