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10 Examples of Successful HR Strategies to Consider in 2024

Electra Michaelidou
Electra Michaelidou

Career and Lifestyle Writer

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

successful HR strategy example concept with desk and growth

A company’s human capital is considered its greatest asset. Without a team of people coming together daily and working towards a common goal, businesses would fail to be more than immaterial concepts.

As such, it’s in business leaders’ best interests to not only onboard talented people but to do everything in their power to retain their employees. After all, not only is replacing employees extremely costly, but the war for talent isn’t entirely over yet: the competition among organizations to attract top talent is still fierce, as job hopping has significantly lost its stigma.

At a time when strategic HR planning is fundamental to a company’s success, business owners and HR specialists alike must get creative and bold if they’re to turn any heads. In this article, we’ll look at some of the best HR strategies a modern employer can implement and how their success can be measured.

What is an HR strategy?

HR strategies are processes and methods that HR specialists create and implement to enhance employee performance and align their team’s efforts with the company’s objectives and mission. In simple terms, you could say that these strategies are a mechanism that’s deployed to keep staff happy and promote company success.

How to develop an HR strategy

Being methodical and allowing yourself plenty of time are essential when developing an HR strategy. Here are five steps that can help you get started:

Step 1: Define your vision

One of the ways companies differentiate themselves from the competition is by expressing a unique vision statement, which serves as a declaration of what the company aspires to achieve and become in the future. For example, Apple’s vision is “to make the best products on earth, and to leave the world better than we found it.”

Likewise, think of one or two sentences that encapsulate what you hope your approach to HR management can and should achieve.

Step 2: Outline your goals

Once you’ve defined your HR vision (which, for example, could sound like: “Foster a culture of support and innovation”), divide it up into objectives. How do you plan to bring your vision to life? What checkboxes must your team tick in order to do so? That’s how you’ll arrive at specific goals.

Step 3: Conduct a SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis means looking closely at internal and external factors to evaluate a company’s competitive positioning. These factors include its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. By analyzing each of these, you can harness your findings to carry out strategic planning.

Step 4: Conduct a gap analysis

A gap analysis entails comparing your company’s current performance with your desired performance. By identifying how far off your output is from what you need it to be, you can uncover important information in terms of where your resources, capital and tools are being underutilized. Only then can you remedy this!

Step 5: Rely on analytics

HR strategies shouldn’t rely solely on “having a hunch” about what would boost employee engagement, satisfaction and productivity. Pizza Tuesdays might put a smile on people’s faces momentarily, but in the long term, it isn’t going to solve your problems. When coming up with action plans, look at numbers!

10 examples of great HR strategies

HR strategies can be divided into categories, such as recruitment strategies and employee development strategies. Let’s look at 10 examples and why they work!

1. Structured onboarding

The onboarding process can reveal a lot more about a company than its managers and C-level executives might realize. That’s why it’s essential to create structured plans, such as 30-, 60- and 90-day objective checklists for new employees.

To create such a comprehensive onboarding experience for in-office and remote employees alike, consider using a learning management system like iSpring Learn. The platform provides endless possibilities for engaging, motivating, and training new hires for smooth assimilation and enhanced employee retention.

2. Targeted recruitment

A targeted recruitment strategy takes into account how and where a job opening is advertised. The more thought you put into it, the more likely you’ll be to find and attract your ideal candidate.

Much like with advertising a product, where you need insights into your target consumer’s identity and behavior in order to meet them where they’re at, targeted recruitment considers your ideal candidate’s characteristics to increase your likelihood of reaching them.

3. Employee resource groups

For someone who doesn’t “speak” HR, “ERG” might sound like the type of noise a person would make when they’re unsure of what to say. For HR managers, however, employee resource groups, or ERGs, are an essential component to their diversity and inclusion efforts.

ERGs, also known as affinity groups, are identity-based communities that give employees the opportunity to form connections and raise awareness about the challenges they face. For example, employees who are Black, Latinx or LGBTQ+ could speak with an HR manager at work and start a community for employees who share that same identity. The HR manager would then provide advice on getting started as well as approve a budget for the group’s activities.

4. Quarterly pulse surveys

Pulse surveys entail asking your employees a set of questions, and doing so regularly. (That’s why they’re called “pulse”; they’re meant to happen at specific intervals!)

These surveys help you gain real-time insights into your team’s views on what’s working within the company and what needs improvement. Typically, pulse surveys require employees to answer to what extent they agree or disagree with simple statements such as “I would describe our workplace as a great place to work”, “I have plenty of opportunities to grow within this organization” and “I feel encouraged to make decisions about my work”.

5. Employee upskilling programs

Upskilling your employees can be a great way to show them that you’re happy to invest in them. And, when you do that, the likelier they are to invest back.

