The Secret to Effective HR Strategy: Spring Cleaning

hr strategy discussion with benefits team

The following post was written by Jessica Hoylo, Director, Client Relations at Bright Horizons.

Last weekend, I put my favorite music on, rolled up my sleeves, and did some heavy spring cleaning.  I cleaned out every cabinet, vacuumed, and dusted out the cobwebs that have accumulated over the long Minnesota winter.  The end result was not only a clean house, but a cleared mind and spirit as well.  It's hard to deny that a thorough spring cleaning is as good for the soul as it is for the house. Since the cleaning made way for new space in my mind, I got to thinking about how many of us could benefit from spring cleaning at work as well.  I'm talking less about the physical cleaning of our office spaces... rather, more of an HR strategy "cleaning."

 Cleaning Up Your HR Strategy

Many HR professionals I work with have so much on their plates that they rarely have a chance to breathe, much less to pause for reflection.  So in large organizations, mid-managers sometimes feel like they're not privy to the 'whys' behind strategic decisions. Change is another constant; HR players and teams shift over time, leading to new strategy and direction. The business landscape also has peaks and valleys, and many organizations get makeovers via acquisitions and mergers.  It's no wonder that HR can feel overwhelmed and uncertain about how their benefits programs connect to larger business strategy. The problem is that lack of foundational knowledge the "whys" behind the employee benefits, how work/life programs support current HR and Organizational strategy can stunt our efforts to communicate benefits programs meaningfully and effectively.  It can also hinder us from measuring success: if we don't understand what specific business problem a benefit is trying to solve, we might not measure the right indicators. To that end, taking the time to dissect the "whys" behind your benefits is critically important.

Secrets of Successful Organizations

In my work, the most successful strategic HR planning comes from clients that can answer the following questions:

  • How does this benefit support my organization's mission and values?
  • How does this benefit support my current HR strategy?
  • What is the problem that this benefit can help solve?
  • Which metrics should we use to measure success?
  • What is our target audience and what is the most effective communication channel?

Why Answer These Questions?

If you don't know the answers to these questions, you may be a good candidate for an HR strategy clean-up!  The steps are simple: take the time to pause and reflect.  If you can't answer the questions above, find someone who can. Once you have this information, share it with your team and benefit partners. Clearing away the dust and cobwebs and making space to think strategically is not only good for your soul; it's also good for your organization.