7 Critical steps for building on a HR Business plan

This is the time of the year when various organisations and departments are starting to plan for the next year. The same applies to HR Departments.
That’s why I’d to share with you a section from Dave Ulrich’s latest book “HR from the Outside In” on how to build an effective HR Department. He suggests four priorities:

  1. Create an HR business plan.
  2. Finalise your HR department organisation.
  3. Provide good HR analytics.
  4. Do HR for HR – be a role model.

To direct an HR department, a CHRO needs a clear HR business plan, one that lays out how the department will operate.

Here are Ulrich’s suggested seven steps for building on a HR Business plan…

1. Define the business context.


  • Define the business environment
  • Recognise and define expectations of key stakeholders
  • Master the business strategy


Recognise the challenges facing the business, the stakeholder expectations, and appropriate business strategies.

2. Articulate the HR vision.


  • Who we are (partner, guide, director, leader, architect, etc.)
  • What we do (build individual and organisational capability, etc.)
  • Why we do it (competitiveness, etc.)


Articulate a vision of the HR function that can be shared inside the function (to excite HR professionals) and outside the function (to engage clients)

3. Specify deliverables or outcomes.


  • Define the deliverables, outcomes, or guarantees from doing good HR work. These should be measurable and specific.


Define three to five deliverables of what the HR function can guarantee for the organisation. These deliverables are often capabilities required for the organisation to compete. They must be specific and measurable.

4. Make human resource investments


  • Create a typology or menu of HR practices that can help reach outcomes.
  • Generate alternative HR practices.
  • Prioritise critical HR practices.
  • Make investment choices on critical practices (cost-benefit analysis).


Prioritise HR practices that must be implemented to accomplish the deliverables.

5. Create HR governance and structure.


  • Identify who can do the work (HR, line managers, strategic vendors, staff managers).
  • Create a responsibility grid for who must do the work.


Define accountabilities and responsibilities for getting HR work done.

6. Prepare action plants


  • Prepare a specific action plan (who, what, when, where) for accomplishing HR priorities


Prepare an action plan with detailed tasks, responsibilities, resources required, time frames, and so on.

7. Ensure HR competencies


  • Identify critical HR competencies needed to meet the HR plan
  • Assess current state of competencies
  • Prepare improvement plans


Ensure that HR professionals are able to accomplish the business plan.

Many of these issues will also be addressed in one way or the other at the HR Business Partner Conference in Cape Town on the 12, 13th and 14th November 2013.

Some of the topics and speakers are:

  • A true business partner adds value to the organisation: The JD Group StoryPamela Barletta, Ex-Group Executive: Human Resources
  • HR Strategy that deliversSenta Morley, General Manager Group Human Resources, TFG Foschini Retail Group (Pty) Ltd
  • Results driven talent managementJohn October, Executive Head: HR, Learning & VAPS, Telesure Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd
  • HR value proposition, employer branding and retentionZelda Breytenback, Human Resources Manager, Spree and Touchlab
  • HR as the driver of ethics in the organisationCynthia Schoeman, Managing Director, Ethics Monitor
  • Performance Management – The Critical Success FactorsCraig Casserley, Management Development & Performance Specialist,  Metropolitan Life
  • The HR Business Partner as an Internal ConsultantJanine Baillie-Stewart, Human Resource Manager, GMS (Global Manufacturing & Supply) Supply Chain – Consumer Health, GlaxoSmithKline

Click here now for more information about the conference or contact Dina at 011 706 6009 or dina@knowres.co.za.


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