More and more organizations are embracing strategic human capital management as not only a tool for the alignment and development of individual employees, but also as a business tool to improve overall organizational performance.

Many organizationsfrom publicly-traded companies and not-for-profits to global manufacturers and government agenciesare struggling in this economy to do more with less and to find that competitive edge that will increase their chances for success today and in the future.

One of an organizations greatest differentiators is how it manages its workforce. Maximizing workforce effectiveness and efficiencies is the key to gaining the competitive edge organizations need to achieve greater success and future security in an increasingly global marketplace. Though there are many schools of thought on how to maximize workforce effectiveness, more and more organizations are embracing strategic human capital management (HCM) as not only a tool for the alignment and development of individual employees, but also as a business tool to improve overall organizational performance.

Strategizing disjoined processes

Strategic HCM is a process, a technology, and a mindset. Organizations hoping to achieve greater success and market dominance must recognize the business value of HCM and inculcate this value into their corporate cultures. Organizations also must establish and align internal processes for accomplishing HCM objectives and leverage the right technologies that provide an integrated approach to support these processes.

Strategic HCM integrates individual processes such as performance, succession, compensation, recruiting, learning, career development, scheduling, workforce and expense management, social collaboration, and HR management. Historically, these functions have been managed with separate and disjointed processes and silo systems. For example, performance applications streamline the paper-based performance assessment process, and learning management systems provide a platform to deliver and track employee training and development.

While these and other point solutions to HCM processes produce valuable results, these results are often detached, significantly reducing their impact on broader organizational objectives and, therefore, workforce effectiveness. On their own, they are not strategic.

To truly maximize workforce effectiveness and propel business strategy, an integrated HCM platform is essential. The most profound results are often realized with the integration of these processes to better align and coordinate resources appropriately. As a result of this inherent integration, faster reporting and deeper analysis is achieved at a pace that enables real-time business efficiencies.

Visualizing important business needs

An integrated strategic HCM solution provides critical visibilityvisibility into the alignment of organizational objectives, strategies, and workforce readiness to decision makers responsible for the overall strategic direction and goals of an organization. Strategic HCM can reveal critical gaps in workforce skills and help identify learning activities to close those gaps. It also can shed light on the impact of talent initiatives, on business performance and, thusly, the achievement of larger strategic business objectives.

Such visibility also allows for greater flexibility and adaptability in changing economic times. Successful organizations are those that can anticipate market or business changes on the horizon, and respond proactively by developing employees for critical roles or adapting to new strategic initiatives faster. In addition, strategic HCM can better equip organizations for mergers, acquisitions, downsizing, senior executive moves, and other significant events by providing a more complete picture of available talent proportionate to changing needs, addressing gaps in skills areas for development.

Integrated HCM processes can be viewed as a matter of quality versus quantity: more information does not necessarily translate into more effective decision making. Better information, resulting from this integration, leads to better decisions.

What makes the difference between more and better information is the delivery and distribution mechanism or platform. An effective platform delivers and distributes integrated and complementary information.

Many organizations, however, struggle to make sense of numerous sets of disjointed data that must be manually integrated to be strategically meaningful. With a truly integrated solution, information silos become a relic of the past, and strategic HCM becomes the new currency to help organizations better achieve their objectives.