Human resources has become a critical component of a company's business strategy in the early 21st century. Once treated as a basic functional area, HR is now viewed as an important area of strategy because companies want to align their systems and workforce to the direction of the organization.


The human resources function bears significant responsibility in establishing a company culture. One objective of strategic HR is to develop a culture that aligns with company goals. For instance, if work groups are used to generate more business ideas, a culture of teamwork and collaboration is important. If innovation is key to the company's vision, a culture that supports and encourages employee ideas helps.

Recruitment and Selection

Recruiting and selecting employees for positions has long been a key role of human resources. With strategic HR, the entire system is designed to help the company attract and retain employees that fit the culture and bring qualifications and experience needed for the future. A cutting-edge technology leader, for instance, may place special emphasis on marketing employees with backgrounds in technology or innovation. Rather than looking at each job individually, HR considers how each position and department in the organization fits into the big picture direction and culture.


Training employees to fill gaps between current skills and those required to achieve goals is another strategic HR objective. Concepts like career development and employee development take center stage when HR is viewed from a strategic perspective. The company benefits from a long-term view of how employee needs and job needs will evolve based on company objectives. Training systems emphasize growth at each level to meet new standards going forward.


Succeeding with diversity has become another major goal of strategic human resources. Companies have seen workforces become more diversified in age, race, gender and culture. Whereas functional HR addressed coping with diversity, strategic HR addresses diversity management for optimum performance. In essence, you want to create a diverse workforce and an environment that promotes open discussion of differences and equal opportunities based on abilities and not demographic traits.