A simple definition for “Stratetgic HR” (!?!)

Over the course of my career in HR, the buzzword ‘strategic’ has always been present.  Admonition like “be more strategic” or “we’re not strategic enough” becomes common as we HR professionals find our way into valuable business contribution and the proverbial ‘seat at the table’…

However, no one could ever really define what it means to be ‘strategic’ in HR.  Can’t describe how many seminars, conferences, and other meetings I was in where that simple charge was shared:  “Be more strategic”… yet, I couldn’t really find anyone who could give a really good explanation of what that looked like.

So, in an attempt to share what I’ve learned, and give others something to build on for themselves, I share my ‘work-in-progress’ definition of Strategic HR:

Strategic HR is the alignment of culture, talent and leadership with the company’s overall strategy.

Seems simple enough, right?  Three key ingredients that HR professionals can own and/or influence, that will prove your ‘strategic’ worth.  Talent.  Culture.  Leadership.  Align them with each other, always focus on the company’s strategy, and you’ll be on your way!


First and foremost, company strategy.

Do you understand what your company actually does, and how it gets done?  Do you understand the processes and people that make it all happen?  Do you know your company’s competitors?  How about competitive advantages over those competitors?

Do you know your company’s goals (both annual and quarterly)?  Do you know your company’s mission or vision?  (not just the words on a page, but what it actually means)

Do you understand the direction of your company?  Plans to grow?  Plans to reduce spending?  Plans to acquire or be acquired?

These pieces are a bedrock of knowledge that will give HR professionals the credibility necessary to connect with business leaders, and contribute in strategic ways.  #relationshipsmatter  #credibilitybuildsrelationships

Now, the three pillars that should align to it (understanding, of course, that this is merely scratching the surface of each one): Continue reading