What You Need to Do to Develop an Effective and Useful HR Strategy

Editor’s Note: Dr. John Sullivan has been a strategist in HR and talent management for over 30 years. His specialty is HR strategy and designing world class HR systems and tools for Fortune 200 firms. He’s never been shy about telling it like it is.

That’s why TLNT asked him to share his thinking in a video series titled “$#*!@ Dr. John Sullivan Says!” Look for these videos weekly here at TLNT.

When you have a conversation with HR professionals, Dr. John Sullivan says, what frequently comes up is the notion of “being strategic.”

“I hate that (term),” he says, “because most people don’t know what ‘being strategic’ is, and certainly most HR departments do not have a strategic plan. So, if you are going to have a strategic plan, you have to know why you have it and what it can do.”

What a strategic HR plan can do

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Of course, Dr. John wouldn’t be Dr. John unless he detailed some of those things that a strategic HR plan CAN do. They include:

  • It gives you focus;
  • It will make a bigger business impact;
  • You will be able to avoid duplicate work;
  • It will allow you to coordinate activities across multiple business functions;
  • It will impact business goals; and,
  • You’ll be able to evaluate your competitors and work toward creating a competitive advantage.

Probably the most important thing to remember about a strategic plan, Dr. John says, is that it is not a slide show or a document on a shelf. Instead, it’s a decision filter that you can use to weigh and judge the decisions — and make the best ones possible.


John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.


1 Comment on “What You Need to Do to Develop an Effective and Useful HR Strategy

  1. Concise reminder, Dr. John of HR’s critical pupose. Thank you for your perspective.

    Judy White, SPHR, GPHR, HCS
    The Infusion Group™

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