Saturday, 14 November 2009

Putting People Back into HR Strategy

My apologies for the time I've had off from posting. I'vebeen very busy participating in some events which have provided me with excellent examples of how to 'put people back into strategy', the subject of some recent posts

I've recently written a paper with Paul Gollan and Kerry Grigg on HR strategy, suggesting that a strategy-as-action approach has much to teach us as practitioners and academics about strategic management in general and developing workable HR strategies in particular (see the strategy-in-action website). Over the last couple of weeks I've taken part in two health service-related events which have demonstrated the benefits of a strategy-in-action perspective, although participants didn't use this label as such.

The first was a large event run by the leadership team of Dumfries and Galloway Health Board, facilitated by an ex-postgraduate student of mine, Sharon Millar, and colleagues from the CIPD, Drs John McGurk and Jill Millar. This event was one of a series they have run aimed at developing workable strategies for building dynamic capabilities in the health board as it moves closer towards partnership working. What was impressive about this process was the volume, intensity and numbers of people involved in the leadership and strategy-making process. In other words, the emphasis at this event and the others which preceded it was very much on strategising and human resource development as much as strategic content.

The second was an event I participated in yesterday, run by the Allied Health Professions of Scotland to develop an integrated professional and educational strategy for a group of key workers in the NHS in Scotland. Drawing on a methodology to creating a consensus around the principles and content of such a strategy, it was fascinating to watch how they used inputs from internal and external speakers to develop a progressively more refined series of consensus statements. The process was driven by discussions during previous events where questions about what mattered to staff were posed by about 180 participants at all levels from all Allied Health Professions in all healthboards in Scotland. These questions were then turned over to 'experts' to write research-based papers on the issues raised by participants (of which I was one). During the actual consensus event at Murrayfield Conference Centre in Edinburgh, experts fed back their findings, which were fully discussed by the conference participants and their views were summarised in the form of a progressive series of consensus statements by a panel who acted as facilitators rather than directors of the process. Though the process may not be without its flaws, as a methodology of developing strategy for a group of rather disparate set of professional groupings - around which there was a strong need for consensus - it was a real lesson in how to put people back into strategy and in how to use the strategic journey to develop workable strategies that have much more chance of buy-in.

There are important lessons from these events not only for organisations in healthcare, which are dominated by the need to gain the consent of influential professions to survive, but also for the private sector. For example, I'm currently being asked to think about how a large multinational organisation gain insight into values that stakeholders can understand, agree on and draw on to shape their future direction and current actions. I think there are lessons from these two projects that help address this question.

4 comments:

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elon said...
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Brij said...
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Judith said...
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