X icon white, transparent background.
Wird geladen...
X icon white, transparent background.
Future of Work

A complete guide to effective HR strategy planning (& a free template!)

Leapsome Team
A complete guide to effective HR strategy planning (& a free template!)
Bauen Sie mit Leapsome ein leistungsstarkes und widerstandsfähiges Unternehmen auf
Fordern Sie eine Demo an

Businesses are beginning to recognize the strategic value of human resources. In fact, our State of People Enablement Report found that 79% of people ops leaders felt their C-suite saw them as important.* They no longer viewed HR as an administrative or supportive department, but as vital to the organization’s success.

As the role people teams play expands and grows in importance, taking a more systematic, data-driven approach is essential. Effective, intentional strategies ensure your human resources department stays aligned with overarching company goals while positively impacting the employee experience and making your organization a truly enjoyable place to work.

To that end, this article covers the essential steps you need to take for successful HR strategy planning. We’ve also included a best practice HR strategy template you can customize or use as inspiration for your own team.

*Leapsome’s State of People Enablement Report, 2023

🤿 Dive right into HR strategy development

Our customizable HR strategy template includes all the essential stages and action points you need to structure and flesh out your ideas.

Download template here

What is an HR strategy & why does it matter?

An HR strategy is a comprehensive plan that aligns team management with organizational goals. By integrating the two, companies can ensure that they recruit and retain the right talent to keep their initiatives and long-term objectives on track.

However, an HR strategy goes beyond hiring and keeping positions filled — it can help you engage, empower, and develop employees in a way that supports sustainable growth and fosters a positive work environment. 

When human resources plays a more strategic role, the company can also take a more proactive stance in its industry and build workplace resilience. People teams can forecast staffing needs and spot potential gaps and issues before they escalate into larger problems. For instance, you might anticipate turnover and escalate or adjust hiring efforts instead of scrambling to bring people on board as team members leave.

💭 “In the future of HR, the People function continues to be a strategic partner to the business that is highly integrated into company performance and no longer seen as just a support and administrative function. Well-supported People functions and teams will result in better business results, deeper engagement, high employee enablement, and happy customers.”

Luck Dookchitra, VP People at Leapsome

Last, remember that while HR managers may take the lead, the best strategies are a collaborative effort between leaders, team leads, and team members. Including stakeholders from every area of your business gives you a more holistic perspective, ensuring that your plan will benefit the entire company.

Free download: Our actionable HR strategy template

Screenshot of the first page of Leapsome’s HR strategy plan template

Human resources strategies aren’t one-size-fits-all. It’s best to tailor them to your company’s unique needs, goals, and culture rather than adopting a generic blueprint.

That said, having a detailed template can provide you with a structure and save you time on planning. You can check that you haven’t missed any essential steps and customize the strategy to suit your context. 

That’s why we’ve provided this free, downloadable template based on Leapsome’s own strategies and values.

🏆 Create a winning HR strategy

Streamline your HR planning processes with our comprehensive template that covers every step and checkpoint. 

Download template here

8 steps to creating an effective HR strategy plan

Whether you’re working off a template or starting from scratch, there are some essential steps that should go into the development of any great human resources strategy. Here’s everything you need to consider at each stage.

1. Establish your HR strategy’s aims

Setting clear goals is essential as they will guide all the future decisions you make about your HR strategy. This step involves understanding your organization’s broad objectives and determining how you can support them, ensuring your plan contributes directly to the company’s aspirations and long-term success.

For example, your leadership team might clarify that their long-term objective is to enter the European market and establish a strong presence within the next two years. HR and the C-suite could collaboratively decide on the following aims:

  • Hire 80% of the team for the new branch locally
  • Relocate the remaining 20% of team members from existing branches

Speaking to other departments allows you to assess where your interests align and how you can support each other most effectively. In the example, HR might work alongside legal and accounting to find potential regulatory roadblocks to hiring in Europe.

When you’re developing cross-departmental aims and sharing them across the organization, tracking them can be challenging. Using goal-setting software like Leapsome allows you to establish complex objectives and track your progress toward them. Choose a platform that accommodates various methodologies, such as OKRs and SMART goals, so you can easily tailor your workflow to your company’s needs and preferences.

