[Expert opinion] How Can I Develop an Effective HR Strategy?

01/17/2024
Temps de lecture : 6 mn
Emmanuelle Abensur
Emmanuelle Abensur
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Temps de lecture : 6 minutes

Developing an effective HR strategy is a major challenge for all human resources managers. It involves careful consideration of teams’ operational needs, the management’s expectations, and the company’s strategic objectives. How can you strike the best balance to satisfy all these competing needs? What steps should you take to tailor the best HR action plan to meet everyone’s needs?

To shed some light on these two questions, we interviewed an expert on the subject: Thierry Jouzier, Director of Human Resources at Intertek. With over two decades of expertise in human resources, he’s worked in a wide range of sectors and in companies with different levels of digital maturity. He was HR Director at PepsiCo, SIXT, HAVEA, and now Intertek, a leading quality assurance service provider with +44,000 employees in +100 countries

In this article, he shares with us his methodology for drawing up an HR strategy and measuring its effectiveness, the HR actions he plans to implement within his company, and his advice for a successful first 100 days as HR director.

HR strategy: methodology

Before taking action, observe

“When I arrived at Intertek, I took time first to observe how the company worked—and to talk with my team in France and with HR managers in other countries. I also talked to the operational teams and elected representatives to best understand their needs and pain points, and to identify what works and what doesn’t for everyone.”

“Following this three-month observation period, I drew up an astonishment report to present what had surprised me, and the possible avenues for improvement in human resources management. Based on these analyses, I was then able to draw up an HR strategy in line with the company’s practices and expectations in the field,” explains Thierry Jouzier.

Astonishment report methodology

Co-construct the strategy 

Of course, it’s not a question of drawing up the HR strategy without consulting anyone. Once you collect everyone’s opinions, “It’s important to co-construct the HR policy with all team members,” stresses the HR Director. “This ensures that the roadmap is well aligned with the group’s HR strategy, that it is not too ambitious, and that priorities are well-defined.”

To co-construct your HR strategy, you can rely on collaborative tools such as Talkspirit. On these platforms, for example, you can:

Creating an HR strategy on Talkspirit's project feature
Develop your HR strategy on Talkspirit’s Projects module

Monitor and tweak regularly as needed

Creating a successful HR strategy also means regularly checking your teams’ vital signs! This can be done through surveys you run on employee engagement software—or simply on an internal communications tool like Talkspirit!

“Right after joining Intertek, I launched an engagement survey to gather regular feedback from employees. This enables me to quickly identify practices that need to be corrected, and thus adjust the HR strategy on an ongoing basis.”

Quote of Thierry Jouzier on how launching an engagement survey is key to create a good HR strategy

Intertek’s HR strategy 

“At Intertek, our HR strategy revolves around two main themes: 

  • Talent attraction: the ability to attract, recruit, and integrate new talent. This involves employer branding along with efficient recruitment and integration processes.
  • Talent retention: the ability to engage and retain employees. To achieve this, it’s important to create an employee experience that’s in phase with the candidate experience.”

Attracting talent

To attract more candidates, Intertek has decided to work on several HR areas: 

  • Employee advocacy: this is an employer brand lever that involves turning employees into ambassadors for the company. “To develop it, we decided to create videos where candidates can see the day-to-day life of in-house employees.”
  • Recruitment: to boost the number of applications, “we’re going to strengthen our presence on job boards and company rating platforms.”
  • Onboarding: “We are currently developing checklists to assist managers in the pre-boarding and onboarding of new employees. The aim is to follow the candidate from the moment they are recruited to the moment they complete their trial period.”

Retaining Talent 

In terms of talent retention, the company also has to:

  • Evolve the talent review system, which assesses the performance and skills of talent within the company. “To this end, I have asked to set up regular meetings with managers, which will enable us to identify the wishes and potential of all employees,” explains Thierry Jouzier.
  • Work on the packages it offers its employees (which include both working conditions and remuneration).
  • Set up a flexible benefits platform to enable employees to choose the benefits they want.
  • Encourage internal mobility by developing employees’ skills.
  • Support managers’ selection and skills development.
Quote of Thierry Jouzier on the importance of training management to retain talent

Rolling out our international strategy

“At Intertek, each HR Director is responsible for a business line (i.e. one of the company’s branches of activity). In addition to my role as HR Director for France, I’m also in charge of HR for the product business line in Europe. This means I’m responsible for co-constructing the HR strategy in Europe for my branch, and for ensuring that our HR practices are harmonized.

This matrix organization facilitates exchanges and collaboration between the various HR teams, and enables us to align our practices in different countries. For my part, I regularly exchange views with colleagues from other countries on subjects such as diversity, health, and safety in the workplace. This enables me to continuously develop my skills, and to draw up an HR strategy that can be implemented in different countries,” says Thierry Jouzier.

KPIs for measuring your HR strategy’s success

“During my observation phase, I discovered that Intertek’s HR department was not very keen on KPIs. And yet, monitoring KPIs is fundamental for human resources! It ensures that the HR strategy is not only well executed, but also that it is bearing fruit.

Here are a few examples of KPIs that can help you track to gauge your strategy’s effectiveness:

  • Recruitment: recruitment volume, number of open positions, time spent on recruitment
  • Employer branding: number of impressions of communications, number of CVs received
  • Retention: volume of internal mobility, volume of team discussions, absenteeism, level of commitment, turnover, number of job hoppers (=employees who leave the company before 250 days).

For each KPI, we look to see whether or not there has been any progress, in order to determine whether the actions implemented have had the desired effect. This various data is then presented to each business line manager to accelerate or change certain strategic positions.”

“The scorecard is a superb tool for tracking KPIs,” adds Thierry Jouzier. “It’s a reference document that allows us to regularly monitor our HR actions’ results over time. I implemented it in several of my former companies, and I plan to do the same at Intertek.”

3 best practices for your first 100 days as HR director

Your first three months in a company are crucial to the success of your human resources strategy. Here are Thierry Jouzier’s 3 tips for tackling them: 

  1. Map out the different roles in the organization to identify who can be your ally or your opponent. This will enable you to create your network, and thus facilitate the implementation of certain HR policies or decisions.” To create this mapping, you can rely on software like Holaspirit, which gives you a 360° overview of everyone’s roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities.
  1. Co-construct strategy in collaboration with all internal stakeholders.” 
  1. Identify quick wins: steps that you can easily implement and get quick results from. For example, in my current position, my quick wins were to set up a profit-sharing agreement, create a working group to improve onboarding, and launch an engagement survey.”
Map out your organization's roles on the Holaspirit organizational chart
Map out roles on the Holaspirit organizational chart

A final word

To develop an effective HR strategy, it’s important to clearly identify the organization’s roles, observe existing HR practices, involve all the company’s stakeholders, and ask for routine feedback so that the strategy can continuously evolve.

What’s more, it’s important to activate several levers to retain your talent and reduce quiet quitters. That’s what we offer you in this white paper! 

Access the White Paper

In our white paper “How to strengthen employee loyalty and prevent quiet quitting,” you’ll find: the origins of the quiet quitting phenomenon, the main causes of disengagement at work, and the main levers for improving talent retention and avoiding silent quitting.

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