A perfect partnership - linking business and HR strategy

by |

How do you believe HR should be tying talent strategy to business strategy and what are you doing about this in your company? Human Capital asked three experts for their top tip.

Tip 1 - Thoroughly understand the strategy and the resulting business plan, otherwise it's difficult to ensure the HR function is aligning frameworks, programs and practices to enable the business
By Kellie Reeves, director of people & culture, Dimension Data Australia

Increasingly the success of organisations around the globe is dependent on how well they manage their talent. This is particularly so for those operating in the knowledge industries. In these organisations, there is a ripe opportunity for HR to add enormous value by partnering with their leadership teams to source, secure, develop, engage and retain the best talent.
The clear starting point is the business strategy; how is the organisation going to be unique, differentiate itself to compete and sustain that position over time. Once an organisation's path is set, it typically moves quite swiftly into business planning mode. This is key. Without a sufficient understanding of the strategy and the resulting business plan, it is difficult to ensure that you as the HR function are aligning your frameworks, programs and practices to enable the business.
Once the strategy and plan are understood, the real work begins. Through a comprehensive information gathering and consultative process, HR should build a talent plan that addresses the following:

  1. What are the skills, experience and culture we will need to succeed in the future?
  2. Where will we need these skills to be based? Is location important?
  3. What number of people will be required and what are the horizons?
  4. How will we source these skills in the marketplace?
  5. How will we grow our own talent?
  6. How will we ensure that our talent is engaged?
  7. How will we ensure that our talent is retained? 

At Dimension Data, as a global IT solutions and services provider, we consider these questions as we set our three year strategies and business plans. We work locally and globally to understand how best we can attract, engage, develop and retain talent, and critically, the right talent. In our business, we have responded by introducing a range of talent initiatives including building competency frameworks, identifying high potentials, targeted learning and development planning, career planning, leadership development and graduate programs. Ultimately it is about finding the right mix of programs that work for your business, in your industry, that will position your organisation for success.

Tip 2 - Build a comprehensive and holistic framework to view talent in your organisation
By Damian O'Sullivan, talent consultant, worldwide partner talent, Cisco Systems Australia

At Cisco we believe tying talent strategy to business strategy is crucial, so important in fact that we have extended this strategy to our partners. Cisco works with a large ecosystem of partners with whom we collaborate to deliver our products and solutions to the end customer, so consulting with partners on their talent practices is a natural progression of the support we offer them.

We have an entire office, the Cisco Partner Talent Office, dedicated to supporting partners in building and developing their human capital practices using the Fit4Talent Lifecycle as a comprehensive and holistic framework to view talent in organisations. The Lifecycle was developed through an analysis of Cisco's internal practices and researching best practice methods in the external marketplace. 

The Cisco Fit4Talent Lifecycle promotes and supports efforts along the entire lifecycle of our partner's employees, with an emphasis on business alignment and leadership at all phases. Most importantly, the Lifecycle assists our partners to better align their talent strategy with their business strategy through these key phases:

  1. Workforce and business planning, aligns business and talent strategies
  2. Attraction and hiring, Cisco resources help our partners define their brand and employee value proposition. Cisco also offer a jobs portal for partners that assists in matching partner demand with market supply in different theatres around the world
  3. Onboarding of new talent, the assimilation of new hires is an opportunity to introduce the hire to an organisation's processes and resources and reduce time to productivity
  4. Learning and development, provides career development planning to develop strong skills, professional growth, and build employee satisfaction
  5. Coaching and mentoring, builds skills for stronger talent and leadership skills. Moreover, it builds a company's internal development capacity and can help lower costs
  6. Succession planning, identifies and develops talent for the future. Effective succession planning enables an organisation to identify talented employees and provide education, experience and exposure to develop them for future higher-level responsibilities

Tip 3 - Monitor what talent requirements apply for current organisational needs, but also keep an eye on the horizon
By Lindy MacPherson, general manager, organisational development and human resources, Data#3

This first and most important thing that an HR manager and their team must do is intimately understand their company strategy. The HR team also needs to be continually looking over the horizon and assess what the future strategy may be, to ensure that talent programs not only align with what is needed right now, but what will be needed in the future.

Our approach at Data#3 is pretty simple; without a clear business strategy we will not attract or retain the best talent in the market; without a commitment to the growth of talent in our business we won't achieve our company strategy and our people's aspirations; without our people understanding how their talent contributes to the company strategy we will never achieve our strategic outcomes.

We have a very clear business strategy that states the KPIs for the company; these KPIs are then reflected in our Position Descriptions, our people's Work Plans and Development Plans. We believe it is vital that our people understand which duties they undertake on a day to day basis, and what professional development activities they commit to, contributes to success; for them personally, for their business unit and for the company strategy.

As an organisation in the ICT sector our talent strategies are critical to the success of our company. We must ensure that they are relevant to both our people and to our company KPIs. Aligning our talent development programs with world leading IT vendor technology, offering business and technical qualifications along with online courseware and books, as well as formal mentoring programs, retains and grows our talent, and enables us to achieve our business strategy.   

HRM Online forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Name (required)
Comment (required)
By submitting, I agree to the Terms & Conditions