HR Union Summary and Research.

Changes in the professional world.

Strategic HR/strategy alignment and competencies.

Leadership and management.

Strategy management and planning.

Strategic formation and implementation.


Changes in the Professional World

  • Work in small groups and identify five changes in the professional world in the past 5 to 10 years.
  • Identify one positive and one negative implication of each change from an HR perspective.
  • Record your changes and select a speaker from your group to present your findings to the large group.


Strategic HR Defined

Strategic HR increases an organization’s ability to achieve its vision, mission and strategic objectives. This is done by developing (not in a vacuum) HR strategies (initiatives) that align with the organization’s direction.


Strategic HR

What does it mean to be strategic from an HR standpoint?


How Can this Be Done?

  • One or more HR professionals (leaders) are involved in the organization’s strategic planning efforts (best-case scenario).
  • HR will develop a strategic plan to support the overarching plan.
  • HR is asked to lead strategic planning for the organization.
  • HR is asked to find a professional to lead strategic planning for the organization.
  • HR is an advocate for strategic planning so the organization has a foundation to develop its plans.


Effective HR Leaders

Identify someone you believe is an effective HR leader. Then identify someone you believe is a marginal HR leader.

Identify the attributes and characteristics of each. Why would you want to work or not want to work with them in the future?

Work in small groups. Share your examples and create a list that shows marginal leadership characteristics and best leadership characteristics.


HR Competencies

HR Professional



Professional &





Ability to Manage

and/or Lead Change

Noe, R. A., Hollenbeck, J. R., Gerhart, B., & Wright, P. M. (2000). Human resource management: Gaining a competitive advantage (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Irwin McGraw-Hill


HR Leaders

How do you differentiate between

HR leaders and HR managers?


Managers and Leaders

“Management is responsible for maintaining order; leadership is responsible for producing change or movement.”

Kotter, J. P. (1990). What leaders really do. Harvard Business Review, May-June, p. 103-11.


Managers and Leaders

In addition to Kotter’s definition, Bennis provides the following for differentiating between managers and leaders:

  • Managers administer; leaders innovate.
  • Managers maintain; leaders develop.
  • Managers control; leaders inspire.
  • Managers have a short-term view; leaders, a long-term view.
  • Managers ask “how” and “when”; leaders ask “what” and “why”.
  • Managers accept the status quo; leaders challenge it.

Bennis, W. G. (1989). On becoming a leader. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.


Leadership Defined

Northouse defines leadership as a process. Leadership involves influence; leadership occurs within a group context; leadership involves goal attainment. Based on the previous construct, Northouse further defines leadership as “a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.”

According to Bennis, leaders tend to share some, if not all, of the following three characteristics: they establish a guiding vision; they have passion; and they act with integrity. Bennis further defines leadership as “a process by which an agent induces a subordinate to behave in a desired manner.”

Bennis, W. G. (1989). On becoming a leader. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Northouse, P. G. (2001). Leadership: theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.



Consensus is a decision that all team members can support. It may be–but is not necessarily–the alternative most preferred by all members. When true consensus is reached through a process in which everyone participates, the output is usually a superior quality decision. Moreover, it is a decision having widespread acceptance and support for implementation. Most important, team members are motivated to see the decision through to completion (Brilhart and Galanes, 1989).

Brilhart, J. K., and Galanes, G. J. (1989). Effective Group Decisions.

Dubuque, IA: William C Brown Publishers. p. 201-203.



Involvement is a key leadership practice to ensure you facilitate ownership and gain commitment and involvement. It results in better decisions before moving forward with valuable organizational resources.

Know who to involve, when, how much, how often, etc. Each situation is different but before moving forward with a strategic initiative, be sure you have laid a foundation for success.


What is Strategic Planning?

A strategic plan is a road map to lead an organization from where it is now to where it would like to be.

Strategy formation is a set of processes involved in creating or determining the organization’s strategies.

Strategy implementation are the methods by which strategies are operationalized or executed.

Griffin, R. W. (2002). Management (7th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.


Strategic Planning

Clarify or develop a vision, mission and values.

Conduct a SWOT analysis.

Identify four to six key focus areas.

Develop strategic goals.

Create action plans.

Develop a follow-up process and communication plan.


Two Constructs to Consider

Operational Effectiveness – Is your organization performing similar activities better than your competitors?

Strategic Positioning – What actions can your organization take to distinguish itself from competitors? What does your organization consider to be its competitive differentiators in the marketplace?

Note: It is important to have clarity on these concepts before starting the strategic formation process because they provide a guide as the organization develops strategic initiatives.

Porter, M. (1996, November–December). What is strategy? Harvard Business Review, 74(6), 61–78.


Strategic Plan and Vision

A strategic plan is a road map to lead an organization from where it is now to where it would like to be.

A vision is an engineer’s rendering of the achievement of that map.

HR should have a supporting vision and strategic plan as well; there must be alignment.



A vision is a depiction of what you would like your organization and HR department to be like in the future.

A vision statement is a brief explanation (one or two sentences) with some explicit commentary about why the vision is desirable.

Vision statements should be more than slogans. They are a distillation of your organization’s values, dreams and priorities.


Characteristics of an Effective Vision

Imaginable: Conveys a picture of what the future will look like.

Desirable: Appeals to your long-term interests and the interests of other stakeholders.

