Do you have an HR strategy? Louise McGeady, Principal HR Consultant and founder at Opal People Solutions, explains how HR adds real value to your organisation.

During our ProfileTree Business Leaders video interview, Louise also gives an insight into strategic partnerships and the benefits of having a mentor.

She introduced her background and expertise: “I founded the company three and a half years ago now, having spent 20 plus years largely in food manufacturing and the logistics sector, experiencing a wide range of generalist HR issues.”

Louise explained that the services offered by her business can vary depending on the needs of the client: “That depends on what the client needs are, for some very small organisations they have a particular issue and they just want to ‘pay as you go’. They dip in and out of my services as and when they require.

Do you have an HR Strategy? HR and Strategic Partnership Benefits with Louise McGready

“Some of the bigger organisations are probably 20 plus, typically working on a support contract basis with me. So they have unlimited telephone, email, document support and that tends to cover a lot of complex issues. Particular grievances, or disciplinaries, probation reviews, those sorts of things that are about risk to their business. They want to make sure they have expert advice.”

Louise particularly enjoys working with a client as their HR partner as this an area “where HR really adds value”.

“I have a number of clients, who do operate on a support contract as well, but we also have a relationship where I spend maybe half day a week or a day a month with those businesses so I really understand the issues they are experiencing and I can be much more proactive.”

She explained how this kind of strategic relationship can help support business growth: “I’m working with a client at the minute, they have 11 employees, and we have really been looking over the past three to four weeks at full people strategy.

“Yesterday, for example, we locked in – by working with the entire organisation – and defined the vison, the mission and the values. Those employees are 100% bought in and aligned with the company vision now and they are aiming for a huge goal.

“So we will then define the roles and responsibilities, and define the accountabilities as these are critical in an organisation, that people understand exactly what the role is and what they are going to be held accountable for and what they expected to deliver. It is important there are measurements put in place to check where you are against that journey.

“We can put reward and recognition strategies in place, and those aren’t about adding cost to the business as if your employees are delivering over and above what you ever expected them to then you should be able to reward and you should be able to afford to recognise that.”

To find out more about the importance of HR strategy, and much more including human resources functions and processes, see our full Business Leaders video interview.

Hr statistics to optimise recruitment and retention

What is an HR Strategy?

An HR strategy is a comprehensive roadmap that defines how an organization will manage its human capital to achieve its overall business objectives. It serves as a guiding light, ensuring that all HR practices and initiatives are aligned with the organization’s long-term goals and contribute to its success.

Key Elements of an HR Strategy:

  • Talent Acquisition: Attracting, recruiting, and onboarding top talent to build a high-performing workforce.
  • Performance Management: Setting clear goals and expectations, providing regular feedback, and developing employees to reach their full potential.
  • Learning & Development: Investing in ongoing employee education and training to enhance skills and knowledge, fostering innovation and adaptability.
  • Compensation & Benefits: Offering competitive salaries, benefits packages, and recognition programs to attract and retain top talent.
  • Employee Engagement: Creating a positive and inclusive work environment where employees feel valued, motivated, and empowered to contribute their best.
  • Diversity & Inclusion: Building a diverse workforce and fostering an inclusive culture where everyone feels respected and has the opportunity to succeed.
  • Compliance: Ensuring adherence to all relevant labor laws and regulations.

Business Impacts of an Effective HR Strategy:

  • Improved Employee Engagement and Retention: Leading to higher productivity, innovation, and customer satisfaction.
  • Enhanced Talent Acquisition and Development: Attracting and retaining top talent, fostering a culture of learning and growth.
  • Reduced Costs: By minimizing turnover, improving efficiency, and reducing legal risks.
  • Increased Profitability and Competitive Advantage: Through improved performance, innovation, and customer satisfaction.
  • Stronger Employer Brand: Attracting top talent and building a positive reputation in the marketplace.

Overall, a well-developed and executed HR strategy is a critical investment for any organization. It paves the way for a more engaged, skilled, and productive workforce, ultimately leading to sustainable business growth and success.

