HR Strategy Template & Planning Guide

No matter how good your intentions are for your team, improvising your HR strategy as you go is a recipe for frustration. Think of it this way: Not having an HR strategy or not following a template is like planning a vacation without putting together an itinerary or knowing how you’ll reach your destination.

When you have a well-planned HR strategy, you offer a clear roadmap to align your people with your overall business objectives: Objectives like finding and attracting the best employees for the job, retaining them and growing their skills.

This guide draws from the latest HR trends and best practices to provide you with a plug and play HR strategy template. By exploring how to improve the employee experience, the guide will also help you better engage your team and make them more productive.

HR strategy example template

Crafting an HR strategy from scratch can be daunting. Your strategy needs to be comprehensive yet focused, covering essential elements without going into overwhelming detail. 

This template shares the most important components to include in your HR strategy. 

1. HR mission and vision statements

  • Outline the core purpose and focus of the HR department.

2. Organisational values and goals

  • Establish the principles and values that guide the organisation.

  • Set long-term objectives aligned with the company's overall strategy.

3. HR objectives and key results (OKRs)

  • Identify specific, measurable goals for the HR team.

  • Track progress with key results that demonstrate progress and achievement.

4. Summary of key HR initiatives

  • Highlight major projects and actions that will help achieve strategic goals.

  • Examples: Implement an employee wellness programme, upgrade the recruitment process and launch leadership development initiatives.

5. HR operating model and skills needed

  • Describe the HR operating model, i.e. how your HR team functions and is organised. Include team structure, technology and processes.

  • Identify the skills and competencies required to execute your HR strategy.

6. Resources

  • Allocate financial and personnel resources required to implement the HR strategy.

  • Include budget estimates and resource planning for each HR project.

7. Risks and risk management

  • Identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them.

  • Create contingency plans for unforeseen challenges.

8. Strategic priorities

  • Establish the key focus areas for the HR department.

  • Prioritise initiatives based on their impact on business goals and objectives.

7 steps for creating a human resource strategy

Your people are one of your most important assets; without employees, there would be no one to drive your business forward. 

And your HR strategy plays a key role in maximising the value employees are able to provide, as well as keeping them happy, productive and successfully running your business. Therefore, a well-rounded HR strategy should outline specific actions to attract, retain and develop top talent.

Our people strategy whitepaper lays out the key components of a winning human resource strategy. But in short, your HR strategy should do the following.

1. Define your vision

Your vision outlines the long-term aspirations of your organisation and provides direction for all HR activities. It should be aspirational, based on the outcomes you want to achieve and guide your organisation towards its future goals.

2. Identify key metrics

Collecting both quantitative and qualitative data is crucial for tracking performance and progress towards goals. 

Quantitative data includes metrics like diversity ratios, hiring rates, turnover rates and performance metrics. 

Qualitative data encompasses feedback from both employees and leadership, to offer a comprehensive view of where you are currently and how you can get where you want to be.

3. Anticipate challenges and outcomes

Your strategy should identify gaps and issues before they arise. Anticipate challenges and monitor outcomes by setting clear objectives, estimating the time and resources required to achieve them and establishing a way to measure progress. 

An example of a challenge your strategy could anticipate is recruiting talent within a strict timeline. When designing your strategy, you should anticipate this challenge and offer proactive steps to overcome it. 

4. Incorporate feedback

Gather feedback from all levels of your organisation to ensure your strategy is well-informed and widely supported. That means getting input from C-level executives and senior management on what OKRs should look like, as well as getting employee perspectives on what they need to thrive in the workplace.

5. Inspire your team

To be effective, your strategy has to inspire and engage everyone involved. So avoid overly corporate language in favour of language that speaks to your teams. Present your strategy in an accessible and compelling manner, ensuring it’s easy to understand and motivates your team. 

6. Clearly communicate your strategy

Write your HR plans and strategy so that a primary school student could understand it – which ensures it’s approachable for all team members. Use concise and straightforward language, and make sure your strategy is well-formatted and presentable.

7. Be dynamic

A people strategy should be a living, breathing document that you modify regularly. Continuously review your progress, gather feedback and make necessary changes to keep it relevant and effective.

“An effective HR strategy includes clear goal setting, transparent communication and collaborative goal development with employees. This approach ensures employees understand their roles and increases engagement.”

Maxime Bouillon, Co-founder and CEO at Archie

Key performance indicators for strategic human resource management

To measure the success of your HR strategy, assign and track HR key performance indicators (KPIs). These metrics provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your HR projects and help you make informed decisions. 

