“Human Resources isn’t a thing we do, it is the thing that drives our business.” This quote speaks to a significant shift in mindset that has been taking place during the last 10 to 15 years in the field of Human Resources.
Prior to this momentous shift, when most people thought of Human Resources they would think of employee benefits and compliance with Federal and State Laws.
However, with the growing labor shortage and battle for talent taking place across every industry, organizations have come to recognize the two personalities of HR.
The first personality of Human Resources is the traditional or tactical component that as described above focuses on employee benefits and compliance. The tactical HR component is typically the first of the two personalities that is implemented into an organization as it is started and grows.
The second personality of Human Resources is the strategic component also called organizational or talent development. This strategic HR component focuses on creating an employer of choice culture through leadership and team development and talent recruitment, hiring and retention.
Human Resources is unique from other positions in a company in that the behavioral style and skills necessary to excel in strategic versus tactical HR are quite different.
Tactical HR requires a heavier detail orientation to manage complicated employee benefits programs and understand numerous regulations and laws.
Strategic HR requires more of a visionary and outgoing style that leads the development and execution of a plan to become the employer of choice in your industry.
Having both the strategic and tactical component of Human Resources is essential to attract and retain the talent needed to dominate your industry in today’s competitive marketplace.
To overcome the two unique personalities of Human Resources, larger organizations can support having two or more positions in the department to ensure that they have team members with both skill sets. They just must make sure they hire the right skill set for each position.
However, small to medium-size organizations struggle to implement both the strategic and tactical Human Resource positions because of the significant financial investment to have both skill sets. I have had countless discussions with company owners/leaders that have the tactical HR component in place but struggle to figure out how to implement just some of the fundamentals of strategic Human Resources. They recognize they need strategic HR to continue to grow their organization but struggle to envision how to do it.
One of the common discussions I have with leaders is about what are the greatest challenges facing their organization right now. Almost every discussion leads to identifying one of their top struggles as attracting and retaining the talent needed to grow their business.
To accomplish that, they recognize the need for strategic and tactical HR, but their limited options include the following:
•Stick with tactical HR and attract and retain talent through attractive employee benefits.
•Implement some aspects of strategic HR through outsourcing.
•The company leader gets the training to implement the fundamentals of strategic HR by becoming the Shepherd of the Talent of the organization.
Based on their specific situation we see organizations choose any one of these options. Sticking with tactical HR is a safe decision, but the company will often struggle to attract enough of the right talent. Outsourcing your strategic HR is certainly a viable option. However, that can be cost prohibitive and can be ineffective and inconsistent in the long term if the outsourced talent is not full time. That is why it’s important to offer training for the company leader to fulfill some of the essential strategic Human Resource functions and become the shepherd of the company’s talent. The leader is ultimately responsible for building a high-performance team, so becoming a student of behavioral sciences and the talent management processes is a natural fit for their position.
In many situations, the company leader will lead the development of the strategic HR component until company growth enables them to hire this skill set.
Focusing on both strategic and tactical Human Resources will lead to higher talent retention levels, a vibrant culture of growth and development, higher sales and profits to name a few.
Hiring and keeping a top-notch workforce is becoming increasingly difficult in today’s job market. It is vitally important for you to recognize the differences between tactical and strategic HR and lead your organization in how to excel at both to “Build the Team to Achieve Your Dream.”
Steve Van Remortel, president of Advisors Inc., is a professional speaker, strategist, adviser, and author of Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream.