The Full Guide to an HR Strategy for the Modern Workplace

Oct 20, 2023 | HR Trends

Josh Rust

As Abenity's Marketing Manager, Josh has a keen insight into the latest HR and recruiting trends.

Does it sometimes feel like your company’s HR strategy is missing the mark?

In today’s fast-paced work environment, it can be hard to maintain an HR strategy that follows cutting-edge trends, proper ethics, and relevant structures. 

But a lousy HR strategy can seriously destroy your bottom line.

It’s not a hard cost. You won’t see it on the balance sheet directly. But things like high employee turnover can sap precious resources away from a company. 

An excellent HR department can give a company a ridiculous competitive advantage. Imagine out-competing your rivals for the best talent, and keeping them at your company long term. 

And imagine saving your company tons of money with great hiring — and by keeping your employees happy and content.

But how do you create an HR Strategy that will do this?

That’s where we come in. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of creating an HR strategy that not only works…but works wonders.

What Is an HR Strategy?

What exactly is an HR strategy, and why does it matter? 

An HR strategy, or Human Resource development strategy, is how your company deals with its most valuable asset: its people. 

It’s the plan that outlines how you’ll attract, develop, and retain top talent in your organization.

Now, why is this so crucial?  

Your HR strategy is the oil that keeps the machine running smoothly. Without it, you risk gear grinding, performance loss, and all kinds of unnecessary hurdles.

Your HR strategy is the key to a workplace where employees thrive, grow, and give their best. 

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not just a nice-to-have—it’s a need-to-have.

What Are the Hallmarks of an Effective HR Strategy? 

Hallmark #1: Clear Objectives

An effective HR strategy begins with crystal-clear objectives. 

What do you want to achieve? Whether it’s improving employee engagement, reducing turnover, or boosting productivity, having well-defined goals is your starting point.

Hallmark #2: Alignment with Business Goals

Your HR strategy shouldn’t be on a solo mission; it should sync up with your company’s broader business objectives. 

When your HR strategy aligns with what the big bosses are aiming for, you’re on the right track.

Hallmark #3: Employee-Centric Approach

In the world of HR, it’s all about your people. 

A winning HR strategy places employees at the center. It focuses on their growth, well-being, and satisfaction. After all, happy employees are productive employees.

Hallmark #4: Flexibility and Adaptability

The business landscape isn’t static, so your HR strategy shouldn’t be either. 

It should be flexible and ready to adapt to changing circumstances. 

Hallmark #5: Measurable Results

Last but not least, your HR strategy should be measurable. 

You need concrete metrics to gauge success. Whether it’s tracking turnover rates, employee engagement scores, or training completion rates, having data to back you up is critical.

How to Identify Where Your HR Department Needs Help 

Your first move in implementing a top-tier HR strategy should be this:

Find the weaknesses of your current system.

To fix a problem, you have to know what’s causing it. 

Here are some ways that you can identify the problem in your HR department: 

Step #1: Employee Feedback

First, talk to your employees. 

They’re the ones on the frontline, and they often have valuable insights. 

You can do this through surveys, meetings, or casual one-on-one chats. The goal here is to gather their feedback, concerns, and suggestions.

Step #2: Analyze Turnover Rates

Turnover rates can be a red flag. 

High turnover might signal recruitment, workplace culture, or employee satisfaction issues. 

Low turnover isn’t always a sign of a healthy HR department. Sometimes it could mean people are sticking around for the wrong reasons. 

Find that sweet spot.

Here’s how you can analyze your turnover rates:

  • Gather Data: Collect data on turnover rates over a specific period, such as a year. Segment the data by department or job role to identify areas with the highest turnover.
  • Exit Interviews: Conduct exit interviews with departing employees to understand their reasons for leaving. This can provide valuable insights into HR or workplace issues that need addressing.
  • Compare Industry Standards: Benchmark your turnover rates against industry standards. This can help you determine if your turnover is unusually high or low compared to similar companies.

Step #3: Performance Metrics

Dive into the data. 

Review performance metrics and see how they stack against your company’s goals. 

Are employees hitting their targets? Are certain teams consistently falling short? Identifying trends can point you in the right direction.

Here are some things you can do to assess performance effectively:

  • Set Clear Goals: Ensure that your employees have clear, achievable goals aligned with company objectives. Misalignment between individual and organizational goals can lead to underperformance.
  • Regular Performance Reviews: Implement regular performance reviews to assess employee progress. These reviews should provide constructive feedback and opportunities for improvement.
  • Analyze Trends: Examine performance data over time. Are there recurring patterns of underperformance in certain teams or departments? Identify these trends for targeted interventions.

Step #4: Compliance Check

No one wants to mess with compliance issues. 

Ensure your HR department is up to date with all relevant laws and regulations. A failure here can lead to legal trouble and a tarnished reputation. 

Make sure your HR team has this area locked down.

Staying compliant with labor laws and regulations is essential to avoid legal issues. 

Here’s how to conduct a compliance check:

  • Review Policies: Review your HR policies and procedures to ensure they align with current labor laws. Make necessary updates to stay compliant.
  • Training: Ensure the HR staff receives regular training on compliance issues. They should be well-versed in relevant laws and regulations.
  • Audits: Conduct periodic audits to verify compliance with labor laws. This may involve reviewing documentation, payroll records, and employee contracts.

Step #5: HR Technology Assessment

Technology can be a game-changer in HR. 

