As a human resources professional, chances are you’re good with people.
Now, would you say the same about your organization as a whole? If so, you probably have a well-designed people strategy in place.
Managing people is both science and art. Employers must meet essential requirements, like ensuring employees are safe and paid on time. But to sustain a thriving workforce that drives business outcomes, companies also need to creatively attract, engage, retain, and develop the best-fit talent.
A people strategy is a blueprint to help HR practitioners and leaders build trust with candidates and employees, so the company has the workforce it needs now and in the future.
As with any blueprint, it’s good to start with the right foundation.
A people strategy connects business outcomes to employee experience by demonstrating your values in action. For example, if one of your business goals is to innovate and create new products, what does success look like for employees?
As with all business strategies, your people strategy is built on the foundation of your organization’s vision and mission. From there, an effective people strategy has four cornerstones:
Each cornerstone consists of strategies that, together, create a workforce who can uphold your values.
Before you start building, you need to install a sturdy floor to support that workforce. That’s where your HR strategy comes into play.
An HR strategy provides direction to the HR team so they can implement best practices across the employee lifecycle. It describes how HR delivers value to the business.
A people strategy outlines how HR — and the organization at large — delivers value to employees through personally and professionally rewarding experiences. Which then delivers value to the business.
When a strong HR strategy is implemented with a great people strategy, employees reward your company with loyalty. In turn, your company saves on recruitment costs, increases productivity, and leverages in-house expertise.
There’s plenty of research about employee experience and its impact on business outcomes. A people strategy helps you build a holistic experience that reinforces your values.
The potential results of a well-executed people strategy are far-reaching:
In her HR blog for Spotify, Katarina Berg explains how a people-first approach must be purpose-driven. She describes the company’s people strategy as a “complete package” consisting of:
How do you assemble these components into a cohesive — and executable — people strategy?
To create the people strategy that’s right for your organization, start by assessing the talent needs that align with your short- and long-term business goals. What gaps need to be filled to reach those goals? How will you find the right talent and keep them? And how will you future-proof your workforce so it’s resilient when inevitable change happens?
As you develop a people strategy, consider how it fits with your talent philosophy. A talent philosophy is your organization’s beliefs about talent management, including how performance is measured, how much to invest in leadership development, levels of transparency regarding employee career potential, and more.
Defining your talent philosophy with leadership brings consistency to how your organization approaches talent management. The tenets of your talent philosophy should be reflected in your people strategy to provide further alignment across the organization. This helps ensure your approach to talent management is holistic and reflects your company’s values and culture.
Determining what works best for your organization takes time and a little trial and error (i.e., evaluation and adjustment.) Your blueprint will never quite be finished, but that’s OK. You can continue to refine it even after construction begins.
Before we start building, we need to know our people strategy can support our values and business goals. That means it needs to be load-bearing and able to withstand outside pressures. What elements will ensure our people strategy is structurally sound?
The goal of your people strategy is to attract, retain, engage, and develop a workforce that will keep your company in business. Let’s look at some of the key structural elements that will help you activate your strategy.
Read More: Top 5 Talent Development Strategies
Your people strategy is built on the foundation of your organization’s unique vision. As you ladder up to your business outcomes, you’ll make the design choices that best reflect your values.
Take Paylocity, for example.
Everything we do is rooted in our shared values. They are our North Star, our guiding light. They drive how we make decisions, treat each other, and define success.
While we can’t give away all our secrets to being an award-winning employer of choice, here is an example based on Paylocity’s people strategy.
Keep in mind, your people strategy isn’t set in stone. It will evolve as your organization adapts to shifts in the labor market, not to mention unforeseen business disruptions. Even after the strategy has settled, you can always put on an addition or re-decorate!
Now that you’ve custom-designed your blueprint, it’s time to start building your people strategy. As with any construction project, having the right tools on hand makes the process go much more smoothly.
Luckily, here at Paylocity, we have the advantage of using our own solution.
Built-in communication and collaboration tools, along with in-depth human capital analytics, enable our HR team to drive connection across the company. Having the best HR technology at our disposal does more than make us a best place to work — it also lets us achieve accelerated growth and innovation.
See how a modern, flexible HR and payroll platform can help you improve employee experience across your organization and deliver a winning people strategy. Request a demo today.
To learn more about Paylocity’s people-first culture, check out our Careers page.
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