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Business Strategy and HR functions

As HR professionals do we truly understand how to ensure HR strategies are effectively used so that our human capital achieves organizational goals that result in a sustained competitive advantage. In a time where there are so many external and internal challenges that can adversely impact organizational success many HR professionals are still functioning in a reactive posture instead of being strategic. Consider the core resources that any organization relies on to achieve organizational, divisional, and department goals: finance, plant/physical, human capital, and organization. Is it by chance that HR is responsible for two out of four of those core resources – human capital and organization? HR professionals are critical to the success of any organization; however, we need to effectively demonstrate our value and worth from a strategic perspective. If HR is not at the table when key decisions are made, we will remain in a reactive posture instead of a proactive and strategic one. A strategic posture will enable us to effectively ensure that goals and objectives are achieve that result in a sustained competitive advantage.


HR professionals regardless of job title must understand that it is our responsibility to perform four roles: functional expert, strategic partner, employee advocate, and capital developer. The way we do this is by ensuring that no matter which function we are responsible --become subject matter experts. Doing so, will make our internal clients understand the value that we bring to their area of responsibility. This will position us to become strategic partners and a viable resource at the table when decisions are made. Being at the table can ensure not only short-term needs and goals are met but to provide strategies that impact long-term goals as well. As strategic partners our input is valued and needed which will allow us to be employee advocates able to impact goal achievement, create and maintain a culture that aligns 

with our mission, as well as ensure legal compliance. Regardless of your functional area or job title HR will be viewed as a critical component to organizational success that will enable us to effectively lead the organization in human capital development.


I believe that a strategic HR department has a direct impact on organizational success as well as a sustained competitive advantage. This is done by HR professionals ensuring that we have a comprehensive understanding of an organization’s foundation, business level strategy, develop HR strategies in alignment, and labor orientation (a workforce with specific characteristics that align with the other strategies aforementioned). An acute understanding of the vertical alignment of these strategies will ensure that HR functional strategies created will impact overall organizational success and a sustained competitive advantage.


Organizational foundation is a composition of Mission is the purpose and reason for the organization’s existence and drives all organizational strategy, Vision denotes were the company sees itself in the future (drives goals and objectives), Philosophy identifies critical stakeholders that add-value to goal achievement, Values are the guiding principles that drive and influence ideas, attitudes, and behaviors of employees and other stakeholders, and Culture is the fit and feel; esthetics of an organization. The business level strategy is the primary strategy used by an organization to exist in a single market, HR strategy denotes how an organization will utilize it human capital (develop from within or buy) and the labor orientation denotes the characteristics of an organization’s workforce.


As an HR professional or business owner have you considered what type of impact you are making on the organization’s ability to gain and sustain a competitive advantage? If it’s been a while, today is a good day to do so!

Jacqueline Cook
Saturday, October 26, 2019