One of the first steps to creating an effective upskilling program is to identify what workplace skills are bound to become necessary in your industry in coming years. These could be technical skills, like AI skills, or soft skills, like empathy. The more prepared your employees are to adapt to the future workplace, the faster you can utilize emerging tools and practices to streamline everyone’s efforts and maximize results.

6. Flexible working

According to a survey of over 10,000 employees, the majority of the working population (95%) want to be able to set their own hours.

Setting your own hours means you can prioritize your work–life balance and potentially pursue other interests outside of work, as well as carry out your tasks at the time of day (or nearer to the time of day) when you’re naturally at your most productive.

7. Leadership development

Leadership development requires you to identify key performers on your team and equip them with valuable skills and knowledge so that they may progress to a leadership role within the company in the future.

Some essential abilities and qualities that leaders should have, regardless of industry, include delegation, decision making, communication and analytical thinking. Therefore, a leadership development program must take into account the employee’s strengths and be tailored to their existing know-how and ability, and serve as a structured roadmap of trainings to happen over a predetermined period.

8. Quarterly performance check-ins

Though annual and biannual performance reviews are the most common, you could really benefit from having more frequent check-ins with your team members regarding their output. Unlike annual performance meetings which can take 30 minutes to an hour, quarterly performance conversations can be shorter and less formal, and carried out to ensure your team is on track to meet their more short-term objectives.

At the same time, the more frequent a manager’s communication is with their team members, the more that relationship can be strengthened, and the more encouraged employees will feel to bring up any issues, too.

9. Annual salary reviews

Although some employers hold semi-annual salary reviews, most companies hold them once a year. Determining whether everyone on the team is getting rewarded fairly based on their performance (and any important changes to cost of living!) is essential in retaining your best talent.

According to Pew Research, low pay is cited as the top reason behind employees’ voluntary resignation, ranking even higher than feeling disrespected at work. At the end of the day, you could be the most approachable, reasonable boss out there, but if you’re not paying your employees what they deserve, your pleasant disposition won’t be enough to keep them around.

10. Open-door policy

Great Place To Work identifies, among other characteristics, the following components to an excellent company culture: respect, fairness and belonging. And you can convey all three of these with an open-door policy.

A policy like this encourages communication and tells your employees that you consider their time to be as valuable as yours. By signaling to them that you can be approached and are willing to provide a listening ear, no matter their seniority or background, you are treating them fairly and with respect, and making them feel like an important part of the team.

How do you determine the success of an HR strategy?

When an HR strategy is working, this will be reflected both in the metrics that are used to determine company success (for example, revenue growth), as well as in employee morale and commitment. Depending on the objectives of the HR strategy that’s been implemented, HR leaders will typically assess the following parameters to determine the plan’s efficacy:

  • Employee satisfaction. When a strategy is successful (or not!) you’ll be able to see it in your employees. Their level of satisfaction can be determined through pulse surveys, exit interviews, and simply observing the workplace. Is everyone constantly in a terrible mood?
  • Employee engagement. Similar to employee satisfaction, employee engagement can be gauged through surveys, as well as the monitoring of employee productivity and your company’s absenteeism rate.
  • Employee turnover. A high voluntary turnover rate should always signal to the HR department that something must change immediately — especially when it’s your best performers that are leaving. Analyze your employees’ average length of service and the failure rate of new hires.
  • Time to hire and cost per hire. The longer a position remains unfilled, the more it can cost your organization. If your job listings consistently fail to attract qualified, talented candidates, you might want to rethink what you’re offering and invest more in your employer brand.
  • Revenue per employee. This financial metric is extremely important when analyzing your team’s efficiency and productivity. When your team is disengaged and has mentally resigned, the results of your entire efforts are going to suffer.

Key takeaways

Any successful human resource strategy must align with the company’s overall business strategy, thus preserving employee wellbeing while also helping leaders achieve their business goals. Indeed, research has shown that organizations with human-centric work environments are 3.8 times likelier to see high levels of employee engagement and output!

To summarize what we’ve talked about:

  • HR strategies can be divided into categories like employee compensation and benefits, team communication, performance management and corporate social responsibility.
  • An HR team will typically implement both overarching strategies as well as more targeted ones to meet long-term and short-term objectives.
  • HR professionals can measure the success of a strategy by looking at metrics such as revenue per employee.
  • Conducting a gap analysis is a crucial part in creating HR processes, as it can highlight areas within the organization’s policies that don’t align with its business goals and needs.

Do you run your own company or are you in charge of an HR department? If yes, we’d love to hear any more tips or examples you might have to share, so leave us a comment!

Originally published on December 27, 2020.