Here are some crucial KPIs to consider:

  • eNPS: A metric assessing average employee satisfaction

  • Retention rate: Percentage of employees who stay at your organisation over a given period

  • Quality of hire: Value that new hires bring to your organisation

  • Time-to-hire: Duration from job posting to candidate acceptance

  • Turnover rate: Percentage of employees who leave the company within a given period (can segment by seniority, location and other factors)

  • 90-day quit rate: Percentage of employees who leave your organisation within the first three months of hire

  • Gender pay gap: Difference in average pay between employees of different genders

“From my experience, tracking employee turnover rates is crucial for understanding retention efforts and maintaining workforce stability. Similarly, employee engagement and satisfaction scores provide essential insights into workplace morale and alignment with company objectives.”

Michael Ashley, Founder of Ashleyinsights.com

Most organisations opt for a pick-and-mix approach, selecting the KPIs that are most relevant and meaningful to their business needs. By focusing on the KPIs that matter most to your organisation, you can better manage performance and achieve your strategic objectives.

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Benefits of having an effective HR strategy

As we mentioned, the right HR strategy can transform your organisation by boosting employee engagement, improving productivity and ensuring alignment between HR initiatives and business goals. It also helps unlock specific benefits, including:

Realistic forecasting

An in-depth HR strategy enables more accurate forecasting of your workforce needs. By analysing current and future talent requirements, you can anticipate and plan for potential shortages or surpluses to ensure your organisation is always well-prepared and properly staffed.

Avoiding non-compliance costs

Maintaining compliance with employee paperwork and regulatory requirements is a complex task that can lead to significant costs if not managed properly. A robust HR strategy standardises and streamlines these processes, helping you reduce the risk of non-compliance with key regulations. 

For example, your strategy should help ensure GDPR compliance, which requires strict protections for employee data. You must also adhere to working hours, minimum wage and anti-discrimination regulations. Non-compliance can lead to costly fines and reputational damage.

More productive employees

Organisations can enhance productivity and overall job performance by addressing employees' needs and aligning their roles with their strengths and interests. This is one way that a good HR strategy can help foster an environment that boosts employee engagement and satisfaction.

Employee retention

Effective HR strategies make for a more rewarding workplace and help to increase employee engagement and improve retention rates. Creating a supportive and fulfilling work environment is essential for retaining your top players and will also help you save on recruitment and training costs.

9 HR tactics for success

You’ll have to do a considerable amount of groundwork to set up a successful HR strategy. This includes conducting extensive strategic human resources planning and taking deliberate steps to evaluate and optimise the employee experience. 

At the same time, you need to incorporate HR in digital transformation. A forward-thinking HR strategy embraces digital tools and data-driven insights to maintain a competitive edge.

Here are nine human resource tactics to help you retain your people and reach your organisational goals. We’ll be addressing these on a high level to give you a general idea of what to focus on, but for a more in-depth look at how to design a people strategy, download our whitepaper

1. Ask strategic questions

Pose strategic questions to different departments when designing your strategy. Engaging various departments provides a holistic view of the company's needs and HR challenges

This approach aligns HR with the broader business goals and prepares your team to proactively address future challenges by understanding departmental requirements.

2. Conduct research 

Do thorough research to find answers to those strategic questions you’re asking. In addition to speaking with employees to gauge their needs and get a sense of how to enhance their experience, this involves gathering data on industry trends, competitor strategies and internal performance metrics. 

This research should help you understand the current state of the organisation and identify areas for improvement. Then, leverage this information to develop a well-informed and intentional HR strategy.

3. Set goals that align with your HR strategy

Once you have a clear understanding of your strategic objectives, set specific goals that align with your HR strategy. Improve the effectiveness of your goal-setting by using the SMART framework (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound):

  • Specific: Clearly define what you want to achieve.

  • Measurable: Establish criteria to track progress.

  • Achievable: Set realistic and attainable goals.

  • Relevant: Ensure the goals align with broader business objectives.

  • Time-bound: Set deadlines to achieve the goals.

4. Plan your projects

Prioritise your projects based on urgency and impact. This involves categorising projects into short-term and long-term initiatives, allocating resources effectively and setting timelines. Prioritising projects helps you address the most critical tasks first, driving immediate and significant impact.

5. Speak to your C-suite

Regularly check in with business leaders within your company to gauge how the human resources department is performing in areas like employee development, engagement and retention. Ensure you have the support of senior leadership and that HR initiatives are aligned with the direction the business is headed in.

