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5 steps to drive HR strategy forward in times of change

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HR and People teams are no strangers to hard work. In fact, in
these unprecedented times, we know you’re working harder than ever to support your
organization in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, we all know the feeling of being often all too busy
focusing on the day-to-day job, especially in challenging times, that the
strategy can get forgotten, or just isn’t as relevant as it was.

It’s often too easy, too, to wrongly push your health and
wellbeing to the wayside, leading to a drop in productivity and in the worst
case, burnout.

Perhaps it’s time for a reset, or simply a realignment. So, what
can HR leaders do to drive strategy forward, all whilst maintaining
productivity and avoiding burnout? Here’s our five steps.

1. Be clear about where you are with your strategy

How’s
your strategy really shaping up?

Start
by taking a benchmark of where your company and your team is according to your
HR roadmap.

Think
of the ‘stop, start, continue’ approach. What hasn’t worked? What do you now
need to address? What do you want to achieve?

This
will help you to confirm any gaps, especially in light of any challenges you’ve
had since your strategy was last updated.

Talk it through with your team. Are you where you wanted to be with your strategy? Importantly, are your HR and People team where they wanted to be in addressing it? Which brings us to our second point…

2. Check you’re aligned to the rest of the business

If
you’ve decided that your strategy is no longer supporting what you want to achieve,
other teams in your organization are likely to be feeling the same way about
their strategy.

Speak
to the rest of the C-suite and understand what changes they’re making to their
respective strategy. Make sure you’ve reflected any updates in your
organization’s business strategy too.

Don’t
disregard the helpfulness of the business strategy in updating your HR
strategy. It’s not cheating – it’s making sure you’re aligned to the rest of
the organization and working towards a common goal.

Taking the pulse of the rest of the business will ultimately help you decide whether it’s a case of tearing up the strategy and starting again, or re-working it to address the changes happening in your organization.

3. Adapt the HR and People strategy if you need to

Your
original HR and People strategy may still be valid and relevant on the whole
but it’s important to check that you’re still in line with what you want to
achieve as a function.

However,
there really is no harm in changing it if, unfortunately, certain aspects of
your strategy are no longer possible or no longer aligned to the rest of the
business.

If, in
the wake of Covid-19, your priorities have changed or if you have a remote
workforce, it may not be relevant to update your HR strategy considerably.

For
instance, you need to move forward on wellbeing initiatives, or review all
policies in line with the shifts happening in the way you work.

Once you’ve identified what might need to change, check in with each member of your HR team, either as a group or individually, to discuss it. Do they agree with the shift in approach? If not, is there anything that’s being overlooked? It’s important to make sure the team is on the same page.

4. Set new or updated goals and objectives for your team – both short and long term

To
succeed in delivering against your strategy in times of change, your HR team
will need clear goals and objectives.

If
you’ve decided to amend the way you do things, it’s likely that your team’s
goals and objectives might need some amending too.

For
example, if your team were focused on driving office-based experiences and now
the majority of your employees are working remotely, then it’s likely you’ll
want to adapt your approach so that it’s more inclusive.

As the
function who encourage development and goal setting, you’ll also be no
strangers to what you need to do to act on your vision, but be mindful of the
need for both short and long-term goals.

Particularly
in difficult times, employees can often fall into extremes of feeling either
completely overworked or under-utilized and HR teams are no different.

Reasonable
timeframes and open conversations with each team member about the changes will
highlight what is reasonable and fair to expect. It’ll help your team to stay
on track and productive.

5.
Don’t forget about your HR team’s wellbeing

The
final but most important thing for you, as an HR and People leader, is to
ensure your HR team feel supported through change.

At the end of the day, your HR team are still employees. Don’t let them fly under the radar when it comes to employee stress and burnout.

Whether it’s supporting your team to avoid burning the midnight oil, or making sure they’re not inundated with additional work brought up by employees or other departments, the wellbeing of your team is imperative.

Be sure
to check in regularly to see how they are feeling, to ask if they need help
with anything and give them the opportunity to raise any concerns they have.

 

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