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Typically annual planning starts either now or at the end of the tax year.  I though this would be a good time to start thinking about HR planning, but using a familiar planning process.  Here is some food for thought:

  • Stakeholder segments: I always start from what makes a customer (big and small esp the ones who hit the bottom line but do not ignore those who are future new lines of productivity), who in my organisation influences the customers and then look at the internal service base (Board down).  You need this for talent management and continuity planing! Then I look at HR relationships such as trade unions, future employees.  See  “HR from the outside in” (Ulrich D, Younger, Brockbank, Ulrich M’) for some good pointers.  Once you have these identified the stakeholders, how do they influence the business and what impact does this have on demand for HR services?
  • Value Proposition: A value proposition is a promise  of value to be delivered combined with a belief from the customer that value will be experienced.   You might already have a unique value proposition, perhaps one that is the brand? If you feel it is a bit of a personnel cliché then it probably is and now is the time to rethink the HR brand. One of the main roles of any Personnel team is to make corporate values come alive, your value proposition should reflect that but remember the audience is both internal and external.  Once you have an idea of the value proposition, test it.  Does it make sense, is it truly workable to your stakeholders?  Think of the times you have heard great Customers services offered and when it comes to calling, press button one and listen to the music for an hour whilst we disconnect your call.”  That fails the second limb of testing (have you got the right techie guys in the company, who should you be headhunting?).
  • Channels: most companies deliver their value proposition to customers through different channels.  Similarly HR is no longer focused on face to face meetings, job adverts and training sessions but in multimedia channels from Twitter and Facebook, management helplines, funky handbooks and employment contracts (yes…. contracts convey a dark message) and never overlook temporary staff (getting them in but who ensure they meet the right standards)?  Sure at our core is delivering the right people in the right place in the right time but the journey is a customer experience and channels is about ensuring you have those right.  Another big issue around channels is the risk and contracts matrix – how up-to date is your case law knowledge?.
  • Customer Relationship: Customer relationships are built and maintained through meetings, self-service portals and personal advice but don’t forget that ‘generation me’ is about a synchronous conversations and they are full of potential communication errors and yet bursting with creative ideas  flow and let’s be honest inseparable from the business.
  • Revenue Streams: For decades HR’s role (and the one that gets  budget) was to ensure the deployment of the right people at the right place at the right time.  Of course that worked the other way when economies switched.  The ten years saw HR outsourcing then moving to shared services – which is not adding to the bottom line but saving, or worst shifting, costs. Harvard online recently came out with a data driven report that highlights how going local and ramping up employment engagement can add to profitability and create wealth through innovation – have does HR engage within itself ?
  • Key Resources: HR now has an army of low cost technology, administrators and advisors at its disposal. There is no excuse for not managing career development for the millenniums but have you started on generation me (Twenge et al)?    We must also not forget the impact of age related discrimination and harness the knowledge – but how?
  • Key Activities: In days of continuous change sis it time to stop and recognise that stability is required or do you march on and innovate?  How have you balanced your activities against costs, do you inputs create throughput and output or do they bind up the organisation with demand failure?
  • Partner Network: there was a time when the only buyer-supplier relationship HR needed to focu on was that of agencies: who to choose big or small.  Now we cultivate relationships across employers and share data. Outsourced or purchased by Business Process Outsourcing, perhaps Shared Service Centre relationships need to be managed, those with with legislators and regulators need compliance and active participation in their shaping.
  • Cost Structure: do we really need to talk about cost?  Yes.  The further HR services are away from the money generation the less its’ credibility. Saving money is good (very good, but anyone can switch off a light bulb) – that is like cleaning fleas of a pig and small use to the butcher.  How about creating needs or wants in your networks – as they do in PR or marketing?   Gaining EU funding is a great way to offset some of your costs but how about seeking zero cost?