Feasible: Has realistic, attainable goals.

Focused: Is clear enough to help guide decision-making.

Flexible: Is general enough to allow for individual initiative and alternative responses in light of changing conditions.

Comprehensible: Is easy to communicate; can be successfully explained within five minutes.

Kotter, J. (1996). Leading Change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.


Vision Activity

Step one – Work in small groups of three to four students and answer the following questions:

How do you want your HR department to be different or what kind of department do you want to become?

What role do you want the HR department to play in the organization?

If you could create the organization of your dreams, what would it look like and what affect would it have on your stakeholders in 2009?


Vision Activity

Step two – Write a metaphor for success.

The intent is to stretch your mind and think of different ways to view success.

For example:

“Our organization is like a mariachi band…all playing the same music together.”



Effective mission statements include the following elements:

The concept of your organization.

The nature of your business.

The reason your organization exists.

The people you serve.

The principles and values under which you intend to operate.


Sample Mission Statements

XYZ is committed to delivering exemplary, compassionate and professionally rewarding internal medicine care to patients with complex multi-system diseases.

XYZ’s HR department is committed to providing professional, progressive and strategic human resource leadership to all stakeholders.

XYZ’s HR department provides the organization with people, policies, processes and practices that best support a flow of talent capable of meeting businesses’ needs.



Values are the essential and enduring tenets of an organization–the guiding principles that have a profound effect on how everyone in the organization thinks and acts.


Types of Values

Core values are the values applied in daily choices. For example, a core value might be honesty; you act on it when you consistently tell the truth and are frank and open with people.

Inspirational values are the values you want more of in your life. A good example might be to achieve better work/life balance. If you are not actively working on it, develop strategies about how to achieve it.


Why Values?

Why is it important to identify and articulate values?

Values create alignment and drive behavior. They provide a framework to help make decisions, prioritize actions and interact with each other.

Articulating values is a representation of the organization to the outside world…your stakeholders.


SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool used to evaluate strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. A SWOT analysis informs the goal-setting process and provides a context for future strategic planning discussions.

Strengths and weaknesses are internal to an organization.

Opportunities and threats originate from outside the organization.


A Sample SWOT Analysis Matrix





Strengths High-quality employees. Strong, committed HR staff. Good reputation in the organization. Location (close to our stakeholders). Good rapport with other departments. Work well as a team. Good technical competence and tools.Weaknesses Vagueness of role in our acquisition strategy. Lack of data or measurements. Poor communication. HR partner bandwidth. The volume of HR initiative on the table. Compensation design and benefit program.
Opportunities Stability in leadership. Expansion of services. Referral centers. Integrate talent management systems. Secure new talent via our merger. Further develop our self-service model.Threats Budgetary constraints. Stagnation/complacency. Turnover/leadership changes. Rising health care costs. Internal conflicts & overworked employees. Marketplace uncertainty.


Key Focus Areas

Key focus areas are the areas in which the organization will focus its attention in the next 1-3 years.

Leaders should assign ownership of each key focus area and identify objectives and action plans. From an HR perspective, key owners could be HRD managers, compensation specialists, HR regional directors, etc.

Note: Ensure consensus on 4-6 key focus areas. This will increase the likelihood of cross organizational support.

Kusy, M., & McBain, R. (2000). Putting real value into strategic planning: Moving beyond never-never land! Organization Development Practitioner, 32(2), 22.


Sample Key Focus Areas

Employees: XYZ Corporation will proactively attract and retain a committed and qualified professional staff to meet our clients’ needs.

Programs: The HR department will define HR IT systems and programs to streamline processes and better serve our stakeholders.



  • Specific: Is the statement clear and concise?
  • Measurable: Is the statement quantifiable?
  • Attainable: Is the statement realistic?
  • Reasonable: Can it be accomplished under current conditions and with current resources?
  • Time Specific: Does have a completion date?
  • Stretch: Does it require the employee to develop new skills or stretch their current abilities?


Sample SMARTS Goals

  • By June 15, reduce the average human resource service center response time by 15 percent.

Performance measure: Response time.

  • Develop and communicate an organization-wide total rewards and value proposition by May 1.

Performance measure: A plan with strategies, action steps and measures that starts in late May.

  • Conduct two formal manager feedback sessions every three months and use the feedback to develop a written report with recommendations to improve the organization’s talent acquisition process.

Performance measure: A written report that summarizes results and includes recommendations based on customer feedback.


Implementing Strategy

Ensure that leaders can communicate the plan and manage performance.

Assign ownership of key focus areas and goals.

Establish interim debrief sessions with owners and measure the progress.

Acknowledge and make success visible.

Link strategic goals and values to the performance systems.

Manderscheid, S., & Kusy, M. (2005). How to Design Strategy With No Dust—Just Results!

Organization Development Journal, 23(2), 62-70.


Emergent v. Intended Strategies

An intended or deliberate strategy is an intended plan which is then realized.

An emergent strategy is a set of actions or behavior that is consistent over time; a “realized pattern [that] was not expressly intended” in the original planning of strategy.

Most strategies involve a bit of both. A pure deliberate strategy requires that the outcome was realized totally as intended (unlikely). An emergent strategy typically incorporates consistent actions that will have some intentionality.

Mintzberg, H. (1994). The rise and fall of strategic planning. New York: The Free Press.



Questions or Concluding Comments?

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