Contemporary organizations are faced with the challenges of changing economic and market conditions, productive labor, competition, and the struggle for survival. Traditionally, organizations have focused on material assets, cost cutting, and reduced employee expenses as a means of increasing competitiveness and profits (CSU-Global, 2013). However, this approach is becoming a less viable tactic in today’s complex and dynamic environment. Instead, an organization must recognize the value and importance of its people in implementing the strategies which lead to business success (CSU-Global, 2013). This places an organization’s human resources (HR) in a prominent role when developing strategic plans for the future.
The Strategic Planning Process
Setting goals and developing plans to attain those goals are critical components of organizational success. According to Reed and Bogardus (2012), “strategic planning is a systematic way of setting the direction for an organization and developing tactics and operational plans to ensure its success” (p. 109). The strategic plan outlines specifically where the organization wants to go and what it will do to move the organization towards that desired outcome. However, it is important to note that strategic planning is an ongoing process, not a one-time plan (Reed & Bogardus, 2012). Strategic planning evolves as organizations cope with changing conditions, problems, and demands.
The strategic planning process generally includes a pre-planning stage followed by four main components. This process is described in detail by Reed and Bogardus (2012). During pre-planning, business leaders must commit to the strategic planning process and make decisions regarding the participants, time frame, and planning tools to be involved. Next, businesses conduct an environmental scan of current internal and external strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) in order to forecast future business circumstances. After careful forecasting, businesses formulate a strategy based on the vision, mission, values, and goals which have been developed for the organization. Finally, as explained by Reed and Bogardus (2012), the organization develops and implements specific tactical goals, operational plans, budgets, and action plans to carry out the strategy.
By way of the strategic planning process, a practical plan is incorporated into the organization’s day to day operations and activities. At this ground level, the organization’s people become critical key participants in the implementation of the plan and its objectives. The objectives are the practical steps taken at the functional level to achieve business goals (Reed & Bogardus, 2012). As employees work towards the objectives, the effectiveness of the strategy must be regularly evaluated and adjustments made as necessary to optimize its success (Reed & Bogardus, 2012). Employees’ willingness to support the strategic plan and their ability to achieve...