A screenshot of Leapsome’s goal management feature with progress bars.
Leapsome’s Goals module enables departments to share and collaborate on objectives, ensuring alignment and clarity

2. Review your industry

Staying up-to-date with industry happenings is essential to keeping your HR strategy relevant and competitive. You need to research the current state of recruitment, retention, and team management to understand what’s realistic before you develop any plans.

Going back to the example in step one, imagine you’re investigating the current European job market. You discover that there’s a talent shortage in your industry, which means that you may struggle to hire locally.

Look at official sites like Eurostat, the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the most recent information. HR thought leaders such as SHRM and the Harvard Business Review also report on job market trends.

Evaluating your position within the market can give you extra insights into developing a realistic strategy. You can see where you need to improve, where you already shine, and where competitors outmatch you. For instance, while looking into European expansion, you may notice that another company already has a strong foothold in the job market.

During your research, see where you can update your current HR tools and resources to support your strategizing. People enablement platforms like Leapsome can automate time-consuming parts of your workflow, such as distributing surveys, data collection, and scheduling meetings, so you can prioritize the planning itself. Automation also has the power to make you more adaptive to changes during the strategizing process — 63% of companies said it helped them to pivot.

3. Analyze & check in with your team

Consider your team’s composition to evaluate the talent you’ve got and look for gaps. You might look into:

  • Skills
  • Interests
  • Employee demographics
  • Tenure and experience levels
  • Job performance
  • Salary and benefits

Let’s say you’re considering which team members would be ideal candidates to relocate to your new European branches. You might note that a high percentage of the team are digital nomads who are highly likely to be interested in traveling and living abroad.

To conduct an effective analysis, you need to go deeper than superficial numbers to uncover your team’s needs and wants. Running engagement surveys can help you measure employee sentiment about upcoming company initiatives. Use a flexible tool like Leapsome’s Surveys module so you can come up with questions that are specific to your organizational goals and strategy or customize a ready-to-implement template. Setting up an anonymous suggestion box also creates a space where employees can share concerns that you haven’t covered in your survey.

To keep employees at the forefront of your initiatives, use their feedback to create action points for your strategy. For example, you might discover that team members would be willing to relocate to head an expansion abroad if it meant they were getting a promotion. Tools like Leapsome’s AI-powered sentiment analysis can help you summarize written responses while our post-survey action plans can analyze them to give you quick suggestions. 

A screenshot of Leapsome’s action plan tool within the Survey module.
Generating post-survey action plans can give you quick inspiration for your HR strategies
🎯 Put employees at the center of every plan

Our engagement surveys can help you uncover your team’s concerns and align your strategies with their best interests.

Learn more

4. Consider development opportunities 

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of your current team, see whether your company has the skills and expertise it needs to meet its objectives in-house. If not, determine how quickly you can fill any gaps through learning and development initiatives.

Start by conducting a skills gap analysis to compare the talent you need against your team’s current capabilities. Visualizing the knowledge and expertise you need for your company initiatives on a competency framework can help you spot areas for development. You’ll also see how many steps employees need to take to reach an optimal skill level. Leapsome’s AI-powered competency framework can help you get started — just input your department name, number of competencies, and number of levels to generate a framework in minutes.

A screenshot of Leapsome’s Competency Framework feature
Discover development opportunities by using our Competency Framework feature to plot the skills that your team needs for new, upcoming initiatives

Let’s say that you’re looking for employees to manage payroll for new branches in the United Kingdom. While no one in the existing accounting department is familiar with British regulations, one person has experience in international finance.

Once you’ve got a clearer idea of your talent needs, explore how effectively you can meet them by developing existing team members. For instance, you might:

  • Ask managers to hold career development talks and report on which team members would be open to learning new, critical skills.
  • Assess your current learning and development programs to see if you can adjust them to include the desired expertise.
  • Research which training courses on the market cover the competencies you need.
  • Explore the possibility of creating personalized courses to equip team members with the specific skills they need.
A screenshot of the learning pathways feature in Leapsome’s Learning module.
Create customized training courses with a blend of pre-made materials and templates with Leapsome’s Learning module

5. Explore pathways for career progression

As you develop your HR strategy, decide how roles should change to align with organizational goals and employee needs. You may need to create new positions if your current team structure doesn’t support your plans, especially if you’re growing or expanding.

