Many HR departments fail to meet their responsibility within the company because they develop their HR strategy in parallel to company strategy. But HR can only provide added value towards the success of the business by addressing corporate goals and vision, and by developing and implementing HR strategies based on corporate strategy.
According to the sober findings in the latest Kienbaum survey 'HR 4 HR', HR departments have an image problem. Managers from other areas of the business, as well as HR staff themselves, consider the contribution made by HR to the company as being 'mediocre' to 'of little value'. There is a lack of skills, key data and career opportunities. In view of the fact that HR activities such as employer branding and talent management have become of vital importance, this bad evidence is astonishing. One way out of this company internal mediocrity can be through the better integration of HR in strategic corporate planning and in company processes. For instance, 41 percent of managers surveyed are of the opinion that HR could improve its image by HR staff playing a greater role in the development of corporate strategy and working together with other departments.
HR is of Strategic Importance to the Company
Experts agree that it is not only HR departments that benefit in the long-run, but also the entire organisation. Commercial pressure, employees spanning several generations and continual technological developments afford HR management a key strategic role within the company. Qualified and committed employees are now the most important resource. Ultimately, only employees who feel comfortable in the company, feel challenged and supported, and identify with their employer can quickly adjust to a continually changing business environment, demonstrate innovative strength, and make the company an attractive employer. To achieve this, business strategists and HR strategists need to complement and enhance each other in an appropriate way.
Corporate Strategy as a Basis for Successful HR Management
For this, corporate strategy must form the basis for HR strategy development and implementation. HR can only create value and contribute towards business success when HR strategy takes market and business developments, as well as strategic company goals, into account. For example: if the company's goal is to increase innovation through cultural diversity and selective diversity management measures, then international applicants should not fail the selection process because of trivial language barriers. HR processes and policy need to be geared to ensuring that, on the one hand, employees reflect the demographic diversity of the business environment; and, on the other hand, that by feeling valued, they are motivated to use their potential for the benefit of the organisation.
Tailored Recruitment Processes and Appropriate Succession Planning
Keeping HR and company strategy on the same wavelength requires a permanent dialogue between both areas, through the integration of HR in strategic corporate planning. Visions and goals determine what is required of employees. In addition, HR policy must also satisfy business requirements. To achieve its objectives, HR can only derive effective planning for personnel development once it has all relevant information. Thus recruitment processes can be better tailored to the search behaviour of the desired group of applicants – for instance, by accommodating the candidate's language in search engine marketing and search engine optimisation, or by using new channels such as mobile recruiting.
The same applies to company internal career and succession planning, which can only be successful when it is aligned with corporate strategy. Only then can the HR department know which strategic positions need to be filled in the mid- and long-term and look for candidates internally. In order to identify high potentials within the workforce, it is first of all necessary to define what constitutes a high potential for the company. For example, through a jointly developed competency model, talent can be appraised; and encouraged and further developed strategically depending on the requirements.
A Common Process: Candidate Experience
Interaction between corporate strategy and HR marketing is indispensable in the interests of an attractive and credible employer brand. If candidates are put off during the recruitment process - for example, through empty promises in glossy brochures, by complicated and time-consuming online application forms, or by a lack of response to their application – they will be quickly disappointed and turn their backs on the company. Furthermore, there are additional points of contact with potential candidates in other parts of a company, which have an effect on the company's image as an employer. Candidate experience management, carried out jointly by senior management and the HR department, will help to define these 'touch points' and make employees aware of their effect. If this is done hand-in-hand, interested parties can be turned into applicants; and applicants into ambassadors for the employer brand.
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