Human resources (HR) and Accounting are both crucial areas in most companies, yet they often operate in silos, functioning independently. But more and more businesses are realizing this practice needs to change, and there’s a growing recognition of the critical role that employees play in the financial success or failure of a company.
Under the traditional business model, employees were often considered an expense. The cost of salaries, benefits, hiring, and firing received much more attention than the critical contributions that employees made to the company. Now, as companies better recognize the role that employees play in business success, things like employee output, knowledge, creativity, and problem solving are valued more highly and are seen as critical revenue-producing or profit-contributing assets.
When forming a new company, discussions often focus on vision, profitability, and strategy. These conversations typically result in a clear definition of the problem the business is attempting to solve. In these early stages, it’s also common to draft plans to target potential customers. But goals for supply, demand, and sales are only part of a successful strategy.
A more comprehensive business plan also needs to include several considerations traditionally thought of as HR issues: hiring strategies, employee development and retention programs, and efforts to ensure the right people are placed on the right teams with strategic, aligned management. It’s also important to define what success looks like in both financial and human terms.
The alignment of people with strategy also extends to the interactions between the business and external clients.
When developing effective advertising campaigns, marketing executives often begin by defining their audience. Apply this same type of exercise when developing or updating business plans. In this case, the goal is to determine the traits of an ideal client.
The personalities of clients are important. Good relationships often occur when companies align themselves with organizations that share similar visions, cultures, and values. Locating partners based on these traits can be as important as economic factors. If, as part of the sales process, leaders come across people they like, that same appreciation and respect will likely carry over in serving the client. If a company’s employees are considered a critical asset, it should be important to locate clients with a similar mind-set.