Again, a competency or career progression framework could help you determine which employees can be upskilled or are ready to move into the positions you need. Leapsome’s Compensation and Reviews modules could save you time here by providing you with relevant data on all your internal candidates. You can also use the platform to collaborate with each employee’s team lead to make informed, well-rounded decisions.

For example, your company might need a sales manager to head a new branch in another country. After looking at your employee data, you might identify a salesperson who’s got experience heading a team, and a quick chat with their team lead may reveal that they’re eager to advance professionally. You can then see how to support them and upskill them to move into the new role. 

6. Examine recruitment & turnover

Hiring and retention are often at the heart of human resources initiatives. For example, reducing turnover can help businesses maintain a knowledgeable and experienced team while they launch new ventures. A stable team is also vital to protecting employee well-being and company culture during changes. When colleagues are constantly coming and going, surveys show that team members are up to 25% more likely to resign.

Using the following steps, you can get clarity into how hiring and retention may play into your HR strategy:

  1. Measure your recruitment and turnover levels
  2. Filter the results by department and role
  3. Benchmark your results against the industry standard
  4. Review reasons for job offer rejections and resignations
  5. Consider whether you can expect these numbers to change
  6. Estimate how many positions you’ll need to fill

A people analytics tool like Leapsome can help you implement many of these steps. Our platform not only collects and analyzes your HR data, but gives you AI-driven actionable insights. For instance, Leapsome can sort your information to indicate the biggest impact drivers and filter out less relevant details. You can also benchmark this data against competitors and use predictive analysis to uncover future trends in turnover.

Ultimately, you can see how to solve potential turnover issues at the same time as you discover them, saving valuable time.

7. Design HR initiatives & strategies

Now, you should be ready to translate all the aims and the insights you’ve collected into actionable steps. Write objectives that relate to both the overarching business goals and your team’s needs. If you’re using a cascading goal framework like OKRs, you can tie them directly to each of your company’s aims. 

If you find the OKR methodology tricky to implement correctly, consider using Leapsome’s AI-powered OKR generation feature: Simply provide a descriptive objective as a prompt, and allow the AI tool to generate key results and initiatives tailored to your overall goal. You can then refine your choices from the generated list by selecting the most suitable key results, and include relevant and realistic deadlines and metrics for your organization.

Let’s return to our example of the organization that’s looking to expand abroad. You might establish the following objectives and key results:


  • Objective: We operate in the EU within the next two years to diversify our market presence and increase our resilience. 
  • Key result: We have five teams of 750 local hires and 250 relocated employees working across offices in London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and Rome.


  • Objective: We have full teams with the best skills, experience, and culture add to run our European offices to ensure the success of our expansion.  
  • Key result: There are ten managers from our existing offices working in our new European ones who have successfully undergone our relocation program. 
  • Initiative: We arrange meetings to discuss career opportunities with the top 30 candidates.

Any key results should be measurable so you can track your progress and see whether you’re staying on course. For instance, the metrics in the examples above are the number of people hired and successful relocations.

Once you’ve written your objectives, finalize them with leadership, department heads, and employee representatives. You’ll need to double-check that everyone is aligned on the strategy. Returning to our example, perhaps the C-suite has agreed that ten managers can relocate and employees are on board, but department heads fear that it’ll leave them short-staffed. It’s essential to address these concerns: In this instance, you could consider implementing a transitional plan that outlines how the company will manage workload and resources during the relocation period.

8. Monitor progress & review 

Your HR strategy plan doesn’t end with implementation — you need to decide how you’ll monitor how it’s going and potentially adjust your approach as your needs change and evolve.

💭 “We’ve emphasized continuous improvement since our first HR strategy. Our approaches evolved as we gained insights from experiences and integrated more comprehensive training and development programs. We also honed our communication channels: Fostering transparent dialogues with staff proved essential in understanding their changing needs. By adopting the right technology, we’ve made HR processes more efficient and user-friendly.

Our HR strategies have ensured we attract the right individuals who align with our company ethos and contribute meaningfully to our mission. We’ve seen significant benefits: increased productivity, improved teamwork, and a notable boost in our quality of service.”

