The strategic management team of most companies consists of senior executives from key business areas such as finance, operations, and sales. These are the senior executives generally considered to be most familiar with the inner workings of a company and its customers and, as such, have the ear of the president and/or chief executive officer. However, the senior managers in charge of a company's most expensive asset, its employees, are often overlooked on the strategic management team. Human resources managers must think strategically and demonstrate how focusing on staffing and talent needs is critical to the company's ability to achieve its strategic objectives.
In the past, human resources was viewed as a service-delivery function. Services included recruiting employees, administering payroll and benefits, recordkeeping, legal compliance, and handling other employee-related matters. These services are time-intensive, so traditionally it was difficult for human resources professionals to focus on strategic goals and objectives at the organizationwide level. However, as outsourcing and automation of the service functions increase, human resources professionals need to transform their thinking and focus on how human capital strategies can be incorporated into the long-term goals and objectives of the company. This means understanding goals and objectives and then putting in place the strategies to attract, hire, train, and retain employees with the skills and experience the company needs.