Strategic human resources objectives are goals aligned with the organization’s goals. In fact, in “Human Resource Management Theory and Practice,” authors John Bratton and Jeffrey Gold identify strategic human resource management as the “managerial process requiring human resource (HR) policies and practices to be linked with the strategic objectives of the organization.” A number of human resources objectives support organizational goals, such as profitability, business reputation, ethics and principles.
For many employers, a common human resource strategic objective is to ensure the organization’s workforce is capable of meeting future staffing needs. To achieve this goal, human resources staff and line managers generally work together in assessing current workforce skills and qualifications. This helps determine the best course of action for human resources activities such as succession planning. Succession planning identifies employees who show promise and aptitude. It then provides them with the training and development they need for transitioning into higher-level positions or more responsible roles within the company.
Another form of workforce development that supports human resources strategic objectives and long-range planning is cross-training. Cross-training — training employees to perform job duties in other departments or areas of the business — improves workforce mobility and expertise through broadening employee skills and expertise. Increasing the number of different job functions employees can perform strengthens an organization’s business continuity plan in the event employees are unable to fulfill their responsibilities due to illness, termination or retirement. Workforce mobility increases profitability; companies that are able to fill positions with existing resources can minimize hiring costs for new employees.
Human resources strategic objectives should include activities designed to improve employee engagement. Raising employee enthusiasm and creating excitement about employee contributions guarantee that employees become fully engaged. Measuring employee engagement may be a difficult task; however, the absence of employee engagement is easily observable. Employee disengagement manifests itself in terms of low productivity, poor performance and even workplace conflict. Supporting employee engagement efforts through polling employee views and opinions and providing competitive compensation and benefits packages also impact the company’s business reputation and reflect strong business principles.
Human resources professionals continually strive for a seat at the boardroom table as a member of executive leadership. Acceptance of HR leaders into this exclusive group usually depends on whether the return on investment in human resources activities justifies valuing human resources decision-makers as members of the executive team. Business acumen and forward-thinking business ideas and innovations are attributes executive leadership wants in its human resources professionals. HR department leaders seeking entry to executive level positions should enlist help from line management in performing routine human resources functions to so they can redirect HR goals from transactional and administrative to strategic. Shifting the human resources focus from transactional to strategic is an assuredly effective path to boardroom access.