Having a methodology or process to develop a human capital strategy is essential. It is similar to the strategic planning process that shapes and results in the organization's strategic plan. For example, the steps in the knowledge management methodology are to identify knowledge, capture knowledge, share knowledge, apply knowledge, and create knowledge. Ultimately, based on these steps, a knowledge management strategy is developed that could include systematically capturing critical knowledge, creating a unified knowledge network, and strengthening incentives to reuse knowledge for building and nurturing a knowledge sharing culture.
What steps, process, or methodology should be followed to create a human capital strategy? The first step is to understand the organization's strategy, goals, values, and guiding principles to be sure that the human capital strategy is in direct alignment with the organization's strategy, mission, and vision. Next, a crossfunctional team may be created to develop the human capital strategy. The chair of the team could be the human resources director, chief human capital officer, chief knowledge officer, strategic planning officer, or the like. Once the team is assembled, a data collection effort should commence to collect relevant organizational documents, plans, policies, guidelines, and studies that may be pertinent to the human capital strategic effort. Additionally, benchmarking what other comparable organizations have done in the human capital arena and identifying best practices in human capital strategic planning from industry, government, and academe should be accomplished. Then, employee surveys and focus groups with relevant stakeholders (e.g., employees, management, retirees, unions, etc.) should be conducted. Based upon this input, a draft human capital strategy should be developed and should be briefed to senior management or a human capital steering committee for their input. The human capital strategy and plan should then be revised and presented to various stakeholders throughout the organization for their feedback. Once accomplished, the final version of the human capital strategy and plan should be made and briefed to the executive council of the organization, to be followed by presentations to "all-hands" in the organization.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) had a well-organized approach for developing its human capital strategy. A human capital working group (HCWG), comprised of representatives across the directorates, was chartered by the center director to develop the human capital strategy for GSFC. A human capital steering committee, made up of representatives from the executive council, was formed in which the HCWG shared and consulted with the steering committee. An outside consulting firm, well-versed in developing human capital strategies for the government, also helped in guiding the HCWG. Weekly meetings of the HCWG were held, then an extensive data collection effort was undertaken. A working definition for human capital was developed and agreed to by the HCWG, human capital steering committee, executive council, and center director. Existing human resource and workforce planning studies previously conducted at GSFC, as well as documents and presentations of agency-related human capital efforts, were gathered and reviewed. Interim briefings on the status of the HCWG's progress were given by the HCWG to the human capital steering committee and executive council. Focus groups, numbering eleven or so, were set up to get input on a draft human capital strategy from the various stakeholders at GSFC (e.g., GSFC engineers and scientists, professional and administrative employees, wage earners, employees at affiliated GSFC facilities, unions, etc.). This input from the focus groups helped to refine the human capital strategy, and then briefings were given to the center director, human capital steering committee, executive council, and all-hands.
Once the human capital strategy was developed and agreed to by those at GSFC, the next step entailed fleshing out the component parts of the strategy and then developing an implementation plan for the human capital strategy. In the next chapter, we will take a look at the necessary parts of such a human capital strategy.