The “safe” approach is to give the Business Strategy and then the HR Strategy to the HR Leadership. However, it is a big mistake!
One of the key findings globally is that in these companies top management do not just support the HR / Talent strategy: they own it! They recognize that it is a key element in executing their business strategy.By having HR design and then “sell” the HR strategy to the business afterwards is a mistake for a number of reasons:
• It quickly becomes “HRs” strategy with superficial support at best and at worst it is completely ignored.
• The thinking that resulted in the final product has not been experienced by Exco and therefore there is little deep understanding of how the end state was arrived at and why this was the case
• It tends to happen in isolation and is designed by an HR team who inevitably see the business through an HR lens rather than a business lens
Hence, the connection to the business strategy is seldom as rigorous as it should be.
One of the most common problems is the lack of understanding that the Talent
Strategy of the business and the Strategy of the HR function are two totally different things. Yet they get fused into a single outcome, once again reinforcing the ownership of the strategy by HR.
The organisations HR / People strategy has to be owned by Exco! The strategy of the HR function is about how the HR function will position itself to contribute to the execution of the People strategy of the business. It is about ensuring that the processes, HR professionals, technology, policies etc are in place to facilitate achievement of the People strategy.
Does this mean HR is side-lined in the design and execution of the people strategy? Not at all! HR has a key role to play in defining the context of the business environment as it affects human capital; guiding Exco towards the right decisions; and educating them about the implications of what they decide.
However, for HR to sit in isolation and try to sell the outcome of their strategy workshop to Exco later actually detracts from their key role of guiding and educating Exco and of ensuring that there is a rich conversation about the people issues.