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Dear Workforce What Should a Five-Year Recruiting Strategy Entail

Start with a big-picture overview. Then drill down to tactical actions.

September 7, 2011

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Dear Starting from Scratch:

Consider yourself fortunate. Your management team understands the importance of human resources in driving business strategy. Producing a great strategic staffing plan for human resources further supports your department’s credibility.

Human resources uses the same process to create its strategic plan as do other key departments--from marketing or finance to technology and operations. The human resources plan outlines the company’s people strategy, ensuring that you have the right people with the right competencies in the right jobs at the right time.

Start your plan with a big-picture overview. Then drill down into the tactical-action steps needed to achieve company objectives. Customize and personalize your plan, but remember to include the following main sections:

  • Environmental scan
  • Vision, mission and values
  • SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis

You conduct an environmental scan by highlighting relevant data and trends affecting the department. Demonstrate challenges to your company from four key factors: government influence, economic conditions, competition for talent and workforce demographics.

It’s also important to address your department’s vision, mission and values--key elements that provide directional guidance for the human resources department. A clearly stated mission and vision help support human resources’ credibility. A set of well-defined values affirms what is important in an organization’s culture and helps shape employee behavior.

To gain strategic insights, conduct a SWOT analysis. Seek answers to four basic questions, focusing on people implications:

  • What are your organization’s strengths?
  • What are your organization’s weaknesses?
  • What opportunities could you seize to move the organization forward?
  • What threats do you see that could hold the organization back?

Include in your SWOT analysis coverage of staff capabilities, benefit programs, employee services, facilities and technology, as well as the reputation of human resources within the organization. A SWOT analysis may identify critical needs to be addressed, or it may pinpoint unknown capabilities to leverage. Customize your plan to focus on any of the following human resources processes that will be critical to the company’s future success:

  • Organization structure
  • Competencies
  • Staffing
  • Retention
  • Succession
  • Diversity
  • Development
  • Rewards
  • Recognition
  • Quality of work/life

Once you’ve completed the SWOT analysis, establish long-term goals as well as short-term objectives, with milestones that can be accomplished within six months to a year. Each short-term objective will need an action plan and a budget.

Set up regular reviews of the human resources plan so you can stay at the front end of emerging trends and address unforeseen issues as they occur. Communicate results of the plan in measurable terms--such as budget and time--to keep your management team in the loop and engaged in people strategy, and to show a return on the company’s investment.

SOURCE: Patsy Svare, managing director, The Chatfield Group, Glenview, Illinois, May 20, 2004.

LEARN MORE:Strategic Human Resources Actions.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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