HR Administration

How Can I Transition From Administrative HR to Strategic HR?

By Staff Report

Jul. 29, 2013

Dear First Step on New Journey:

Congratulations on your promotion. The path from administrative HR to strategic HR is meaningful. The fact that you have gained knowledge, skills and tools within administrative HR to date is important. It will allow you to be a subject matter expert in the day-to-day operations of HR. While you may feel compelled to go to what you know best in administrative HR, especially when your team has challenges, you must do your best to be strategic as well. The success of your HR department will depend upon your ability to efficiently and effectively balance administrative HR with strategic HR.

By following the specific steps below, you will quickly get up to speed and be able to apply the strategic aspects of HR Management:

  1. HR Impacts the Business – The core of strategic HR is aligning human resource functions with the business enterprise. The “alignment” aspect includes thinking about the business as it relates to recruitment and retention, learning and development, employee engagement and performance management. Ask questions such as: “In what specific ways can our existing HR systems/functions contribute to our company’s business/mission? What do we need to build upon and what do we need to do differently and why?”
  2. Learn from Business Leaders – It is important to talk to professionals in your company who work in business, including sales, customer service, logistics and operations. The more these professionals view the HR manager as a partner and not an outsider, the better. By spending time getting to know their role within the business, it leverages opportunities for shared understanding, increased partnerships and enhanced synergies which drive strategy.
  3. Plug into – These days, LinkedIn is a terrific resource to gain insights on strategic HR from practitioners in the field. Join LinkedIn groups and engage in discussion to gain the most value. Some quality LinkedIn Groups with a Strategic HR focus include HR leadership forum, engagement and retention forum and organizational development and training forum, among others.
  4. Example-Based Learning – There are many examples of organizations having a HR strategy within the overall Strategic Plan. Go online to find these examples using key words like “HR Strategy and Strategic Plan.” Having worked as a HR director, I know that having an HR component to the company’s strategic plan definitely added value. It allowed us to have specific goals, objectives, timeframes and responsibilities for how we were going to transform HR into a more strategic function across the company. And, it quickly ramped up my strategic HR quotient because I was very involved in the developing and implementing the initiative.
  5. Ideas through Association – Given your work in the manufacturing industry, it is likely that your company belongs to a professional trade association. Typically, associations have workgroups focused in different areas, including Strategic HR. By learning from professionals working strategically in HR within your industry, it will continue to give you the necessary knowledge, skills and tools to be successful. And, if there is not a Strategic HR group in the association, then request to create one. In short order, you, as the person creating the strategic HR workgroup within your association will be seen as a leader, adding value to your strategic HR credibility.

Source: Dana E. Jarvis, School of Leadership and Professional Advancement, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, July 17, 2013

What’s New at

blog workforce

Come see what we’re building in the world of predictive employee scheduling, superior labor insights and next-gen employee apps. We’re on a mission to automate workforce management for hourly employees and bring productivity, optimization and engagement to the frontline.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog


Minimum Wage by State in 2023 – All You Need to Know

Summary Twenty-three states and D.C. raised their minimum wage rates in 2023, effective January 1.  Thr...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog

HR Administration

Is your employee attendance policy and procedure fit for purpose?

Summary: Lateness and absenteeism are early warning signs of a deteriorating attendance policy. — More ...

compliance, HR technology, human resources

workforce blog

HR Administration

Clawback provisions: A safety net against employee fraud losses

Summary Clawback provisions are usually included as clauses in employee contracts and are used to recou...

clawback provisions, human resources, policy