Internal influences: need to know

Describe the main internal influences on your business

There are four main internal influences on businesses:

  • The core strategy of your business
  • The quality of your people and their ability to meet the strategy
  • The quality of execution of the policies, processes and projects needed to meet strategic goals
  • The quality of leadership in the organisation.

To be strategic, HR needs to understand the business strategy and its implications for the function, as well as knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the people and leaders who are delivering that strategy. This information can be incredibly useful when it comes to ensuring that HR systems, processes and projects are aligned with those of the business and adding value in the most important areas.

Although it is sometimes easier to focus on the everyday, mundane aspects of the business, these four influences should guide the efforts and goals of HR people. To learn about these influences, you can benefit from reading the business strategy. However, not all businesses have their strategy written down, so you might need to talk to the senior people involved in creating it.

Knowing the business strategy will leave you better placed to intervene if you feel there’s a conflict. For example, if the business strategy states that the company should be more customer-focused, but resources are being withdrawn from a customer-focused department, you might want to challenge this.

It is also important that you understand senior people’s interpretation of the strategy, as the execution can be affected by changes in the hierarchy, such as a new head of department with a different understanding of the strategic goals. Often, the overall business strategy will not have changed, but the interpretation and, therefore, the execution of the strategy changes.

You can monitor how the strategy is being executed and how effectively it is working by observing the behaviours people are displaying. Gauge the HR processes that will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of people and leaders in your organisation against the business goals. The best HR people continually review systems and processes to ensure they are getting the right results.

Knowing the business strategy, the processes and policies, the people and the leaders is crucial to HR people and ensures that you contribute to the aims of the wider business.

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