10 Examples of a Successful HR Strategy

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Strategic HRM can have a huge positive impact on a business and yet it’s often undervalued or overlooked for the sake of cost, resources or priorities. But why is it so important?

According to Smartsheet, the greatest benefit of strategic HRM is also its purpose: to improve organisational performance by integrating and aligning with business strategy. Benefits seen from strategic planning include lower turnover, increased employee happiness and heightened productivity.

A well-defined HR strategy can help you achieve long-term business objectives, but every business is different – and no two plans are the same. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to transform your HR practices in order to see increased internal and financial performance, we’ve got your covered.

Here are 10 examples of what to consider when creating a successful strategy:

1. Purposeful hiring

Before you start implementing anything, look at recruitment. Once you know the company strategy, you know what needs to be done and what types of employees you need to achieve your objectives. Hiring the right candidate can be tricky, but it’s crucial that your recruitment function, interviewers and hiring managers know what to look out for.

While the ‘ideal candidate’ looks different for every role, aligning candidates against company values is a great way to assess their culture fit and working style. King, creator of Candy Crush Saga, is just one example of a company with clearly defined values: ‘How we work together determines what we can achieve,’ they state on their website. ‘Our values guide us every day in our work, in our decisions, and in our interactions with each other and our players.’

Aligning recruitment with your values is the first step towards assuring a workplace of like-minded people with common goals.

2. A good onboarding experience

A good employee onboarding experience is essential to any HR strategy. Hiring talent is an expensive process that can go to waste if time and effort is not invested into employee orientation. Indeed, people who had a negative new hire onboarding experience are twice as likely to seek a different opportunity in the immediate future, according to Digitate’s ‘Super CIO’ report.

Onboarding can often be overlooked as a priority, but first impressions count. Establishing a strong connection between the employee and the company values or mission is crucial for creating long-term engagement.

Voted the number one best workplace in Europe for three years running, Salesforce is leading the industry with employee experience. They onboard approximately 4,000 new hires each year with bootcamp, online learning resources and personalised orientation to ensure employees feel welcomed.

3. Frequent communication

Bringing the organisation together for an all-hands meeting is a great way to share updates, statistics and executive decisions. Patty McCord, the former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix is quoted as saying in an interview with Bob Sutton, a Stanford University professor and the best-selling author of Good Boss, Bad Boss - paid link, ‘The most important role I played at Netflix was, at the end of every executive meeting, to say “Have we made any decisions in the room today, and (if we have) how are we going to communicate them?”’.

Engaging with employees regularly will monitor ever-changing motivations and opinions but, more importantly, it will drive transparency and create an open forum for discussion. Employees want to know their thoughts and concerns can be voiced and listened to by leaders.

Every all-hands should have ample time for Q&As – and remember: don’t avoid the tough questions. Netflix strives to ‘share information openly, broadly, and deliberately’, and that includes the difficult conversations.

4. Growth opportunities

In their ‘2020 Retention Report’ (PDF), the Work Institute found that 78% of the reasons employees quit could have been prevented by their employer. Not only that, but career development has been the top cause of employee turnover for 10 straight years.

So, what’s the solution?

Promotion opportunities can’t be produced overnight. When ‘hard’ career advancements such as pay rises and promotions aren’t an option, ‘soft’ progression is essential. This means more responsibilities, projects and an increased role scope.

PwC, listed on Glassdoor as one of the top companies for career growth, provides its employees with ongoing career support from in-house career and guidance specialists. Everyone is allocated a dedicated ‘Career Coach’ who’s there to discuss performance, coaching and development.

You may not have the same budget to allocate as PwC, but it’s a clear example of the importance of development in the workplace – both hard and soft.

5. Competitive salaries

When it comes to hiring top talent, the market is extremely competitive. An attractive salary, in line or above market value, will go a long way in bringing prospective candidates through the door.

But there’s more to competitive salaries than just the initial appeal. When employees are paid well, they feel valued, secure and motivated – which, in turn, benefits the company’s retention rates and productivity.

In 2019, Credit Suisse was found to be the top highest-paying company in the UK, with a median base salary of £82,000 ($109,900). While it takes a multitude of incentives to retain employees, Credit Suisse are already reaping the benefits, with voluntary turnover at 9.8% in 2019 – down by 1.6% from the previous year and 5.2% lower than the national average.

6. Benefits packages

Standard employee benefits such as sick pay, holiday pay and pension contributions are expected – but the more attractive offerings of a benefits package will give candidates greater insights into the company culture and values.

2020 has seen large percentages of the workforce shift into a remote working landscape and, as a result, benefits must move in turn. Employees won’t care about the ping-pong table and beanbags if they can’t access them – instead, they’ll look for benefits that focus on health, wellbeing and flexibility. While Microsoft has a 24-hour Nurse Line available, Twitter has announced remote working is here to stay – a hugely attractive and market-driven benefit that will land top talent.

Acknowledge the importance of employee benefits, listen to your employee needs and analyse market demand to stand out against your competitors.

7. Social responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a self-regulatory business model that focuses on social, economic and environmental issues and can be hugely appealing to candidates and employees.

In a Glassdoor survey, 75% of those aged between 18 and 34 expect their employer to take a stand on important issues affecting the country and their constitutional rights, including immigration, equal rights and climate change.

When businesses adopt ethical practices such as carbon offsetting or charitable donation, they build employee trust, create a better work environment and serve as responsible role models in the industry. Global ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s support a wide range of issues from refugees to racial injustice – but if your business is new to CSR, start small and set short-term goals to build momentum.

8. Transparency

Employees feel most invested when they have a clear vision of company goals and strategy. When a business is committed to transparency, they see increases in employee trust, productivity and innovation.

So, what can you do to become transparent?

Establish communication channels for the business to share information on revenue, performance and strategy, as well as for employees to ask questions and feedback. These could include all-hands meetings, newsletters or live Q&As.

Obtaining ‘OpenCompany’ status on Glassdoor like Hilton is also a great way of signalling to candidates that your business embraces workplace transparency. Not only that but it also provides increased profile exposure to ensure jobseekers can discover the opportunities you have available.

9. Employee wellbeing

The Mental Health Foundation believes addressing wellbeing and mental health at work increases productivity by as much as 12%. While most businesses would benefit from a dedicated EAP (short for ‘employee assistance programme’), there are other ways to keep in touch with employee wellbeing.

British Airways, Virgin Media, Samsung and more have turned to mental health platforms like Unmind to better measure, understand and improve the mental wellbeing of their employees.

Providing tools and resources such as mindfulness meditations, yoga flows and wellbeing questionnaires empowers employees to be their authentic selves. Platforms can also provide useful insights into the general wellbeing of your workplace, how you can better support employees and how the business is performing against its core values.

10. Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) often walks hand in hand with CSR. By committing to D&I, businesses promise to fight for equality, inclusion and a culture that welcomes all backgrounds. According to Glassdoor, 50% of employees want their current employer to increase diversity efforts.

Though diverse hiring is important, a D&I initiative can also be driven internally through workshops, education and calendar event celebrations. Employees want to see that companies are active advocates for communities, whether it be BAME or LGBTQ+.

Of course, there may be aspects of D&I that are more aligned to your company culture than others. Global tech company Accenture, for example, have long sponsored support group Girls Who Code in an attempt to triple the number of women in computing by 2025.

HR is centred around people. Though there are many aspects to building a successful HR strategy, they should all have one thing in common: an investment into the people that make a business.

What do you think makes a good HR strategy? Let us know in the comments below!

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