How an HR Swot Analysis Can Help with Your HR Planning

SWOT Analysis

An HR SWOT analysis is a strategic activity performed by the HR team and is a thorough analysis of the internal and external factors affecting Human Resources in your organization.  Conducting a SWOT analysis will help you understand your organization’s current position leading you to decisions and prioritization for improvements. Begin by using the SWOT matrix to document your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats impacting your business and its people.  Focus on the most impactful ideas and avoid a long, overly detailed list.  Instead keep your SWOT analysis short, simple, and objective.

The internal factors to be taken into consideration include financial, cultural, physical infrastructure, and human resources. Examples of external factors are new technologies, changes in legislation, new or existing competitors, and the economy.  The strengths and weaknesses identified are internal factors within the company which can be controlled while the opportunities and threats are external elements that are generally out of your direct control.

HR goals should align with the overall goals of the organization and the HR team should play a vital role in supporting the company’s strategic plan. Applying a SWOT analysis will provide you with insight and guidance to effectively create and prioritize your HR strategy.  Reviewing the detail within the analysis will also help your management team understand and align on your collective view of the current situation and therefore the reasoning behind the strategy. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will assist you in both short and long-term planning and will help you find solutions for your challenges.  Your identified opportunity areas should guide you to important actions. Similarly, detailing existing or potential threats to your business will highlight risks and help prioritize mitigation measures.

Questions you can ask yourself when conducting an HR SWOT analysis:

Strengths:
  • What are some of the major accomplishments that HR has made in your organization?
  • What are your areas of success or best practices that have been implemented and are currently working well?
  • Do you have a competitive recruitment edge by offering something unique or different?
  • What makes your HR department terrific?
Weaknesses:
  • What areas in HR are you performing poorly?
  • Are there tools, equipment, and resources that you are lacking?
  • Is your employer brand strong or is it weak as this can affect how candidates view your organization as an employer of choice. Consider the strengths of your career website.
  • Are there internal elements that make it hard for HR to achieve its goals?
Other internal factors to review and evaluate:
  • Is your compensation package competitive? This can have a significant impact on attracting candidates and maintaining employee satisfaction.
  • Does the company’s training and development programs address the specific needs of your employees thereby promoting continuous learning and development?
  • Does the organization have a strong workplace culture? Employees who work within a strong workplace culture will most likely work harder and go the extra mile. They will remain loyal and will certainly be more productive.
  • Is your workforce diverse to help foster innovation and creativity?
  • Do you periodically conduct employee satisfaction surveys to determine your strengths and weaknesses? Do you consistently follow through on these efforts?
  • Is the company adequately staffed or are employees feeling overwhelmed with their workload?
  • In general, how is employee churn within your organization and how is it perceived? Are there specific departments that are more susceptible to turnover, and if so, why?
  • Does the company have succession plans in place to provide stability?
Opportunities:
  • What external factors can help you improve your HR success? If the company is likely to grow in the next few years, this may require additional HR support and more skilled employees.
  • Will there be a need for additional training and development for your current employees and who in the organization can provide coaching and mentoring?
  • Is there HR technology that can help automate some of the repetitive tasks like keeping payroll records, timesheets, candidate screening, etc. This will allow HR to focus on strategic improvement.
  • Can the company offer remote work opportunities? For many employees, the option to work from home is an attractive benefit as it offers them work-life balance.
Threats:
  • Are there other companies whose HR department have an advantage over you by providing unique perspectives and best practices?
  • How will AI impact your team going forward? How can this be anticipated, and negative impacts managed.
  • Are your competitors offering better pay, perks, and benefits, and how does this affect your recruitment efforts and employee retention?
  • Is there any pending or planned legislation that may impact your policies, training requirements, or other areas of compliance?
  • Are your candidates and employees expecting remote working arrangements and how do you keep up with evolving expectations without putting the company at risk?

HR SWOT analysis template and example:

Strengths
Weaknesses
  • Skilled and knowledgeable HR leadership
  • A workforce that is culturally diverse     
  • Low turnover
  • Strong employee engagement
  • Clear and comprehensive HR policies
  • Good company culture
  •  Long tenured employees

  • Limited budget for training and development initiatives
  • Limited time to implement HR initiatives
  • No structured salary band system in place
  • Lack of HR digitization
  • Inconsistent performance management process
  • Outdated job descriptions
  • Lack of succession planning
Opportunities
Threats
  • Workforce growth
  • Implementation of HR technology
  • Understanding the needs of multi-generational employees
  • Creating personnel development plans
  • Identifying areas to improve employee rewards and benefits
  • Implementing wellness programs
  • Revising the recruitment strategy
  • Implementing AI technologies for efficiency or improvements
  • Regulatory changes affecting HR practices
  • Different multicultural needs and expectations
  • Lack of skilled workers in highly specialized roles of the company
  • Economic downturn affecting salary budgets
  •  Competitors offering flexible work opportunities
  •  Increased cyber attacks
  • Rising costs of health insurance
  • Negative impact of AI (perceived or actual)

What do you need to do after completing your HR SWOT analysis?

A thorough HR SWOT analysis gives you insight and a common understanding into internal and external factors which should then play a significant role in defining and prioritizing your strategic and tactical action plan. After you have compiled your HR SWOT data, the next step is to select 3-5 key items in your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats and set some goals for improvement.  You can then build a tactical action plan and timeline for each and include people that will help you in the process. Set deadlines to ensure timely execution and monitor progress consistently along the way. 

Conducting an HR SWOT analysis may initially seem to be a complicated and challenging task but with the right approach and technique you will be able to build an effective HR planning tool.  For more tips and advice contact Bridge Legal and HR Solutions (647) 794-5442 or at admin@bridgelegalhr.ca 

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