People at the heart of strategy

Understanding (the behaviour of) our people is very often an area we neglect. We very often also forget that the success of our strategy heavily depends on our people.

This was one of the topics briefly discussed during the HR GIG 3 on Friday 5 April 2019. The HR GIG is an event organised by StreetHR, and for their third edition, we joined forces with them to discuss the topic of ‘Business Success: People at its Heart’.

People are not like any of our other resources. What people do, or believe, actually matters very much to the organisation’s direction. People’s behaviour shape our culture; our strategy.

If we understand the above-mentioned concept (i.e. that people shape our strategy), then we should also understand that we achieve business growth through our people. So, this brings me to the question: why aren’t organisations fully tapping into their employees’ growth and development through a people (or HR) strategy?

Our business strategy plan should by now also include targets related to your people. These may be staff turnover targets or employee engagement scores. These targets are equally important as our financial targets. Our priorities here should include HR aspects such as enhancing diversity or developing our people in particular soft skills.

The focus of most organisations should be on their people. In this day and age, we need people who are more efficient, agile and we need the best talent.

And this is why the role of HR as a strategic partner is ever so important. Unfortunately, the role of HR at board, thus on a strategic level, is still not elevated as much as we would like it to be.

This isn’t necessarily HR’s fault. While traditionally HR has played a support role, boards need to welcome HR to become an integral part of the strategic planning process. HR needs to influence the organisation’s strategy and decisions – with people at the heart of them.

About the author

Maria Bartolo Zahra is Managing Director and HR Advisor at SurgeAdvisory. She has over sixteen years of human resources and business advisory experience.