In part one of this blog series, I discussed the challenge organizations face, not in creating their company and Human Capital Management (HCM) strategy, but in executing the strategy throughout the organization. Your organization can “talk the talk” but it’s not so easy to “walk the talk” and this is where most companies fail in strategy execution. At 3D Results, we work with clients who call on our consultants to help resuscitate a failing HCM system. Further analysis usually leads to the conclusion that system adoption didn’t take place because the client failed to make the connection between company strategy and the human capital system tools that can drive performance and support the company mission, vision, and strategy.
The key ingredient for success in this area is to keep it simple. People can only retain so much information, so the simpler the better. I feel the “people” side of successful strategy execution comes down to three things, wrapped up in a well-executed HCM system like SAP SuccessFactors:
1. A Well Connected Strategic Roadmap
Many organizations aspire to engage their workforce because it’s proven that engaged employees are more likely to stay and are more productive. A primary source of engagement is when a person truly feels that what they do in their job has a purpose and a value. This is true at any level from the CEO to the customer service representative. Companies that execute their strategy understand this and create connections from the strategy to every job level. For example, a strategy mapping process allows organizations to define strategy from the financial, customer, business process, and individual learning and growth perspectives. Frontline workers can make the connection in terms of what they do and how it impacts the customer. This creates alignment and connective tissue for the strategic roadmap.
HCM systems, when utilized and configured properly, can reinforce this concept through regular performance feedback, goal setting that is tied to strategy, and reward systems that recognize those who execute company strategy.
2. Strong Operational Processes
The ability to execute in a dynamic business environment lives within the operational processes in any organization. The more streamlined and logical operational processes are from accounts payable to manufacturing, or from CRM and go-to- market sales strategies, the better a company can be at executing their strategy. HCM systems can reinforce effective operational processes, such as “just in time” learning programs and hiring systems that target people with the competencies to execute business processes effectively.
3. Playing to Your Company Culture
One of my favorite definitions of company culture is “culture is what people do and how they behave when leadership isn’t around.” A company culture that has been cultivated over time is very difficult to change. To properly execute company strategy, a human capital strategy needs to be clearly defined that plays on the cultural strengths of your organization. Your organization’s cultural strength might be a strongly supported sense that the customer is the number one priority, or employee and customer safety is paramount, or sustainability is woven into the fabric of how people behave. This needs to be understood by the HR and talent development teams and put front and center when it comes to your HCM processes and systems.
Reinforce your strongest cultural behaviors in the core competencies that people are hired for, and reward them with advancement and promotion when it’s displayed in work performance. When an HCM system is properly configured, it can seamlessly reinforce your company culture, as long as leadership is committed to support and reward performance consistent with the culture.
These are the three key ingredients to success if you want to execute your company strategy for great company performance.