Importance of HR in Business: What is HR? HR Process & Strategy with Graham White #BusinessHR

Statistics Around Best Practices for Strategic Workforce Planning

Investing in strategic workforce planning (SWP) can significantly benefit organizations of all sizes. Here are some compelling statistics that highlight its positive impact:

Impact on Financial Performance:

  • Companies with mature SWP practices report a 20% increase in revenue growth and a 30% increase in profitability compared to companies without SWP. (Source: Aberdeen Group)
  • Organizations with strategic workforce plans are 12 times more likely to achieve their business goals. (Source: Bersin by Deloitte)
  • Effective SWP can lead to cost savings of up to 25% through reduced turnover, improved talent acquisition, and optimized workforce deployment. (Source: HRCI)

Impact on Talent Management:

  • Companies with a defined talent strategy experience a 59% reduction in time to fill open positions. (Source: SHRM)
  • Organizations with strong SWP practices are 2x more likely to attract and retain top talent. (Source: Mercer)
  • Employee engagement increases by 20% when employees feel their skills are valued and they have opportunities for growth and development. (Source: Gallup)

Impact on Business Agility and Adaptability:

  • Organizations with a proactive approach to workforce planning are 50% more likely to be highly adaptable to changing market conditions. (Source: Harvard Business Review)
  • SWP enables companies to anticipate and respond to emerging trends, technological advancements, and evolving customer needs. (Source: McKinsey & Company)
  • Developing a flexible workforce through SWP allows organizations to quickly scale up or down their workforce based on changing business demands. (Source: IBM)

Additional Supporting Statistics:

  • 90% of HR professionals believe SWP is important for achieving business goals. (Source: HR Magazine)
  • Only 18% of organizations have a formal SWP process in place. (Source: WorldatWork)
  • By 2025, the global talent management market is expected to reach $29.42 billion, driven by the increasing demand for SWP solutions. (Source: Grand View Research)

These statistics demonstrate the significant impact that best practices for strategic workforce planning can have on an organization’s financial performance, talent management, and overall agility. Investing in SWP is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for businesses to thrive in today’s competitive and dynamic business environment.

Examples and Templates for Writing HR Vision Statements Tied to Company Goals

Vision Statement Example 1:

Company Goal: Be the leading provider of sustainable energy solutions.

HR Vision Statement: To cultivate a diverse and passionate workforce that drives innovation and collaborates effectively to deliver groundbreaking sustainable energy solutions that empower communities and protect our planet.

Key Elements:

  • Focus on talent: Highlights the importance of attracting and developing a strong workforce.
  • Emphasis on collaboration: Underscores the need for teamwork and cross-functional cooperation.
  • Alignment with company goals: Clearly connects the HR vision to the organization’s overall objectives.
  • Actionable and specific: Provides a clear direction for HR efforts.

Vision Statement Example 2:

Company Goal: Become the most customer-centric organization in the healthcare industry.

HR Vision Statement: To build a culture of empathy and understanding that empowers our employees to consistently deliver exceptional service, exceeding customer expectations at every touchpoint.

Key Elements:

  • Focus on customer service: Emphasizes the importance of providing exceptional service to customers.
  • Culture-driven: Highlights the role of culture in shaping employee behavior and performance.
  • Empowerment: Encourages employees to take ownership and responsibility for their actions.
  • Measurable outcome: Clearly defines the desired outcome of HR initiatives.

Vision Statement Example 3:

Company Goal: Become a global leader in the field of artificial intelligence.

HR Vision Statement: To attract and retain the brightest minds in AI and foster a culture of continuous learning and innovation, enabling us to develop and deploy cutting-edge AI solutions that solve complex challenges and shape the future.

Key Elements:

  • Talent acquisition: Emphasizes the importance of attracting top talent in a specialized field.
  • Learning and development: Highlights the need for ongoing learning and skill development.
  • Innovation: Encourages a culture of creativity and experimentation.
  • Impactful outcomes: Focuses on the positive impact of HR efforts on the world.

*Template for Writing HR Vision Statements:

  • Start with the company’s goals and objectives. What are the organization’s aspirations for the future?
  • Identify the key HR functions and practices that will contribute to achieving those goals.
  • Define the ideal state of the workforce and the desired employee experience.
  • Use clear and concise language that is easy for everyone to understand.
  • Make the statement aspirational and inspiring, motivating employees to contribute their best.
  • Ensure the statement is measurable and actionable, allowing you to track progress and iterate as needed.

Additional Tips:

  • Involve key stakeholders in the development of the HR vision statement.
  • Communicate the vision statement clearly and frequently to all employees.
  • Align all HR initiatives and programs with the vision statement.
  • Regularly review and update the vision statement to reflect changing business needs.

