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What is Human Resources Strategy Anyway?

Source | Linkedin : By Brian Walker

I believe that the strategy of Human Resources can be summarized in one succinct sentence: Strategic HR means helping the organization achieve its desired results through its people.

There are two major themes in this sentence: Results and people. Let’s examine both.


A reader of one of my other posts, “A Human Resources Career is Not for ‘Nice’ People” sent me a note to comment on how he disagreed with my statement that: “I find fulfillment in helping the organization achieve its objectives through human capital.” He felt that this statement was backwards – that fulfillment should come from organizations helping individuals, who in turn help deliver results. I don’t really disagree with his point, except that I don’t believe it contradicts mine. A focus on people is critical, without question. However, maintaining focus on achieving results is crucial as well. In reality these two concepts are symbiotic. We can easily say that without people there can be no results, but the opposite is also true: without sustained results there will eventually be no people. We must remember that we exist to help the organization be successful, not the other way around. The organization’s collective success leads to success and fulfillment of its people.

When a Human Resources function (as well as any other support function) fails to understand this point, my experience is that bureaucracy and frustration – for everybody – begin to take over. We look after our people, not just because that’s our primary role, but also because we understand that our organizations cannot be successful without our people. Yet, if we focus on people first and results second, we may have trouble doing the hard things that organizational success sometimes requires. If we focus on the organization first, while maintaining empathy for people, then we can help the organization achieve its objectives, while at the same time maintaining a positive environment.



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