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Strategic HR management: 5 critical steps

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

If you think it’s important to have a business plan and strategic vision, you need a human resources (HR) plan, too. It’s just as critical – having a people strategy can make all the difference in building an engaged, successful workforce. If your HR department works only on tactical processes like payroll and time and attendance, you’re missing out on strategic HR benefits.

A solid HR strategy:

  • Gets your employees ready to execute strategy and goals

  • Helps prepare your staff and anticipates future HR needs

  • Prevents employee turnover and prepares leaders to make strategic hiring decisions

  • Includes a succession plan to limit disruptions

Tactical HR and strategic HR are both necessary for a company to reach its full potential. However, tactical HR must come first, because it makes hiring possible, train, pay, and manage employees. The following are ways to implement a full HR strategy.

1. Assess your current workforce

Your first step in strategic HR planning is identifying your current employees’ knowledge, skills and abilities. This includes evaluating your employees’ competencies, education levels training and certifications.

Consider their talents beyond their current jobs. You can pick up on less obvious talents by getting to know your employees through regular conversations.

Having a system to capture and archive your employees’ information makes keeping track of their talents easier and makes them feel more valued.

Ranking high in all categories, is a good predictive indicator that employees are ready to take on more challenges. If true, look for ways to challenge them in their current roles or in new roles.

2. Create employee development plans

A long-term HR program with a winning workforce makes a real impact, you can achieve this with an employee development plan. This creates a clear direction on how to increase their skills and advance careers. Follow these steps to make an employees’ development plan.

Consider your business goals

  • Talk to your employees

  • Decide what skills your employees need

  • Create an action plan

  • Apply the new skills in the workplace

It’s important that your company doesn’t neglect their current employees – especially top performers. Even high achievers, have room for improvement, and they still need development-focused attention.

3. Create a succession plan

With business growth comes change and you need to be prepared. A succession plan can help you minimize disruption by identifying critical roles and employees who have the skills to immediately assume positions, should someone leave.

Keep in mind that transparency eases anxiety and keeps your employees from imagining negative reasons for the changes and gives the opportunity to explain the “why” behind the change and how it may affect them.

4. Perform a gap analysis

A gap analysis helps you identify what resources your company has and what you’ll need in the future. When performing a gap analysis, you’ll assess your HR practices and infrastructure to determine where your company is falling short.

For example, some of your HR practices may be designed to fit where your company was five years ago, but don’t meet your needs today or where you plan to be soon.

When conducting a gap analysis, take a look at your:

Job descriptions

  • Employee handbook

  • Training programs

  • Health benefits

  • Sick days

  • Business performance

5. Decide how to increase resources for the future

As your business grows, so will your staffing needs. To find the best talent for your business, you must know whom you’re seeking.

Review the information you have gathered. Do you have enough people? Do they have the right skills to help you achieve your goals? You can better determine if you can promote from within or if you’ll need to recruit new talent.

As you think through staffing changes to come, consider common struggles that could make it difficult to recruit new employees:

  • Your current total rewards package

  • Upcoming technology changes or shifts

  • Your company culture is poor

Knowing these things can help you avoid recruiting roadblocks before they become a problem.

Time to develop an HR strategy

Remember: HR planning is an ongoing process. Your HR strategy should be reviewed regularly and updated as your organization changes. The key is to choose strategic initiatives that align with your company’s goals.

For more information about Insperity, please contact Tracy Burr -Insperity Business Performance Advisor at



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