The human element of strategic planning


Any company developing a strategic plan can get caught up in the facts, figures and end goals, without really considering the framework for its efforts. While identifying where the company is heading and what it needs to get there is one thing, it’s people that really drive change.

Consequently, finding the right personnel, or adapting current employees, is a must when it comes to aligning strategic goals with the business as it exists now. How can this be done? In short, through better connecting the human resources (HR) department and decision makers.

The weight of decisions

A CareerBuilder survey of 80 executives in companies with over US$50 million turnover suggested that 65 per cent of CEOs believe HR decisions are now more important to the direction of the enterprise than those made by senior management.

The reason behind this trend? Entrepreneur explained that this is predominantly due to the amount of data the HR department holds about the company. Not only does it contain details of what’s expected of each employee, the department can also identify how the human capital all fits together.

Human resource or strategic planning?

Many have considered human resource planning and strategic planning as two different things, but streamlining them together is where the real skill – and benefits to the business – lie.

In most cases, a plan for the future will include provisions for expansion. Naturally, growth will require more people, and those need to be identified as soon as possible. If the HR department can carry out this task with wider organisational aims in mind, they may be able to help the company meet them.

Ultimately, HR and strategy have always been closely linked. The best businesses ensure that the two work together in harmony and align the needs of both in pursuit of better long-term outcomes.