Most businesses rely on dedicated, hardworking people to succeed. When they’re invested in the company’s success, employees feel a personal sense of achievement when they land a big client or seal the deal of a century. In order to achieve this mutual benefit, it’s important that you align your people strategy with your growth strategy.

When business success and personal success are intertwined, organizations can harness the full potential of their talented teams and drive the business forward from the bottom up. How do you achieve this balance? Training is expensive, both in budget and in time. Creating a program of perks and benefits doesn’t directly lead to increased sales or the development of new products.

Aligning your people strategy with your growth strategy means putting your people at the heart of your business and will help you achieve the success you’re looking for.

Why Is a People Strategy Important?

The combined impact of aging populations and scarcity of in-demand skills have led to a talent crisis. In fact, in 2017, 92% of organizations expected the war for talent to increase over the next year, according to research by Mercer.

Recent Gallup research found that 60% of millennials are open to a new job, even if they aren’t actively searching for one. Researchers estimated that this high rate of millennial turnover costs the American economy about $30.5 billion each year.

Employees aren’t assets any more. They are investors of time, energy and talent. If you don’t put people at the heart of your business strategy, they will go somewhere that does.

Forward-thinking businesses are restructuring their strategic planning in order to make people an integral part of business growth. These organizations shape their plans to meet the needs of their workforce, with the understanding that their most important competitive advantage is their ability to attract and retain the right people.

Aligning People With Growth

Starting with the premise that your talent will drive your business growth, the first step is to create an environment that is attractive to employees. Depending on their needs and their role, that environment will vary.

For example, creatives want the freedom to express themselves. Career-driven people want opportunities to prove themselves and climb the ladder. Analytical employees want interesting problems to solve. Recent graduates want to learn, while older professionals might want responsibility and flexible working.

Find out what matters most to the people in your business, and create incentives that satisfy those needs. The key is to help more people become invested in their role at the organization.

From this foundation, build a business structure that encourages personal growth and development, with opportunities to apply learning to the business. In addition to training and guidance, explore business opportunities that challenge teams and give them the chance to use the skills they develop.

Aligning Your Business Vision With Your People

Synchronizing your growth strategy and people strategy means coming at it from both sides. To this end, it’s important to make sure you’re clearly communicating the business’ vision.

You can do so in a variety of ways, including presentations and speeches, mentoring, or team building exercises. The key is to be clear, concise and honest about the vision and the path you will take to achieve it.

This communication keeps staff on the same page, gives them the opportunity to share input on the direction of the business, and helps them develop a deeper feeling of investment in the business’ success.

Creating a People Culture

A people culture reinforces an organization’s foundations as a people-focused business. Listen to employees’ needs, acknowledge them and act on them.

Great people managers are the critical missing link to building a great organizational culture. Encourage great people management by including it in managers’ key performance indicators. If leaders don’t buy into a people culture, don’t expect employees or stakeholders to. Too often, leaders know what it takes for the team to succeed but don’t hold themselves to higher or even the same standards.

It’s one thing to say you want a great culture; it’s another to mindfully shape people’s thoughts and beliefs around this vision. Get people excited, proud and appreciative of the culture. Enlist them, empower them and encourage them.

In order for scale and expansion to happen, companies must connect their people strategy with their business goals and growth strategy. HR’s contribution in this area is crucial. All the data, training and people management live in the human resources and training departments, and you’ll need all of it to align your people strategy closer to your business strategy. It’s time to move the talent functions from the periphery of the organization and make them the heart of your business.