How to Have a Productive Strategic Alignment Meeting
Optimize Your Talent Strategy
According to HCI Research, poor integration of Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) and business strategy and processes is the second most common challenge to workforce planning efforts. I can’t say this finding is surprising to us at HCI. Understanding and aligning with the business strategy is literally the first step in our SWP framework and, if you stumble on the first step, you’re not exactly paving your way to workforce planning success.
We believe strategic alignment starts with a productive discussion between HR and its stakeholders in the business. In this post, we’ve selected a few best practices and ideas that will help you prepare for meetings with key stakeholders in this crucial stage of Strategic Workforce Planning.
Research and Review the Business Strategy
Before you walk in the door, review your organization’s current strategic documents (e.g., annual reports, current revenue goals, output from a recent strategic planning session, etc.). Is revenue growth a priority? Or do you need to increase your profit margins? Is your business unit gearing up to enter a new market? How does the organization plan to differentiate itself among its competitors? Even if you can’t find all this information, you can at least bring a base level of awareness to the meeting and be prepared to ask clarifying questions.
Assume There’s A Lot You Don’t Know
No matter how much research and preparation you’ve done, most of you reading this post are human beings. That means there’s a greater than zero chance that you lack perfect knowledge of the business strategy you’re charged with supporting. Take time to write down questions that can flesh out the collective understanding of strategic goals and their implications for human capital strategy. This practice surfaces any misunderstanding and ensures you and your stakeholders are on the same page going forward.
Make an Agenda and Put it in Writing
If this advice sounds like Meeting 101, that’s because it is. However, a written agenda is one of the biggest differentiators between a productive, structured discussion and a long and winding waste of everyone’s time. A specific agenda gives stakeholders the ability to prepare for the meeting and bring relevant information with them. It also gives you something to refer to throughout the meeting and make sure that the discussion doesn’t get high-jacked by the best paid or loudest voice in the room.
Be Prepared to Talk Talent
If you’re the HR guy or gal in the room, this is your bread and butter! Your raison d’etre! If someone has a question about attrition trends, wouldn’t it be nice if you had the most recent HR dashboard for that business unit available for everyone to reference? No one expects you to have all the answers but, if your go-to response is “let me check on that for you” while you struggle to contain your growing panic, you’re not exactly filling your colleagues with confidence.
Strategic alignment between HR and the business is essential for the success of any talent initiative, but it is particularly essential for SWP. Why? When you’re creating a plan to identify, prioritize and close talent gaps multiple years into the future, it pays majors dividends to have a clear understanding of where your organization is going.