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Tie HR to business strategy with right mission statement

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in Hiring,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

HR mission statements can inspire the workplace and increase support from top management.

But it’s more likely that they are poorly written, don’t reflect overall business strategy, are too long and full of HR jargon and “consultant-speak.”

“Most people don’t understand what an HR mission statement is. It’s usually so watered down and so unbusinesslike that HR shouldn’t distribute it,” says Margaret Morford, president of theHRedge consulting firm.

Take the following steps to create a business-focused mission statement:

  • Brainstorm (with HR staff if you have them) about HR’s goals, values and priorities. Consider the following questions: How do you spend most of your time? How would you like to spend most of your time? What have been HR’s top accomplishments? Why? What are HR’s most important contributions and how will the mission statement support them?
  • Talk with top executives, including those in sales, operations and marketing. Ask them what drives the organization’s goals and strategies
  • Distill the core values and organizational drivers down to two to five precise, compelling sentences.
  • Determine which HR activities don’t support the statement and consider curtailing or dropping them. As Morford says, “As you define what you will do, define what you will no longer do.”
  • Distribute the mission statement to executives and managers with a memo outlining its goals and ROI potential.

Sample statements

Ideally, an HR mission statement expresses how an organization’s human resources help that organization meet its business goals and cites ways to measure its success.

Good example: HR consultant Gary Kaufman offered this good model statement in a recent Harvard Business Review: “HR’s responsibility is to ensure that our human resources are more talented and motivated than those of our competitors. HR’s performance will, therefore, be measured by comparing the company’s sales, profits, and productivity with those of our top two competitors.”

Bad example: Often, HR mission statements are little more than a laundry list of basic HR functions. Here’s an example: “HR provides training, benefits, compensation, hiring and other services and support that meet the needs of all employees and helps them become top performers.”  

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