What Is Strategic HR Management? Do I Need It?

Strategic Human Resources Management takes Human Resources beyond reactively addressing employee and managerial concerns and instead aligns its goals with the broader mission of the business. Read more from the experts here.

HR Managers, Executives
Oct 2023

The field of Human Resources moves quickly, and in this fast-paced industry, strategic HR or Strategic HR Management (SHRM) has evolved to become a powerful resource for organisations looking to best enable their employees to drive business objectives. 

Strategic HR aims to align HR departments with a greater business vision and make decisions within the organisation's executive goals framework. Whether you are new to HR and looking to learn more or an executive wanting to empower their workforce, understanding strategic HR and its benefits is key.

While some might view HR as simply an administrative department tasked with tactical objectives such as recruitment, employee complaints and disciplinary actions, it plays an integral part in fostering a thriving workplace culture. By transitioning HR from focusing on administrative duties to becoming a strategic driver of success, it can become a more valuable component of any business.

What is strategic HR management?

Strategic Human Resources Management takes Human Resources beyond reactively addressing employee and managerial concerns and instead aligns its goals with the broader mission of the business. Strategic HR takes a proactive approach to optimising productivity and organisational performance. 

This change in thinking can impact a broad set of HR responsibilities such as hiring, talent development, performance management and more. Strategic HR is an elevated approach to what might be considered ‘traditional HR’, for example, instead of just managing job descriptions and applications, strategic HR may consider an approach to workforce planning. 

Alternatively, instead of managing workplace conflict when it arises, a strategic HR approach may be to deploy feedback opportunities, understand the root cause and establish an engagement & employee relations strategy. 

Strategic HR is for the long-term benefit and view of an organisation. This is not to say that other HR responsibilities are not also going to serve the company (think, onboarding and performance management), but strategic HR management is the difference between day to day work and progression. It can be the driving force of business goals, inform business decisions and be the start of creating a modern workplace that serves all stakeholders, including your most important resource. 

What is the difference between strategic HR and traditional HR?

As we have already touched on, traditional and strategic HR are related but serve different functions within a Human Resources department. Traditional HR aims to handle the day-to-day requirements of a business' Human Resourcing needs. This can include payroll, hiring, compliance, disciplinary actions, redundancies, and maintaining overall HR foundations. It is, in many ways, a reactive way to address urgent and necessary tasks within a business.

While all departments can struggle with creating a balance between actioning the day-to-day operational requirements of a business with long-term strategic plans, HR can often be pigeonholed into only acting reactively.

Strategic Human Resources management can often be ignored in favour of 'putting out fires' within a business. Not only is this a missed opportunity, it’s the wrong perception to have. At HumanX, as your outsourced partner or consultant, we would challenge you to think beyond this - to strive to deliver a better working environment for everyone. 

Strategic HR aims to pursue a long-term, high-impact vision for the future of a business' employees. By building a great workplace culture, a company can attract top talent. By investing in existing staff through effective talent development, a business can reduce retention and improve morale.

An experienced HR manager understands the necessity and long-term benefits of implementing strategic Human Resource management. If that skillset can't be found within a business, outsourcing to an HR consultancy such as HumanX is a cost-effective way to build strategic HR in your business operations. HumanX specialises in a hands-on and human-centric approach that engages your team and drives real value for your business.

What are the core objectives of strategic HR?

Strategic HR is driven by several core objectives. The priority of each and how they are implemented depends on the business and its internal goal set; however, each objective aims to improve a business' performance and workplace culture.

Managing and improving performance

Strategic Human Resources Management aims to improve employee performance by providing better reporting and clearer KPI structures and communicating and celebrating internal successes.

Enhancing workforce development

Strategic HR focuses on finding and addressing skill gaps within existing staff and finding solutions through hiring and training. This holistic approach aims to elevate the organisation's competencies through several strategies.

Managing workplace culture

Strategic Human Resources management actively creates a positive workplace culture that aligns with business objectives and employee needs. By going beyond cliche pizza parties, SHRM aims to create a rewarding work environment through transparency, open communication, clear enforceable policies and engagement initiatives.

Improving retention

Retention is a key performance indicator for any HR department — however, for strategic HR, it's a core objective to attract and keep high-quality talent through appropriate compensation, incentives and benefits programs.

Boosting productivity

Ultimately, all objectives aim to improve productivity by building an engaged and aligned workforce. An organisation is primed to succeed with a positive workplace culture, aligned strategy and better performance management.

Want To Better Understand the Impact of HR On Your Business? 

HumanX are here for it. Literally.

We’ve got several articles on the role of HR, the data it can arm a business with and how your organisation can thrive.

If you already believe in the benefits of strategic Human Resources management, but aren’t sure on a way forward, you can check out articles on working with a HR business partner or what a HR consultant can do for you. After that, get in touch with our team. 

HumanX is equipped with proven methods to guide you in achieving a strategic HR framework that retains valued employees and positions your organisation for sustainable success and growth. With our experience in traditional and strategic HR practices, we understand the subtle nuances that differentiate between a good and exceptional workplace.

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