As businesses work to differentiate their products or services, grow the bottom line, and expand globally, they need to think seriously about the important role that their employees play in helping the business achieve successful outcomes. Businesses must invest in processes and technology to recruit and onboard the best people, address performance gaps with key learning activities, provide career development plans, and align pay with performance. Activities like human resource management (HRM) deployment in the cloud and the use of mobile and social technologies for HRM processes catapult HR to the cutting edge of innovation.

Forrester has just launched the Human Resources Management Playbook, a body of research that focuses on the people in your organization and provides a roadmap to becoming that innovative HR organization. These 12 playbook documents provide guidance starting with the evolving trends, the technology developments, and the vendor landscape. It then looks at planning your business and technology strategies, deployment options, and the importance of aligning these to the overall business strategies. When clients are ready to start the execution, the playbook guides thinking around effective delivery, innovation of HRM processes, and decisions on choosing the right solutions in the core HRMS as well as recruiting, learning and talent management. Businesses want to make sure organizations get value from their investments; the playbook addresses employee skills and competency growth and the success of HR in helping to drive business goals. This emphasis on investing in people means tremendous change and the HR playbook wouldn't be complete without addressing the change process from the people perspective. People are not fond of change — they like to keep doing what have been successful doing — and new approaches bring uncertainty and insecurity. The playbook provides concrete guidelines for helping employee accept and then embrace this business change.

As a coauthor of this playbook with my colleague Paul Hamerman, I encourage you to delve into our research and follow the building process of creating a strong HRM solution in your organization. You may select specific topics that address your specific need in this journey or you may follow the playbook order to assure that you address all critical topics. Let us know your reactions and how we can provide additional assistance.