Interviews with HR Directors: Challenges and Keys to Effective HR Strategy Execution


In today’s dynamic business environment, human resources (HR) play a crucial role in driving organizational success. To achieve this, effective execution of a well-defined HR strategy is essential. However, challenges often arise during implementation. To gain valuable insights into these challenges and identify key strategies for success, we interviewed HR directors from diverse industries.


1. Lack of Alignment with Business Goals:

HR Director, Technology Startup: “A common challenge is ensuring our HR strategy is fully aligned with the overall business goals. We often face pressure to prioritize short-term needs, which can lead to neglecting long-term strategic initiatives.”

HR Director, Retail Chain: “We sometimes struggle to translate business objectives into specific and actionable HR strategies. This can create confusion and hinder effective implementation.”

2. Talent Acquisition and Retention:

HR Director, Healthcare organization: “Attracting and retaining top talent in our competitive industry is a persistent challenge. We need to continuously adapt our recruitment and retention strategies to stay ahead of the curve.”

HR Director, Manufacturing company: “Keeping our employees engaged and motivated is crucial. However, factors like increasing workloads and changing work environments can negatively impact employee morale and retention.”

3. Change Management and Resistance to New Initiatives:

HR Director, Education sector: “Implementing new HR initiatives can be met with resistance and skepticism from employees. Overcoming this resistance requires effective communication, transparency, and a clear understanding of the benefits these initiatives offer.”

HR Director, Financial services company: “Managing change effectively during HR strategy execution is critical. We need to provide adequate support and training to employees to help them adapt to new processes and technologies.”

4. Limited Resources and Budget Constraints:

HR Director, Small Business: “Budget limitations often restrict our ability to implement all aspects of our HR strategy effectively. We need to be resourceful and find creative solutions to maximize the impact of our initiatives.”

HR Director, Non-profit organization: “Competing priorities and limited resources can make it difficult to prioritize HR initiatives. We need to demonstrate the value of our efforts and secure the necessary resources for successful implementation.”

Keys to Effective Execution:

1. Clear Communication and Stakeholder Engagement:

HR Director, Technology Startup: “Clear and consistent communication with all stakeholders is key. We regularly share updates on our HR strategy and involve key decision-makers in the planning and execution process.”

HR Director, Retail Chain: “We actively engage with employees throughout the strategy development and implementation phases. This fosters a sense of ownership and encourages them to contribute to its success.”

2. Data-Driven Decision Making and Metrics-Based Tracking:

HR Director, Healthcare organization: “We rely on data and metrics to track the progress of our HR strategy and measure its impact on key business outcomes. This data-driven approach allows us to make informed decisions and adjust our strategies as needed.”

HR Director, Manufacturing company: “We use analytics to identify areas of improvement and track the performance of our HR initiatives. This data-driven approach helps us ensure we are optimizing our resources and maximizing our impact.”

3. Continuous Improvement and Adaptability:

HR Director, Education sector: “We understand the need for continuous improvement and adaptability. We regularly review our HR strategy, identify areas for improvement, and adjust our approach based on evolving business needs and market trends.”

HR Director, Financial services company: “We are always looking for innovative solutions and best practices to improve the effectiveness of our HR strategy. We encourage experimentation and collaboration to keep our approach fresh and relevant.”

4. Investment in Technology and Building a Strong HR Team:

HR Director, Small Business: “Investing in HR technology can streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and provide valuable data insights. This helps us get the most out of our limited resources.”

HR Director, Non-profit organization: “Building a strong, competent, and passionate HR team is crucial for successful strategy execution. We invest in our team’s development and empower them to take ownership of their roles.”

Creating Employee Journeys: A Step-by-Step Guide

Crafting well-defined employee journeys is essential for attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent in today’s competitive market. These journeys map out the key touchpoints and experiences employees have with your organization, from the initial recruitment stage through their tenure and beyond. By creating positive experiences at each touchpoint, you can foster a strong employer brand, boost employee satisfaction, and drive better business outcomes.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create comprehensive and engaging employee journeys:

1. Define Your Goals and Objectives:

  • Start by clearly defining the overall goals and objectives you want to achieve with your employee journeys. This could include things like improving recruitment efficiency, reducing turnover, and increasing employee engagement.
  • Align your employee journeys with your organization’s overall business goals and strategies. This ensures your efforts are focused on driving positive outcomes for both employees and the company.