Evaluate your HR tech stack. Is it streamlining processes or causing headaches? Are there new tools that could boost efficiency? 

Make sure your HR department is using tech to its full potential.

Your HR tech stack should support, not hinder, your HR department’s efficiency. Assess your current technology setup and identify areas for improvement:

  • Evaluate Current Tools: Review the HR software and tools your department uses. Are they user-friendly, efficient, and up-to-date? Identify any pain points or areas where technology is lacking.
  • Research New Solutions: Explore emerging HR technologies and software that could streamline HR processes. Consider solutions for recruitment, onboarding, performance management, and employee engagement.
  • Employee Training: Ensure that the HR staff receives proper training on using HR technology effectively. This will maximize the benefits of your tech investments.

Now that you’ve got these steps in your arsenal, you’re ready to give your HR department a thorough check-up. 

Dig into each step and uncover where you can make improvements.

9 Steps to Develop an HR Strategy Framework for Long-Term Success 

Now that you’ve found the dials that need to be turned, let’s go to the exciting part—developing your HR Strategy to get excellent results out of all those things.

Step #1: Define Clear Objectives

You can’t hit a target you can’t see. 

Start by setting clear and specific objectives for your HR strategy. 

Based on everything you uncovered in your investigation…what do you want to achieve? Whether it’s improving employee engagement, reducing turnover, or modifying training programs, having well-defined goals is necessary.

Don’t be vague. What is the EXACT thing you want to achieve?

These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). 

For example, if your goal is to improve employee engagement, define how you will measure it (e.g., through surveys or feedback scores), the percentage increase you aim for, and the timeframe in which you want to achieve it. 

Step #2: Align with Your HR Strategy with Your Business Goals

Your HR strategy should march to the beat of your company. 

It needs to align with your company’s objectives. When your HR strategy syncs up with the big picture, you’re on the right track.

To align your HR strategy with business goals, understand your organization’s overall objectives. 

Speak with key stakeholders and executives to ensure your HR initiatives support these objectives. 

For example, if the company aims to expand into new markets, your HR strategy might focus on talent acquisition and development in those areas.

Step #3: Engage Employees in Planning

Your employees are your greatest asset, so involve them in the process. 

Engage in open discussions with your workforce to understand their needs, aspirations, and concerns. 

Their input can be invaluable in shaping an HR strategy that resonates with the people it impacts most.

Take an employee-centric approach by understanding the needs and aspirations of your workforce. 

Conduct regular employee surveys, one-on-one meetings, and focus groups to gather feedback. 

Use this information to tailor HR programs that address their concerns and support their career growth.

Step #4: Assess Your Current HR Capabilities

Before moving forward, you need to know where you stand. 

Take a close look at your HR department’s current capabilities. 

What are your strengths and weaknesses? Do you have the capabilities to implement a large-scale HR Strategy? Or should you start small and work your way up?

Identifying your capabilities will set the flow of your strategy. 

For instance, if you have the technology, capital, and manpower to do a large-scale HR strategy, then you have less risk. 

But if you’re limited to the mentioned resources above, then you can start small and be more careful.

Step #5: Design Tailored Programs

Just because something works for others doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. 

So, tailor your HR programs to the needs of your employees and organization. 

James Clear says in his book Atomic Habits, “You don’t rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

So your job here is to create a system that gives you the results you desire.

Whether it’s leadership development, training, or wellness initiatives, ensure you customize your programs for maximum impact.

Ensure that you review these plans regularly to track progress and make adjustments.

Step #6: Communication is Key

Effective communication is the glue that holds an HR strategy together. 

Ensure that your HR strategy is well-communicated to all levels of your organization. Everyone should be on the same page regarding goals, expectations, and timelines.

Regularly share updates on HR initiatives, policy changes, and employee feedback opportunities. Create channels for employees to voice their concerns and suggestions. 

Transparency builds trust and ensures everyone is on the same page.

Step #7: Implement Your Strategy with a Clear Timeline

Now comes the action phase. 

Implement your HR strategy with a clear timeline. 

Define milestones and deadlines to keep things on track. Having a roadmap ensures that everyone knows what to expect and when.

Step #8: Monitor Your Progress

Regularly monitor and measure your progress. 

Are you hitting those defined objectives? If not, it’s time to adapt. Be flexible and open to tweaking your strategy as needed.

Utilize data and analytics to guide your HR strategy. 

Implement HR management software and tools to provide insights into employee performance, engagement, and satisfaction. 

Use this data to identify trends, areas for improvement, and potential risks.

Step #9: Continuous Improvement

Remember that your HR strategy is not static. 

Regularly evaluate its effectiveness, gather feedback, and make adjustments as necessary. Continuous improvement is vital for long-term success.

This involves reviewing performance against KPIs, gathering employee feedback, and assessing your HR programs’ impact. 

Be prepared to make adjustments based on data and feedback to keep your strategy aligned with your long-term goals.

Create an HR Strategy that Hits the Mark!

Now, you have the tools to develop an HR strategy that sets your organization up for long-term success.

Remember, a well-crafted HR strategy is an investment in your employees and your company’s future. 

By putting the needs of your workforce first and aligning your strategy with your business goals, you can unlock the full potential of your organization.

Are you ready to take the next step towards attracting and retaining top talent? 

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Don’t miss out on this opportunity to enhance your HR strategy further and boost employee satisfaction. 

Click here to access our Employee Perks report and start making a positive change today!

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