20 Questions That Will Guide A Strategic HR Discussion


So you’ve got a seat at the table. Now what? Often HR partners get to the proverbial table, but really struggle to join the strategic dialog for a variety of reasons. It is tough when you’re not running a P&L or in the trenches every day; but elevating the conversation from the HR seat is a sure-fire way to stay relevant and ensure that you keep adding value and get what you need to contribute to the business and do your job effectively.

The following are questions you can ask in order to begin a true strategic conversation:

  1. How confident are we that our existing strategy will drive the desired results?
  2. What is our ‘blue ocean’?
  3. What capabilities does the organization have to have to deliver the business strategy? (notice, I did not say, competencies…you’re look for organization capabilities)
  4. Which positions are absolutely critical to delivering results for each function?
  5. Who are our most valuable players and why? Are they in the critical positions?
  6. What will this organization need to be good at in 2-3 years?
  7. What are we doing to build that today?
  8. What are our biggest investment priorities (time, resources, people)?
  9. Will those investments drive the capabilities we need today and in 2-3 years?
  10. Do we have any positions that are focused on ‘doing business with ourselves’? Why?
  11. What is our ratio of reliable professionals vs. growth drivers? Does it serve us?
  12. Can we document the flow of a product from ideation to delivery? A customer from acquisition to service? Who touches it? Are we consistent?
  13. What are we hearing from our customers?
  14. Can we define our customer (internal or external) interfaces? Which are working? Which need improvement?
  15. Is our structure aligned to deliver the capabilities required to drive our strategy? Where is it not aligned?
  16. Who owns the customer relationship?
  17. What can be done to improve the work that goes on between departments at the director and manager level?
  18. What feedback are we hearing from our employees?
  19. Do we have the right number of priorities? Do we stick to them? Do we ever take priorities off the plate?
  20. What support do you most need from HR to meet your business goals?

What questions have helped you develop a valuable HR discussion?