What We're Digging Into: Operating in a silo, a vacuum…. or really any other isolated structure is no way to run your talent function. Sure, there’s tons of work to do, but is it the right work?
Why It Matters: Many HR teams, along with unwitting executive teams still view HR as “nice to have”. This is largely because the programs and projects HR execs choose don’t really apply to where the CEO and CFO are focused—Business outcomes!
The reality of business is clear: No two organizations are the same.
So, why would the HR/Talent strategy be the same? Putting in the same compensation strategy as another business makes no sense, right? Not when your business has unique differentiators, unique challenges, and opportunities.
The reality for every HR exec should be this:
Your focus and strategy must pivot towards the main business objectives. Nice to have HR programs around performance management or employee experience are all well and good, but if that’s not where you CEO is focused, you can forget about having a seat at the executive table.
Today, we spotlight the key differences between different organizational strategies and the corresponding impact on talent teams. We’ll focus on 5 distinct angles:
Short Term Investment Cycle
For a variety of organizations, like portfolio companies of PE groups, few things dictate your strategy more than the investment cycle.
Short investment windows suggest that big, multi-year changes like software implementations or succession planning will be judged on how quickly the value can be felt and included in the organization’s valuation within a tight window.
Adding a hefty new PEPM expense for your new HR system that goes live 6 months before a transaction?
Quick and obvious ROI are the game here, meaning the talent systems should strive for creating crisp operations, fully compliant programs and predictability in keeping your top performers engaged.
Here are some other relevant approaches:
Rapid Talent Deployment: HR needs to quickly assess existing talent, identify gaps, and strategically hire or reallocate resources to meet immediate business goals.
Focus on Quick Wins: HR strategies may prioritize short-term objectives, such as rapid skills development, to achieve immediate impact and enhance the company's market position. Think sales, business development and marketing.
Retention through Incentives: Retaining key talent becomes crucial. HR may implement incentive programs or benefits to keep high-performing employees engaged during the short investment cycle.
Put yourself in the next investor’s shoes—What would you be willing to pay for? What adds value to the way the organization operates in a sustainable way?
Long Term Investment Cycle/Non-Profit Ownership
For the marathon cycle, with investments of at least 5-7 years, or more permanent ownership, the focus shifts to enduring success. HR takes the reins in sculpting a workforce for the long haul, aligning every skill with the company's growth trajectory.
The strategic pillars here, should look something like this:
Strategic Workforce Development: Continuous talent development aligning with the company’s evolving needs and ensuring pipelines don’t go dry.
Succession Planning: A roadmap for a seamless transition of leadership and critical roles should be a focus to maintain the best parts of the culture and quick responses to surprise vacancies.
Comprehensive Employee Benefits: HR engineers’ packages to attract and retain top-tier talent over an extended period, meaning more time for ROI on the investment and less concern about scrutiny from a new investor with a different approach.
Acquisition Based Growth Model
The differences from organic growth to acquisition based strategies are stark, and the implications on who you want leading the organization, and how you run the organization are just as stark.
For those steering towards acquisitive growth, the emphasis is on getting fast-paced leaders who thrive on a project mindset with aggressive deadlines, dealmaking and innovation. Steady-as-she-goes employees won’t find this anywhere near their comfort zone.
A few considerations:
M &A heavy times means you’ll need seamless integration. Bringing on new people, who almost overnight become employees means cultural cohesion should be cornerstone focus for HR.
Aligning systems, removing duplicative programs and expenses, all while ensuring the new teams feel welcomed, respected, and part of a new and bright future can’t be side projects, but core competencies, where HR needs expertise and deep focus.
Decisive leadership and compelling storytelling will be important here as well.
Organic Growth Models
On the flip side, when your gaze turns to maintaining organic growth and nurturing innovation, our HR strategy takes a forward-looking, yet more internally focused stance.
Working to proactively identify high-potential individuals, implementing programs to nurture and build leadership qualities. A continuous learning culture is cultivated, encouraging employees to evolve and grow perpetually, all within the confines of an operationally sound talent organization.
Succession planning also becomes paramount, as we develop clear pathways for internal talent to ascend into leadership and innovation positions. In this dynamic spectrum of growth strategies, HR becomes the orchestrator, tailoring approaches to ensure the seamless integration of talent and the cultivation of future leaders.
HR needs to ensure the organization has talent systems that are repeatable and scalable.
Deep dive into getting leaders who thrive on operational excellence and system building.
Implement leadership development programs to prepare the workforce for growth opportunities.
Operational Efficiency /Cost Cutting
Familiar to many, and especially in healthcare, where litigating the budget is a monthly endeavor. Unless you want to see HR be a part of the cuts, when you must run this playbook, you’d better be ready.
Thematically, your focus now is to rationalize every single program as a current business necessity, or an unneeded luxury. Now may not be the time to implement expensive new training programs or elaborate succession planning.
Instead, HR leaders need to be ready with some of the following:
Labor cost savings plans. This means full reviews (with $ analysis) of all pay programs, like bonuses, premium pay, and annual increases. Solutions here may save jobs for many.
Focus on clear communication with employees about changes and support services for those affected. Now isn’t the time to close ranks and be secretive. It’s salt on a wound. Instead, open up even more. Be transparent and painfully honest about what is, and might happen….and do it proactively.
HR may need to manage layoffs or workforce restructuring while maintaining employee morale. RIF’s will happen, and you cannot be caught flat-footed. There is a values-driven way to help people move on. A lack of discipline here may mean you’ll never fully recover from the downturn.
The bottom line is that one size doesn't fit all. Whether you're acquiring new assets or fueling organic growth, tailored HR strategies ensure that your talent acquisition aligns seamlessly with your business objectives.
Get this right, and your seat at the table, next to the CEO will be both earned and respected.
To your success,
Founder, Talenta HR Group
P.S. Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:
Ready to find the talent to fuel your healthcare teams »> Click here to book a discovery call.
Need to align your team to your strategy? Discover the power of our tailored Predictive Index Workshops
Looking for strategic HR leadership, but not ready for a full-time commitment? Explore our Fractional CHRO solutions.