6. Thoughtfully design your employee experience

It’s not enough to hope that employees enjoy their work environment; you need to design experiences that engage and excite them. Start by working with the insights you gathered in the above steps and focusing on the goals you’ve set, then create policies to align with these findings and objectives. 

Keep in mind that designing an optimised employee experience will often involve providing opportunities for growth and development. But at any rate, the best approach for designing your HR strategy relies on employee feedback and opinions. 

Different stages of the employee lifecycle

Thinking deeply about the employee experience throughout the talent lifecycle enables you to cater to each point of their journey and improve it. By offering ideal experiences, you’re more likely to find and retain top talent. 

  • Attracting the right employees: Develop a strategy to attract new talent by defining your company’s unique value proposition and using targeted recruitment channels. Highlight what makes your organisation a great place to work to ensure you attract candidates who align with your culture and values.

  • Recruiting the best employees: Implement a structured recruitment process to identify and select top talent. Use assessment tools, structured interviews and skills tests to ensure candidates meet the required competencies and fit well with your team.

  • Onboarding new hires: Create a comprehensive onboarding process to help new hires integrate smoothly into the company. Provide clear information about their roles, expectations and the company's culture. Offer training and support to ensure they can quickly become productive team members.

  • Developing your employees: Establish a continuous development programme to help employees enhance their skills and advance their careers. This includes regular training sessions, mentorship opportunities and access to learning resources. Encourage employees to set personal development goals and support them in achieving them.

  • Retaining your employees: Focus on retention by creating a positive work environment and recognising employee' contributions. Offer competitive compensation, benefits and opportunities for career advancement. Conduct regular engagement surveys to understand employees' needs and address any concerns promptly.

  • Managing the exit process: Develop a structured offboarding process to ensure a smooth transition when employees leave. Conduct exit interviews to gather feedback and identify areas for improvement. Provide support during the handover period to minimise disruption and maintain productivity.

“To implement an HR strategy effectively, promote employee commitment, motivation and engagement through training and development plans. Use 360-degree feedback and conduct regular, casual one-on-one check-ins.”

Maxime Bouillon, Co-founder and CEO at Archie

7. Implement HR systems

Your HR system includes whatever technology and well-defined procedures that help you complete HR tasks quickly and accurately. A robust HR solution like Personio will help you streamline tasks like recruiting, onboarding, payroll, training and performance management. 

And by creating standard operating procedures (SOPs) for every HR task you’ll have clear guidelines for your HR team, which  helps ensure consistency and reduce errors.

Whether it's a digital platform or a well-organised manual system, having one place for all your HR information allows easy access to employee records, performance data and compliance documents. This improves accuracy and ensures smooth handling of all HR processes.

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8. Improve employee advocacy

When your employees speak positively about their workplace, it enhances your company's reputation and builds loyalty. And when employees feel valued and included, they’re more likely to advocate for your company.

To improve how your employees perceive your company, work on creating a supportive and engaging work environment. To do so, actively seek employee feedback through surveys and open forums, and use this information to address concerns and make improvements. 

Additionally, promote a culture of recognition by regularly celebrating employees' achievements and contributions.

Another tactic is to invest in professional growth by offering training, mentorship and clear career advancement pathways. Develop transparent communication by keeping employees informed about company goals and updates.

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9. Analyse your strategy

Considering the vital role HR teams play in achieving broader business initiatives, the success of your strategy will significantly impact business performance, development practices and talent management.

To ensure your strategy is effective, use measurable KPIs to gauge how well your HR processes are working and identify areas that need adjustments. Regularly reviewing metrics such as employee satisfaction, turnover rates and productivity levels allows you to manage performance and make data-driven decisions to refine your strategies.

Build an effective HR strategy to achieve business goals 

Returning to our earlier analogy: Just as a well-planned vacation means you’ll have a stress-free and enjoyable journey, an effective HR strategy ensures your business reaches its desired objectives. 

By aligning your HR initiatives with your business objectives, you can boost productivity, enhance employee engagement and support sustainable growth.

At Personio, we understand the importance of seamless HR management. Our all-in-one HR platform is designed to simplify and optimise every aspect of your HR strategy. From performance management to employee development, our tools can help you carry out your HR plans effectively and achieve your business goals. 

To learn more about how Personio can help you bring your HR strategy to life, check out our performance management and training management tools. 

Or, if you’ve got any questions, please get in touch. We’re happy to talk about how our flexible solution can solve your unique challenges.

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