Monday 22 June 2009

Developing an HR Business Plan / Strategy



“Errol, can you please send me the template as well...”


I’ve been keeping myself entertained over the last week by keeping an eye on the developing list of people asking for a copy of an ‘HR business plan template’ on HR Toolbox (over 60 requests in 2 threads so far).

I just really don’t understand what these people think they’re going to get, or how they think they’re going to benefit from having it. 

The key to developing a ‘HR business plan’, by which I presume they mean a people management strategy, or possibly, the HR function plan that supports this, is understanding the process involved in creating this document effectively, including involving the right people in developing it, planning for the change management requirements etc, etc.

Simply looking at a list of headings and sub-headings tells you very little.  If anything.  Unless they are clear about the strategy development process first.

I’ve had the same issue a couple of times in my wider consulting when clients have asked for an example or template of a report or something I’ve developed before.  Well, yes, I have, and if that’s what my client wants, that’s what I’ll give them, but I don’t honestly think it’s going to be of any use.  And I don’t use templates myself as I think they limit rather than support my thinking.  I’d much rather just develop something bespoke for the particular project that I’m working on.

I think it’s something about wanting to short-cut their thinking – and hoping that having a template will save them from having to do any further work.  I don’t think it will.

If people / organisations want to develop sound, valuable people management strategies there are no short-cuts, and if they don’t know how to do it, I’d recommend, that when the opportunity is provided, they take the opportunity  to work with other practitioners / consultant who’ve done this sort of thing before, and in the meantime, attend courses*, and read books and blogs such as this one, focusing on strategic HR.

I think they’ll find these much more valuable inputs.



*  A good example is the Human Capital Institute (HCI)’s Human Capital Strategist (HCS) programme, which I deliver for them in the UK and Europe.  In the Master HCS programme, we do give people a copy of a template – but it’s only useful because they’ve attended three days of training, looking at how a human capital plan is developed, first.





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