Need to know: Areas of weakness

We all know that analysing the goals and how the company performed against them is a key part of helping to establish the people agenda, but there is more that HR can do.

The stated aims of the company will often include explicit strategic goals, which you can find out easily. But as well as knowing what these goals are, it’s important to understand how these goals are translated in your business unit or function.

By identifying how the company and the specific area you support have achieved (or failed to achieve) their goals, you will be better able to give strategic support and advice.

Companies are good at different things some are good at having stated goals, some are good at execution of objectives, some are good at being in the moment and reacting to events. The precise area a company is good at will affect how the goals are created and what actions are taken to achieve them.

As a result, as well as knowing the goals and actions, a good HR person needs to know what support might be needed by the business as a direct result of its individual strengths and weaknesses in a particular area. If the company is good at strategy but poor at execution, for example, you might want to look at the skills the business has, or the way people are rewarded for executing the business goals.

Or you could study the messages that senior managers are sending about what’s important to the business.

This area is an opportunity for HR to help the business achieve its goals and allows you to hold the mirror up to the business so that it can see what it is doing and what it might be able to do differently to better meet its objectives.

And this can go right down to individual manager level using your understanding of the strategy, you can help them to see if their behaviour is contradictory to the goal, understand what they might do differently, and coach them to change their behaviour where necessary. Ultimately, it is HR’s role to challenge the business and its managers to do things differently to be better able to achieve the strategic goals – so an understanding of those goals is vital.

Jan Hills,director, HR with Guts

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