Topic Business Performance,

Short Term vs Long Term HR Strategy: The Most Important Difference

Short Term vs Long Term HR Strategy: The Most Important Difference

Companies and employees create short- and long-term objectives to assist them in monitoring their progress in the workplace. To successfully handle these issues, it's essential to understand the differences between short-term and long-term human resources goals. Your HR team will always be ready for everything if they know how to adopt the right approach. In this article, we'll define the types of human resource strategies and how these concepts differ. 

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What Is HR Strategy?

A Human Resources (HR) strategy is a comprehensive plan that outlines an organization's approach to managing its employees and their development to achieve its goals. It involves aligning HR practices with the overall business strategy and aims to maximize employee performance and productivity.

An effective HR strategy typically includes several key components, such as talent acquisition and retention, employee development and training, compensation and benefits, employee relations, and organizational culture. It involves understanding the needs of the organization and its employees, assessing the current HR environment, and designing and implementing solutions to address any gaps or challenges.

A well-defined HR strategy helps organizations attract and retain the best talent, build a strong company culture, and improve employee engagement and job satisfaction. It also supports the achievement of business objectives by ensuring that the workforce is aligned with the organization's goals and values.

What Is Short-Term HR Strategy?

Short-term HR strategies help HR departments stay on top of all existing HR duties while focusing on solving more pressing HR issues. An issue in HR that is currently occurring and cannot be predicted is referred to as an immediate problem. Planning for short-term human resources goals can reduce some of the long-term issues that these short-term challenges could otherwise create. 

Planning for the near future is a quantifiable activity performed to carry out the strategy that management and the rest of the business have decided upon. The SMART formula (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-based) can apply to short-term human resource planning . