6 Steps for Developing Your HR Strategy for 2018 (Yes, you need one!)

Your organization has a solid corporate strategic plan for 2018 that was painstakingly designed to guide all aspects of your business in the year ahead. Why go through the strategic planning process again just for HR? Well, like a corporate strategic plan, a good annual HR strategy will provide focus for the coming year, but it will also align your organization’s human resources activities with its overall objectives. It will ensure that your efforts are bringing in the desired ROI in a cost efficient manner. What employer wouldn’t want that?

While we may all agree that an HR strategy is a great idea, we may not know how to go about developing one. What information is needed and who should be involved in the process? For most of us, strategic planning has often started with a gathering of the troops for a brainstorming session. This is definitely an important step in any planning process, and all relevant parties should be involved; however, there are additional actions that can and should be taken to create a well-rounded strategic plan that will prepare you for the challenges of the year ahead. We offer the following six steps to help you develop a winning HR strategy for 2018:

1. Conduct an HR Audit.

An HR audit is the best way to get a comprehensive view of your human resources operation and identify any gaps. The audit usually begins with a review of your organization’s policies and procedures, and if 2017 has taught us anything, it’s that employers need to be on top of their policies and procedures. Recent media coverage of high-profile sexual harassment allegations have shown us the pervasiveness of harmful behaviour in professional settings: it is critical that employers have an effective reporting and discipline process in place. An HR audit will examine if your organization is prepared to handle such accusations, or of any kind of inappropriate behaviour. In addition, the audit will evaluate all components of your human resources function to give you a clear picture of what needs improvement. The results of your HR audit will provide a solid foundation for your 2018 HR strategy.

2. Review metrics from 2017.

Take a good look at your HR metrics from the past year to locate your successes and identify activities that didn’t meet the mark. Did you set a killer record for quality hires or achieve a lower turnover rate? Or, on the flip side, did you experience an increase in absenteeism? Dig deep and find out what factors caused these results. Examining your past performance will help you see which of your current practices are effective and which ones need tweaking for the new year.

3. Talk to department heads about their upcoming needs.

While it’s impossible to predict every potential need or issue that may arise during the coming year, managers should have an idea of possible areas of focus for their department that you will want to include in your HR strategy. Here are some questions you may want to ask:

-What hiring needs do they anticipate for their team?
-What are their staff training requirements for 2018?
-Are there any interpersonal/morale issues that need addressing?

4. Consult your employees.

Employee feedback will give you on-the-ground data about your organization’s current climate and shed light on potential HR-related concerns. While you can elicit this feedback through employee focus groups, you can also try an anonymous employee satisfaction survey conducted through an online survey platform. Some employers find offering an incentive to employees improves response rate, such as a prize draw for those who complete the survey.

5. Research HR trends for the coming year.

Consider how your organization can leverage upcoming trends, and incorporate them into your strategic planning. For example, a suggested trend to watch in 2018 is using technology to support HR functions, especially recruiting. Depending on your budget and your recruitment needs, you may want to prioritize updating your online application platform and increasing your social media presence to attract passive candidates.

6. Incorporate your organization’s mission and values into your strategy.

Every function of an organization, including human resources, should be working to forward the corporate mission and strategic goals, so be sure to consider how your 2018 HR strategy will meet these objectives. You may also wish to identify organizational values that could help to shape some of your HR goals. For example, if one of your company’s values is sustainability, you could pair this with your plan to improve office morale by strategizing a sustainability-themed employee initiative. Not only will this be a creative way to improve your workplace culture, but it will also align your activities with the values that form the bedrock of your organization.

Once you have gathered all of the relevant data and information, use your favourite strategic planning model to form a well-rounded HR strategy that will address your organization’s needs and prepare you for any challenge that could arise in 2018.

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