By Jeri T Denniston, Chief Marketing Strategist, Denner Group International 10/4/2011
Takeaways: It’s important to include HR in the planning process to engineer success up front. Doing so makes it possible for them to address the people issues when it comes time to implement the key strategies. Many HR professionals have to learn to be strategic thinkers. They are trained to be tactical and thought of only as need in the tactical implementation process.
Frequently when organizations work on their strategic plan, they forget to include Human Resources (HR) early in the process. Why is this?
Perhaps it’s because HR is considered unimportant until it’s time to implement the plan. The challenge with that is if they haven’t been involved up front during the planning creation, there may be some critical issues that weren’t addressed early on that now need to be considered.
Another reason may be that HR people generally aren’t or haven’t been strategic thinkers. A friend and colleague, Timi Gleason, wrote a book about how to be a strategic thinker, called Coach as Strategic Partner: a Survival Guide for Leaders and Their HR Business Partners.
In it she shares her personal stories of learning to be a strategic thinker in a Fortune 200 company when she was thrust into a position as the head of HR – with no background or training in that field.
Apparently, this has been a common theme among many HR professionals who have found themselves in that position not through pre-planned training, but by accident. Thus, learning to think at a higher and broader level did not come naturally to many who were focused on the daily tasks of learning the HR function. This may be why at the executive level in many organizations, HR is not considered a member of the planning team, but rather part of the implementation team later on.
This needs to change
HR must be present at the table early on to represent the employees who will actually “do” the implementation of the plan. This is part of “engineering success up front” by including every detail up front of how the plan will be communicated and executed when the time comes. The organization may find it needs to make changes in facilities and workplace environments, for example, that only the HR executive would think about.
In her book, Timi mentions, “A big mistake that we make as leaders and strategic partners is when we don’t share the end game with our employees and colleagues. In our own inability to articulate our vision and needs, we expect smart people to be able to read our minds, and most of the time they can’t. It is in this exact moment that we have the opportunity to help each other. “
That is what’s happening when HR is left out of the loop at the onset of the planning process.
To order her book click here.