Building a Human Capital Strategy

The Challenge

Too often, talent spend is not linked to business strategy. Lists of HR programs do not constitute a strategy. Programs are frequently set in motion without a clear connection to what will drive business results. While stopping established programs can be difficult, the real challenge is to introduce new practices which demonstrate value to the organization and drive business success. It’s time to establish a fresh set of connections.

To get the most out of any talent investment, there has to be strong alignment between business strategy and human capital strategy. Providing stakeholders with 3-year, outcomes-based human capital strategic plan clearly linked to business strategy will align activity, investment and focus.

The Approach

Our approach relies on a thoughtful methodology which walks our clients through the crucial steps:

  • Exploring the business strategy and filling in the blanks to help understand talent implications
  • Probing to understand the external perspectives and internal realities to create granular, specific, and actionable strategic statements
  • Tactically aligning current HR activities and spend with the business strategy to identify what is missing, what needs to change and what needs to stop
  • Developing a business case for investment and addressing organizational support issues, such as enterprise culture and functional capabilities

The Value of Partnering with Aon

Navigating this journey relies not only on solid methodology, but also a range of expertise and the critical thinking to support success:

  • Breadth of business and HR knowledge
  • Creativity and external points of view on how to solve talent problems
  • Ability to identify a practical path forward for the HR function
  • Integrated approach to prevent siloed functional plans
  • Focus on clear link between metrics and analytics to HR and business outcomes

Keys to the Journey

Acknowledge ALL the Components

To create a transparent connection between business and HR priorities it’s important to recognize all the factors that have an impact. The levers can’t be pulled independently – the key is to determine which ones to pull, and when, in a coordinated fashion. Then, evaluate if these strategies increase or impede employee engagement and if they align or depart from the existing employee value proposition.

Workforce and Organization Design

  • Skills and capabilities alignment
  • Geographic deployment
  • Workforce composition
  • Critical roles, skills and talent pools
  • Organization structure and spans of control
  • Inclusion

Acquisition and Development

  • Sourcing, recruiting and onboarding
  • Training and development
  • High potential identification and development
  • Careers and mobility
  • Retention

Total Rewards

  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Performance management
  • Recognition


  • Alignment and assessment
  • Development
  • Succession


  • Governance and decision making
  • Behaviors, values, and norms
  • Communication and feedback

Recognize What to Do and How to Get It Done

Framework: Business Strategy

Identify the capabilities and skills required to achieve goals

What Do We Do?

Unpack the Strategy

  • How Do We Do It? – Ask probing questions and apply business insights to deeply understand what the organization is striving to achieve
  • What Do We Get From It? – Deep understanding and expertise in organization’s strategic imperatives

Identify the Gaps

  • How Do We Do It? – Examine and research talent needed vs. existing capabilities and skills
  • What Do We Get From It? – Gap analysis detailing the current and desired state

Framework: Human Capital Strategy

Link the business strategy to ensure talent meets required capabilities and skills

What Do We Do?

Define the HC Strategy

  • How Do We Do It? – Develop strategies in core areas: Workforce and Org Design; Acquisition and Development; Total Rewards; Leadership; Culture
  • What Do We Get From It? – Strategic statements identifying human capital areas of focus

Framework: HR Programs and Priorities

Build HR programs that support the strategy

What Do We Do?

Identify Program Priorities

  • How Do We Do It? – Identify programs to start, stop and continue and the capital required to fund the 3 year plan
  • What Do We Get From It? – Prioritized list of HR Programs, 3-year roadmap and funding allocation

Framework: Alignment, Readiness & Measure

Assess organizational readiness and create change plan

What Do We Do?

Identify Alignment, Readiness Needs

  • How Do We Do It? – Assess alignment and readiness of HR function design and business
  • What Do We Get From It? – Change implementation plan and strategic success measures
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