2. Identify Key Personas:

  • Create detailed profiles of your ideal employee personas for different roles and departments within your organization. This will help you tailor the journeys to the specific needs and expectations of different employee groups.
  • Consider factors like demographics, skills, experience, and career aspirations when developing your personas.

3. Map Out the Touchpoints:

  • Identify all the key touchpoints an employee has with your organization throughout their journey, from recruitment and onboarding to performance reviews, development opportunities, and offboarding.
  • Consider both formal and informal touchpoints, such as job interviews, training sessions, social events, and employee feedback surveys.

4. Design Positive Experiences at Each Touchpoint:

  • For each touchpoint, define the desired outcome and the specific actions you will take to create a positive experience for the employee.
  • Think about ways to personalize the experience, such as providing individual attention, offering relevant support resources, and promoting a sense of community.

5. Implement and Measure Your Journeys:

  • Develop a plan for implementing your employee journeys, including assigning roles and responsibilities, allocating resources, and setting timelines.
  • Track and measure the effectiveness of your journeys by collecting data on key metrics such as employee engagement, retention rates, and productivity.
  • Use the data to identify areas for improvement and continuously iterate and refine your journeys over time.

Here are some additional tips for creating effective employee journeys:

  • Focus on the employee perspective: Put yourself in the employee’s shoes and consider their needs and expectations at each stage of their journey.
  • Involve employees in the process: Ask employees for feedback on their experiences and use their input to improve your journeys.
  • Communicate effectively: Keep employees informed about changes and updates to their journeys and provide clear expectations.
  • Use technology: Leverage HR technology tools to automate tasks, personalize communication, and track progress.
  • Celebrate successes: Recognize and celebrate employee achievements to boost morale and engagement.

By following these steps and incorporating these tips, you can create employee journeys that attract, engage, and retain top talent, ultimately leading to a more successful and thriving organization.

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

  • The Employee Journey: A Guide for HR Professionals by David Ulrich and Wendy Ulrich
  • The Employee Experience Advantage by Jacob Morgan
  • Designing the Employee Experience by Jeanne Liedtka and Jessica Gregory

By continuously improving your employee journeys, you can create a more positive and engaging work environment for your employees, leading to a happier and more productive workforce.

Remember, great employee journeys are not a one-time project, but rather an ongoing process of continuous improvement. By dedicating time and resources to this important initiative, you can create a powerful competitive advantage and build a truly successful organization.

More Business Leader Interviews from ProfileTree TV

Business Interviews:

Two Years to £27 Million | Should Your Business be Concerned about Brexit? | The Business Mindset | Workplace Wellness | What is Company Culture? | Business Broadband NI | How to do Business Internationally? | Do you have a HR Strategy? | What is Innovation? | What is a Business Development Manager? | Importance of HR | Accounting Strategy

Different Business Types:

What is a Franchise Business? | FitzWilliam Hotel Belfast | Newspaper Marketing Trends | Discussing Product Development

Personal Development:

The ‘PROVE IT’ Guy | Performance Consultant and Speaker | How to Build Self-Confidence | What is NLP Therapy? | Feel Good Hypnosis


How to use Psychology Marketing?  | What is Growth Hacking?


Augmented Reality in Education | Why is Technology Important in Business?


How to Generate Energy from Waste

HR Strategy FAQ

Still have questions? Check out common HR strategy queries below.

Q: How often should our HR strategy be updated?

A: Review HR strategic priorities annually to realign with shifting company objectives and market conditions.

Q: What’s the difference between HR operations and HR strategy?

A: Operations tackle daily workforce tasks while forward-looking strategy focuses on long-term goals for sourcing, developing talent.

Q: Who should be involved in forming HR strategy?

A: Collaborate cross-functionally with executives, line managers and employees to ensure alignment across organizations.

Q: What metrics best gauge HR strategy effectiveness?

A: Employee retention rates, internal hire rates showing pipeline strength, productivity benchmarks per function.

Q: How can we maximize HR strategy adoption company-wide?

A: Communicate transparency through all-hands meetings, online portals. Recognize managers implementing strategic initiatives.

HR Strategy Conclusion

An optimized HR strategy empowers organizations to not just attract top talent, but motivate and retain high performers contributing to business growth. Go beyond siloed recruiting and compliance efforts to define an employee value proposition. Map workforce needs to runway, strengthening sourcing channels and leadership pipelines.

Prioritize inclusivity, development programs and retention tactics to build an engaged, future-fit workforce. Use the playbook above as guidance for strategically curating teams for the long run.

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