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Tactical vs Strategic Human Resources

In the HR game there are have been a lot of books and academia written about the difference between tactical and strategic HR. Basically tactical HR is what we call reactive or operational style HR and although this approach is somewhat outdated or out of fashion, it is still an essential function of effective human resources.

At HR Gurus we find that many HR consultancy firms want to jump straight into the strategic or “sexy’ functions of HR without getting the structure or operational efficiencies required to set a business up for success. It’s like building a house if you don’t get the foundations right there is no point spending thousands of dollars on interior design if the house is going to fall down once exposed to the elements. We believe that getting your house in order with a strong operational baseline including HR Compliance frameworks will ensure your business can manage people according to your business standards. Once this is done you can then focus on the Strategic HR objectives required for you to deliver on your big picture goals. Strategic HR is an essential part of building an organisation that is built to last and below we have given you a snap shot of the main differences between tactical and strategic HR:

Tactical Human Resources

  • Old style personnel function (bureaucracy & rules)
  • Transactional & operational focus (Payroll, letters, reports)
  • Seen as policy police or enforcers
  • Extremely reactive (inefficient behaviours wastage)
  • High value placed on operational support to business

Strategic Human Resources

  • Collaborative business partners – aligns solutions with business needs
  • Trusted Advisors with strategic focus (seat at the table)
  • Seen as enablers and change agents
  • Integrated value add people initiatives
  • High value placed on HR partnering with the business
  • Everyone held accountable for People Initiatives & KPI’s
  • Leadership excellence in everything we do

It’s no secret that many HR functions and HR practitioners have a bad reputation because they fail to fully understand their clients, fail to listen and fail to provide practical solutions that make sense.  At HR Gurus we ensure that every solution we implement or suggest links back to your overarching business goals. We seek to understand your business before problem solving or selling you programs or solutions that you don’t need. This in our eyes is the difference between tactical HR and strategic HR. This way we become trusted advisors with a seat at the table when it comes to making big strategic decisions and this means that your HR Strategy is set up to drive your Business Strategy. In our next blogs series we will be explaining how to create a HR Strategy in your business.

Written by Head Guru Emily Jaksch.

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