Define expectations and be amazed by the results

An effective human capital strategy will optimize the contributions that employees can make to your organization’s bottom line.

It will ensure the right people are in the right place at the right time to sustain the business as it evolves and grows. It must be owned by the board and senior management, and define clear performance expectations and a scorecard to measure the success of all initiatives.

If properly written, it can be a compelling road map for all to follow.

So what’s involved?

Leaders must have clarity around current strategic objectives and the forecast of future areas of focus. Each line of business leadership must understand the job skills and competencies needed in the workforce to meet those objectives and address those future focus areas. They must also ensure that employees are hired or developed to maximize on-the-job performance.

In developing and leading an effective human capital strategy, it is equally important to understand the culture of the organization regarding learning and development, talent management, performance management and career development.

The first step

Getting employees off to a good start is critical.

This includes a system for initial training and development, as well as helping new employees to gain a sense of belonging through mentoring and peer coaching. Additionally, you need to set clear expectations and clarity around goals and objectives, ensuring alignment with employees’ initial job understanding and work satisfaction.

Sustaining performance is another key element. This includes ongoing performance feedback, coaching and ensuring high engagement through effective work assignments.
Employees want to know their career trajectory.

Leaders can target highly competent employees to build and maintain relationships over time, which helps these employees to feel valued and thus less likely to leave the organization.

Promptly addressing performance problems is critical. In a culture of collaboration and engagement, this will minimize conflict and give employees the right message about how they are valued.

Work to retain

You need a robust program for high potentials and successors to retain your top talent. Senior leaders must have a clear vision here and provide ongoing opportunities for leadership development and enhancement with future roles in mind.

A clear vision around diversity is another key part of a human capital strategy. This not only includes race and gender, but all the ways employees are different. Research has clearly shown that a highly diverse workforce leads to consistently higher profits.

The culture of the organization must demonstrate a strong commitment to diversity in real ways, and these efforts must be transparent.

With feedback, results must be openly discussed and clear improvement actions must evolve from what is learned. Employees will quickly disengage and not trust leaders who do not listen and do not promptly respond to concerns raised.

A compelling human capital strategy will evolve over time. A three-year plan can help you establish clear direction and a process for measuring outcomes. Adjustments can always be made, but unless there is a strong commitment to these efforts, they will fall short of what is needed.

The war for talent is heating up. Leaders must make these efforts a high priority. ●