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Have you done your part to enable HR to be strategic?


Too much time is spent debating why HR hasn’t added the value that both it and its functional peers seek. Whether it’s an accurate assessment of HR or not, there are many reasons for this perception – from HR talent not being strategic to companies not having sufficient budgets to properly invest in employees.


In many cases however, it’s the executive leadership that needs to step up and be clear about the company’s strategic priorities before asking HR to contribute strategically. Whether HR drives this clarity or it’s the executive team, a company has to be clear about where it’s going, what it’s struggling with and what it’s great at before HR can plan strategically as a partner.


Across Fortune 1000 and even small nonprofit companies, I’ve worked with many executives who struggle with delivering a concise, clear statement on what their company is going to focus on in the next year or two. So we spend our coaching time coming to clarity – What’s the vision, mission, values, and strategy for this company or unit? Why? What is the company/unit struggling with right now? What do you know is going to change in the market? What should this company accomplish in the next couple of years? Where should it be?


HR needs this clarity – a few precise, concise statements – before driving the conversation on how its work is going to support the strategic direction of the company. And these statements need to be crafted by, spread to and believed in by the rest of the leadership team. It’s the anchor for all resources, efforts and energy.


So if you’re an executive frustrated with the level of strategic support you’re getting from your HR head, ask yourself whether you’ve been clear – on paper, verbally, across your leadership team and beyond – about where the company is going and where it’s struggling today.  

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