Human Resources Strategy First

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Sometimes, when companies are in turmoil, they seem to miss the most obvious elements that would provide strategic solutions to calm turbulent corporate waters.

Uber Technologies Inc. (Uber) is a prime example of an organization facing critical leadership gaps resulting in a lack of an overall strategic vision. Uber, the ride-hailing company, has been in the news recently due to the high profile ‘resignation’ of its co-founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick. Mr. Kalanick’s resignation came as a result of serious business errors and leadership mis-steps leaving the organization to face numerous crises and on-going internal chaos. A new CEO (Dara Khosrowshahi) has been appointed, who faces multiple challenges to get the organization on to a cohesive and clear strategic path.

An analysis of the key issues that must be addressed has been highlighted in a recent article through HRD Canada.

Click here to read the article.

Of the items that must be addressed by Uber’s new CEO, establishing a new executive team with experienced leaders is the number one suggestion.  However, of the executive positions to be filled, there is no mention of a Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). Of the seven immediate crises facing the organization, on the face of it, five of them are clearly human resources issues. Each requires an integrated, comprehensive and strategic human resources management approach that should be enveloped within the overall organizational strategy.

Without the key strategic pillar of human resources strategy in place, it is difficult to see how the organization will be able to move forward successfully. Perhaps the plan is to have the CEO fully responsible for human resources strategies and decisions. That plan was, apparently, already in place under the former CEO, providing us with evidence of the negative consequences and unfortunate results.

In order for organizations to change, they must try something different and new. Perhaps it is time to create a seat for Human Resources at this particular corporate table.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Of the list of issues outlined in the article, which one do you think is the most important to implement from a Human Resources perspective? Explain your rationale.
  2. What types of Human Resources strategies need to be in place in order to have successful implementation for each of the items listed in the article?
  3. As a consumer, does the current state of crisis at Uber impact your purchasing (use of Uber) decisions? Explain your rationale.

How to Evaluate Your HR Impact 

Thoughtful attractive young businesswoman relaxing with a mug of hot coffee at her desk staring pensively off to the side with a serious expression

Introspective HR

Before HR can align itself with an organizations business strategy it must analyze itself.

HR is always concerned with corporate measurements, such as Key Performance Indicators, benchmarking, and turnover rates. These organizational measurements are good and are required but they not all that is required. In order to impact an organization’s behaviour HR has to first be able to measure its own impact.

Here is a great little article by Tom Haak, a Global HR expert from HR Trends Institute where he highlights his insights into how HR can simply measure its impact.  He outlines ingredients in his recipe for HR impact.  Here are 12 questions every HR department should think about:

  1. To what extent does your HR team speak the language of the business?
  2. How good is your HR team at connecting the various disciplines within the organization?
  3. Which description fits better with your HR team: are you leaders or followers?
  4. Does HR have clear principles?
  5. Is your HR department sufficiently flexible and client focused?
  6. Does your organization laugh with HR or laugh at HR?
  7. Does your HR team dare to experiment?
  8. Is your HR department good at implementing major projects?
  9. Does your HR team dare to innovate?
  10. Does HR have a large and strong network?
  11. Does HR use the opportunities offered by HR analytics?
  12. Does HR come with practical and simple solutions?

Click here to read the complete article by Ton Haak.

Looking inward at your HR department’s ability to influence organizational performance is key to helping the organization meet it business goals and objectives.


  1. 1. Think about an HR department you are familiar with, rate them on the 12 questions above using a 5 point scale, 1 being low and 5 being high. Where are the HR department’s strengths? Where are the areas of improvement?
  2. Your VP of HR wants you to draft an action plan to present to the Board of Directors on how to improve the HR department’s success.



Why Wouldn’t Anybody Love HR?

Oh, let us count the ways!  Some common negative HR mantras include; “HR is only about the people”, “HR is afraid of the numbers”, “HR doesn’t understand the numbers”.

Man holding small heart in hands
Source: wk1003mike/Shutterstock

If these negative mantras prevail, HR Professionals will not be perceived as credible business leaders.

This brief article re-iterates the critical importance of why HR Professionals must fully understand the businesses in which they are engaged. By living and understanding the businesses needs and goals, the HR Professional is able to bring the human element into the numbers equation – that’s right, HR needs to bring the human element into the business numbers, not the other way around.

It is HR’s role to provide the link between organizational profits and its people.

Click Here to Read the Article.

The more we are able to live and speak in the language of the business, the more imperative the role of HR becomes to the leaders influencing the business.

Why is it HR’s job to influence those who influence the organization? Because, when the mantel of HR Professional is assumed, also, is the responsibility for all of the humans in the organization.

Let’s not be tentative about HR’s role in running the business.   HR is not just a business partner, they are business leaders.  Rather than keeping up the myth that HR has to find a seat at the numbers driven corporate business table, it will be time for the organizational units to start earning a place at the HR driven corporate business table.

As HR Professionals, we need to ask ourselves the following questions:

  • Am I speaking the language of the business so that I am understood?
  • How am I presenting my knowledge of the business in my everyday practice?
  • Do I understand who my organizational Human Resources customers are?
  • Where is the evidence that what we do in Human Resources shows a clear path to the appropriate business function?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why is the perception that, Human Resources is just about the people, still prevalent?
  2. What will I bring to the business table to enhance the quality of work-life for all employees?
  3. What is my understanding of organizational business units?
  4. What was the perception of the HR department in places where I have worked previously?
  5. How do I, as an HR professional, want to be perceived by employees and organizational business leaders?