The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

Aligning Human Capital with Strategy


At the very core, how your organization incorporates human capital and the human resources function is the first strategic analysis to provide leadership. Specifically, how can your organization utilize HR to drive their mission and strategic plans forward? HR will add strategic value by understanding the sales and production requirements that ensure you have the talent and bench strength to meet the future goals of your organization. Knowing where your organization is compared to budget on a regular basis will help you make decisions relating to vendor selection and staffing plans, which will impact the overall financial health of the organization.

At a recent training session of HR professionals in Chicago, the top issues discussed were common topics that we have struggled with for years. The interesting twist is that we saw a slant toward integrating these issues into the overall organizational strategy. The top HR leaders at the meeting wanted to talk about how to link HR activity with impact to the bottom line. The critical issues the HR executives asked the group to address at this meeting were:

  • Defining career progression so that the organization is able to attract and retain the best and brightest
  • Transforming HR responsibility so that the department is linked to tangible business results
  • Ensuring that employee training and development lives beyond the classroom
  • Cultural integration during mergers and acquisition

Human Resources has not left the traditional focus of recruiting, training, and company culture out of our programs. However, we are starting to see an expansion on the traditional. We see a desire for collaboration around a big-picture view of human resources that is required by our organization. Leaders are no longer focused on recruiting as a “fill the seat” activity. They are focusing on how recruiting can create long-term career paths for succession planning and ensure employee engagement for long-term retention.

HR and Management must work together to set strategic initiatives that meet leadership needs and ensure alignment with the organization. Create measurable goals for human resources that are meaningful within the context of goals for the organization. Understand the constraints of your organization, and be certain that the timeline you set is realistic. HR should work with the CEO to generate five to seven meaningful initiatives that will solve the issues keeping them up at night. Yes, all the other work has to be completed as well, but the strategic goals are those that are going to get HR noticed as a proactive, valuable addition to the organization.

To be part of the strategic team, HR needs to know the business. The leadership team will not be impressed with extensive HR knowledge. HR will have to stay current on the issues that are relevant to operations, sales, and finance. To do this, HR must understand the context in which each functional area exists. Having an understanding of the goals of each of the stakeholders in the business will be critical to your success. HR should be expected to understand where the financing comes from and be sure they are aligned with those interests as well. Embrace the business strategy in everything HR does.

The preceding blog post is excerpted from Lori Kleiman’s upcoming book, Taking Your SEAT at the Table, soon to be released. For more information, or to pre-order your copy click here!

Photo used under the following license.

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