By Sherri Merbach
In a world of uncertainty and shifting priorities, the starting point for your human resource strategy remains the same. Your HR strategy for 2021 begins with your business strategy. While the secret is that the process is the same, those strategies may be changing a little — or more likely, a lot.
The elements of your HR strategy during 2021 will likely be different than in 2020. The process to develop it must begin with a clearly defined business strategy, which is usually developed by an organization’s senior leadership team or strategy team. It is critical that human resources has a seat at the table to both contribute to the strategy discussions and deeply understand it in order to work with those same executives to develop the HR strategy plan. Almost every business strategy has people implications.
HR leaders in a recent Gartner study indicated their top priority was building critical skills and competencies. Changes in the business, such as downsizing or rapid growth — depending on your industry — mean employees are in new roles. These new roles require them to take on unfamiliar responsibilities and can involve working in different ways, including virtually. Data shows that the total number of skills required for a single job is increasing year over year by 10%. And 33% of the skills that were present in an average job posting in 2017 won’t be needed by 2021.
While the functions of HR — including Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Training and Development, People Relations, Compensation and Benefits, and Rewards and Recognition — remain relatively consistent, the most important one to focus on for 2021 for your organization may be different from 2020. The key is to align all the functions of HR in a way that enables the business strategies to achieve business outcomes. A good exercise is a critical look at the HR functions to identify what needs to be focused on, i.e., added to HR’s strategy. Other functions will need to change to achieve the 2021 business strategy. And what can be the hardest part is ending HR tasks that no longer add value so you can redeploy those resources to the HR areas that matter most in achieving the business strategy. This means that the HR team also needs to develop new critical skills and competencies.
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