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The path to strategic HRM-5 ways we can get it right

For decades now, business leaders and teams have been pushing for a more impactful HR Department and HR teams have been calling for better recognition for their efforts. The future for HR remains largely more humane and strategic. For most companies, HR has majorly been seen as another piece to the factory cog. But recent years have proved that a more deliberate focus on hiring and people results in better company performance in all areas. And with changing demographic needs, technology, and unseen changes like a global pandemic, it’s the right time in history for HRPs to reclaim their place in the business table. Below we see how we can get started on this.

Without a vision, where is the focus?-Lailah Gifty

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality- Warren Bennis

Alignment

The Good Book says “My people perish for lack of vision.” and the same can be said of the HR department in most companies. Firstly, most teams don’t operate with a vision or mission for their members. Then if they do, it’s mostly misaligned with where the company is heading to.

Only 5% of employees understand their company’s strategy, according to a study published in the Harvard Business Review.

Like we said in a recent post, direction is definitely more important than speed. As David Green shows, the future of HR is one where we can contribute directly to business strategy and goals. One where we are more proactive than reactive and enforcing desired change through efforts that drive certain behavior and attract & retain the best people.

The role

The path to strategic HRM starts with acknowledging how much effort we have to put in to undo previous misconceptions and misdoings of the past century. For decades as Seth Godin explains in his book Linchpin, we referred to people as mere workers in a piece of a machine cog. Another factor of production is to be managed and controlled to minimize cost. For us to begin to work differently in HR, we have to help society and leaders unlearn the role of HR in the workplace. To do this, companies are now repositioning & redesigning their workplaces to be more agile and lean. This change has of course been rushed by Covid 19 which has brought with it many changes that have made companies rethink workplaces entirely, including how we will build, buy, borrow or bot going forward. From recruitment as shown below to talent management, people management is being reimagined to be more adaptive and forward-looking.

Ability

If you want to change how a man acts, change how he thinks. The journey towards strategic HRM can only begin in the classroom first. As long as we spend years being taught how to be part of an obsolete system, we will keep producing professionals that don’t change the narrative much with every new class of graduands. Education enables us to do more by equipping us with new skills needed for on-demand issues such as an unforeseen pandemic. It allows us the opportunity to learn, relearn and unlearn, especially with an increasingly VUCA world. And the more we sharpen our field, the more we can offer our clients. For more on this, check out my earlier post of the role of schools, communities & professional associations in changing the face of HR in Kenya.

Culture & Leadership

There’s a reason why I encourage job seekers to look at these 2 things before accepting any job offer. Man, just like machine, learns more through observed behavior than statements. We have many qualified HRPs who are sadly being sabotaged in toxic workplaces and terrible leaders. The role of HR in a company is reinforced by its leadership. None of our employee initiatives from recruiting to retention work if leaders don’t work with us. Great leaders can be the source of inspiration and motivation as equally as they can be the source of disengagement and stress.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast- Peter Drucker

Metrics

As the famous quote says, you are what you measure. And what you don’t as well. As we described here, business leaders understand the language of numbers. This is why Data Analytics is one of the most in-demand HR skills in this decade. If you tell me Diversity matters to you, but can’t show me how you actively track that as Slack does, I don’t believe you. Data allows us to tell a story that shows impact, traction, and learning.

Data moves the brain. Stories move the heart. You need both to move the mind.

“Without data you’re just another person with an opinion.”~W. Edwards Deming~

The world may have slowed down because of Covid, but we can come out stronger if we work on several things including how we can be more strategic.

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Jobonics is a blog centred on all things HR, Recruiting and HR Tech.

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Stella Ngugi

Stella Ngugi

HR Generalist| Founder @JobonicsHR | Where HR, Tech& Entrepreneurship meet| Eat. Pray. Code. Blog. Hire | 🇰🇪 IVisit stellangugi.com for more info.

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