— Sarah Jeffries, Managing Director,
First Aid Course Leicester

Using data analytics, you can continue to observe trends in:

  • Employee demographics
  • Recruitment and retention
  • Onboarding, training, and development
  • Engagement levels
  • Punctuality and absenteeism

Looking at the data, you can determine whether you’re seeing the expected results. For example, if you’re expanding your organization abroad, you should see changes in recruitment levels and employee demographics. You might be interested in investigating your onboarding times if you’re hiring a lot of candidates to check that training is running smoothly.

You can also use the data to evaluate how well your company has managed the changes. Retention and engagement levels are often telltale signs — if the initiatives have improved job satisfaction, you can expect an increase in both.

A screenshot of Leapsome’s data analytics tool.
Measure the success of your HR initiatives using people analytics for objective, data-driven insights

You can run surveys to get a clearer idea of employee responses toward the initiatives. When you’re managing hundreds of people over different locations, reading every answer won’t be feasible. Instead, turn answers to Likert and multiple choice questions into data to gauge your team’s overall sentiment using data analytics.

If you ask open-ended questions, you could use a tool like Leapsome’s AI survey comment summaries. Our Natural Language Processor interprets qualitative survey results to give you a deep analysis of written responses.

Screenshot of Leapsome’s AI survey comment summaries
Leapsome’s range of AI tools analyzes both quantitative and qualitative survey results to give you an insight into company-wide employee sentiment

How Leapsome enables HR professionals

A screenshot of the goal analytics tool within Leapsome’s Goals module.
Leapsome’s holistic people enablement software — complete with seven interconnected modules — works to keep your organization empowered and aligned

Human resource teams should be a vital part of any business’s big-picture strategies. With their input, organizations can strike an ideal balance between working toward ambitious company objectives and supporting team members.

To enable HR professionals to thrive as they take on more strategic roles within your organization, you need the right tools. Our people enablement platform is ideal for creating HR plans that are tailored to your specific business needs. We allow you to manage:

With Leapsome, you can easily collaborate on any human resources strategy and get data-driven insights to make the best possible decisions for your organization’s future. 

🖼️ Focus on the big picture, not the fine print

Leapsome automates data collection, survey distribution, and review cycles so you’re free to strategize.

Book a demo

Verfasst von

Leapsome Team

Written by the team at Leapsome — the all-in-one people enablement platform for driving employee engagement, performance, and learning.
Bauen Sie mit Leapsome ein leistungsstarkes und widerstandsfähiges Unternehmen auf
Fordern Sie eine Demo an

Sind Sie bereit, Ihre Strategie zur Mitarbeiterförderung zu verbessern?

Informieren Sie sich über unsere Leistungsbeurteilungen, Ziele und OKRs, Engagement-Umfragen, Onboarding und mehr.

Image of a woman in a circleFordern Sie noch heute eine Demo anImage of a man in a circleImage of a woman in a circle

Die #1 HR-Plattform für Personalentwicklung

Buchen Sie eine Demo, um zu erfahren, warum Top-Unternehmen sich für Leapsome entscheiden, um ihre Führungskräfte mit einer intelligenten HR-Plattform bei der Entwicklung, Ausrichtung und Motivation ihrer Teams zu unterstützen.

  • AI-gestützte Empfehlungen 🪄
  • Zeitersparnis durch Automatisierungen ⏱️
  • Industrie-relevante Best-practices und Benchmarks 📊


Demo anfragen

Erfahren Sie, wie Leapsome die Entwicklung, Produktivität und Bindung von Teams fördern kann.


Developers with Leapsome

Sie stärken das Engagement Ihrer Mitarbeiter und den Erfolg Ihres Unternehmens - wie andere führende Marken.

Interessiert und sprunghaft?

Unsere Produktexperten zeigen Ihnen gerne unsere Plattform oder eröffnen Sie ein Konto.

Purple transparent inverted identification card icon.
Purple transparent inverted mail icon.
Light purple and inverted ringing phone icon.
Purple transparent inverted employees icon.
Ups! Beim Absenden des Formulars ist etwas schief gelaufen.
Erfahren Sie, warum Leapsome mit
4.9/5 is rated on G2 and Capterra.