People Strategy for Excellence


People Strategy for Excellence

An organization is as good as the people who work in it. The continual success journey of the organization depends on the expertise, talent, interpersonal skills, and proactivity of its people. People are the lifeline of the organization. People strategy plays a very important role for the organization in its path  for achieving excellence.

People are always necessary to the organization since they provide inspiration, creativity, vision and motivation that keeps the organization alive. They provide the skills and competencies necessary to make an organization work. And above all they provide the labour for the production of the goods and services that the organization supplies to its customers. People are a major and often the most important resource that the organization has. People and the intelligent use of their knowledge are the major determinants for the success for the  organization.

The organization aiming for success through excellence develops and implements  its people strategy in a manner to attract, retain and fully engage its people and to ensure that they are empowered. Right type of people strategies are needed for making people of the organization to appreciate and to rely on each other for becoming ‘active citizens’ of the organization. With proper people strategies, people become committed to high performance and continuous improvement. They operate with high efficiency and with principles of fairness and integrity all the time.  They have opportunities to grow. They feel cared for since their efforts are recognized and appreciated. They feel proud of the organization they work in, the products and services they deliver and that they are making a positive contribution to the environment around them.

Proper people strategies focus on the right combination and type of people and the level of performance required to succeed. It make the organization to value its people and to create a culture that allows the mutually beneficial achievement of organizational and personal goals.  Through people strategies, organization develops the capabilities of its people and promotes fairness and equality. People strategies help the organization to care for, to communicate, to reward and to recognize, in a way that motivates its people, builds their commitment and enables them to use their skills and knowledge for the benefit of the organization.

People strategies of a successful organization calls for involving people in the planning process, although some organizations are reluctant to this since they feel that the changes brought by the planning process upsets them. But the people have the valuable knowledge that are needed for the planning process and the organization should have faith in the people’s ability and maturity to understand and appreciate the effect that the changes will have on them. Hence the organization which is aspiring for the success integrates its people resource with the planning cycle.

The organization with an effective people strategy has motivated and satisfied people which are essential to success since they are the resource that differentiates the organization from the competing organizations. The organization is to ensure that it has the people that it needs and it engages the energy and enthusiasm of these people in the most effective way.

People without any job satisfaction (motivation, enthusiasm, commitment) do not give their best to the organization and hence they are not as productive as they could be. Such people are not bothered if they make a large number of mistakes in their work. These people produce a large amount of rejects, they are not innovative and they do not optimize use of resources.

People satisfied with their job and motivated give their best to the organization. However they need to be convinced that the organization acts in their best interest, provides them with the facilities, tools and techniques to do their job properly and is concerned for them both in the short-term and through longer term career development. People are also concerned with how their organization is perceived by the outside world. They realize that, on the long term, this outside perception indicates the probability of secured and rewarding employment.

Proper people strategy helps the management to know how people feel, behave and perform in the organization. This knowledge provides the basis to increase productivity, solve issues and celebrate achievements.

For improving the effectiveness of the people resource, people are to be aligned to the mission, vision , strategic goals and the processes. People are to integrate with the organizational culture. In case they do not integrate then they will be frustrated in no time. Further, it is very important to match the ability of the people with the requirements of that process to which they are attached. Regardless of the organizational structure, people are to be attached to those processes which they understand, they have qualification and skills needed for the process and where they can contribute based on their experience and knowledge.

But the above criteria are not the only considerations. In many cases, people can be trained for the intricacy and specifics of a job, provided they have the basic skills needed and the right attitude for the learning. If they do not have the right approach and personal culture, it is much more difficult to teach them to be friendly to customers, cooperate with their team mates and accept change.

Another important aspect of people strategy is that the organization cannot afford to ignore the fairness in its decision making. Equal opportunities regardless of race, sex, creed or colour are required to be given while managing its people. It is always in the interest of the organization  to ensure fairness and transparency when dealing with its people since it minimizes suspicion, envy and the consequential loss of motivation amongst the people.

There are six basic components of a people strategy. These are principles, policies, plans, processes, programmes, and parameters of success. Principles  lead to policies. For fulfilling  policies there are processes which are to be planned and which are to be supported by programmes. Successful implementation of processes and programmes helps the organization to achieve the parameters of success.

People strategies cannot be common to different organizations though they aim to establish best practices in each of the human resource  (HR) policy area. There is no one single type of people strategy that is coherent with the HR policies and practices which can be adopted off the shelf by an organization seeking excellence. Each organization has to develop its own people strategies and manage its people more strategically following six basic components of the people strategy. A successful people strategy has three dimensions. They are namely (i) vertical alignment, (ii) horizontal alignment, and (iii) the action dimension.

Vertical alignment

Vertical alignment is the alignment of people strategy with the organizational goals. The people strategy of the organization must suit the environment under which it is operating. The key issues are the organizational goals and strategies. In order to play a strategic role in the organization, the policies and practices that make up the organization’s people strategy of the organization are to reflect, reinforce, and support the organizational aims and objectives. A strong linkage is needed between the overall vision of the organization and the aims, objectives, and underlying philosophy of the organization’s approach to managing people. This linkage ensures that people strategy interventions can become a creator, and not an inhibitor, of sustained competitive advantage. This link between people strategy and the organizational strategy is termed as the vertical alignment. This alignment allows for variation and flexibility and not just mechanical matching  between the organizational strategic objectives and people strategies. Vertical alignment process is evolved based on an understanding of what the organizational goals are, the people implications, and the translation of these into an overarching people strategy that can be used as a basis for detailed policies

Horizontal alignment

Horizontal alignment is the internal alignment between the set of policies making up the people strategy. Vertical alignment though a crucial dimension of a people strategy, is not sufficient. The horizontal alignment operates at the level of individual policy areas. The aim here is the achievement of a coherent and consistent approach to managing people that permeates the entire activities of the HR function and other organizational functional areas. This is carried out at the policy level, not the practice level. This distinction is important, since putting people strategies into action is a separate dimension. Achieving a high degree of horizontal alignment implies that the organization has embraced the value of developing and articulating clear people related policies that consistently relate to one another. At a more fundamental level, the organization is able to communicate consistent and reinforcing messages to employees.

The action dimension

 The third dimension is action or implementation of the people strategy. It is the degree to which the policies are enacted and put into practice. It is judged by the employee experience and the management behaviour and values. The vertical and horizontal dimensions are not sufficient unless the policies framed under people strategy are put into action with all seriousness only then the results are obtained in the area of people management. This requires a comprehensive measuring and monitoring system besides the complete involvement of the top management. The action dimension results into the people experiencing the benefits of the people strategies.

The three dimension concept of the people strategy is shown in Fig 1

Three dimension concept of people strategy

 Fig 1 Three dimension concept of people strategy