New Use for an Old HR Tool

Sally Lanyon, Consultant

Sally Lanyon, Consultant

Organizations don't run without people.

Human Resources (HR) has been transitioning from focusing on administration and compliance to participating as a strategic member of the corporate leadership team. To be prepared for this changing role, an HR department that is focused on the future should have an HR Strategic Plan.

The focus of this article is on how to create an HR Strategic Plan using a simple tool used in software development and quality/process improvement initiatives - an IPO chart. No, not an Initial Public Offering, but an INPUTS - PROCESS -OUTPUTS chart.

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While it seems logical to start at the left of the chart, the INPUTS, then follow the arrows to the right, this tool actually works best by starting with the OUTPUTS first, the INPUTS second and the PROCESS third.

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As with any journey, it is important to know the destination before heading out. The OUTPUTS for the HR Strategic Plan include a documented plan that is comprehensive yet focused. The plan includes subset plans and tools that drive the implementation.


Next you determine and gather the information needed for the journey. The INPUTS are comprised of the company's vision, mission, values, business strategy, goals and key business metrics and as well as industry knowledge.


The PROCESS is where the magic happens. HR leaders use the documents in their INPUTS list and work with the other leaders in the organization to interpret the documents in terms of the implications for people needs, both immediate and longer term. With the results of these conversations, the task of organizing, linking and documenting HR processes begins. The result is the HR Strategic Plan.

Having an HR Strategic Plan is critical to your organization's success. The consequence of not having one is like driving from Tucson to Travers City without a map. You may or may not reach your destination.

Strategy1 can guide you through the IPO process.  Contact us today to support your success.