Managers must address a variety of strategic workplace issues on a regular basis. These issues may vary from department to department. For example, the human resource department may face workplace issues such as wage and hours concerns, harassment, safety and compliance and discrimination. However, most specific strategic workplace issues, no matter what the department, fall into a few general categories which may be relatively easy to address with proper planning.
Managers often get mired in the day-to-day issues of the workplace and forget to engage in planning to combat issues long term. These immediate issues may involve simply completing tasks and meeting deadlines. While these operational issues are not the same as strategic issues, proper strategic planning can combat them.
Strategic Vs. Operational
Managers must understand the difference between operational and strategic workplace issues. Operational issues include those day-to-day tasks such as combating technical or network problems that may keep workers from meeting a particular deadline. Strategic workplace issues involve larger issues such as corporate culture, which may impact the organization’s ability to consistently meet deadlines over the long term. According to the PlanWare website on strategic management, strategic workplace issues are those which may be combated through “visionary, conceptual and directional” management while operational issues are “likely to be shorter term, tactical [and] focused.”
Specific strategic workplace issues involve such elements as the organization’s values, vision and mission. Goals and objectives are also strategic issues, as are the specific programs the organization uses to combat these strategic workplace issues. The SWOT analysis identifies the organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, while the PEST analysis identifies external Political, Economic, Social and Technological factors which affect the organization’s ability to achieve its long-term objectives.
The strategic management process typically begins with a review of the organization’s mission statement to ensure it properly addresses organizational leaders’ vision for the organization. Objectives and goals are then set with the intent of aligning operational activities with the overall mission. Organizational leaders analyze the current situation of the business in comparison with its desired position and then develop specific policies and procedures designed to close that gap.