The success of any business will always be down to your people so make sure you know what makes your business tick, says Lizzy Firmin, chief operating officer at Ellisons Solicitors.
I’ve always believed an HR Strategy needs to be flexible and adaptable, as no business should be standing still for a long period of time. Recent times have certainly shown us this is the right approach to take, as the pandemic means we are in a very different HR world than we were three years ago.
The market has changed, attitudes have changed and technology now allows us to work in a variety of different ways and in different locations.
The best way to deliver an effective HR Strategy is to get to know the ‘ins and outs’ of the business. What makes it tick? What are the pressure points? What particularly concerns the CEO? How are the relationships doing, particularly amongst the leadership team?
The reactive role of HR really helps inform and develop that strategy. What kind of issues are brought to your attention as an HR professional? What questions do you get asked the most? What patterns or trends are you seeing in your day-to-day ‘operational’ role?
This is what informs your strategy. Not everything has to be about quantitative data or surveys; there is a balance to be struck between any KPIs your business is focused upon, and what you’re seeing and hearing in your role. Providing you’ve established good, strong relationships with your colleagues, the intel you can gather about a business from successfully delivering an HR service is vast.
Throughout the pandemic, and especially after the pandemic, people’s mindsets definitely shifted. People have reassessed what’s important to them; not just in relation to work but life in general. This means a significant focus on health, wellbeing, and balance for HR. Keeping colleagues healthy and productive is key to any business, so long hours stuck at a desk, with no lunch breaks, should be discouraged at every opportunity.
For example, here at Ellisons Solicitors, we are a very family orientated firm and I’ve seen this strengthen in recent years, despite our growth.
We have introduced enhanced family-friendly policies, but it’s also about colleagues being encouraged to regularly get together. A balance between remote working and being with your team is imperative. Also, celebrations are so important to ensure people feel appreciated – and to enjoy themselves!
Talking at length about our values and what it’s really like working here allows potential candidates to really decide if their values are similar to ours or not. This means we recruit the right people for us, and our values and culture only get stronger as we grow. We’re very clear on our identify and what we’re about, which is critical to a successful HR strategy.
It is a tough old market out there when it comes to recruitment, so HR Strategy needs to be focused on retention, and retention means flexible working practices, training and development, clear career progression, and fair and transparent reward that links to performance. It also brings the strength of your leadership team into sharper focus.
Different generations need different things to feel supported and productive at work, so well-trained managers who have the skills to adapt to their team and wtheir needs is critical.
In summary, to have a real business impact, HR Strategy is at the heart of your business strategy. It’s not an afterthought or an add-on. The success of any business will always be down to your people.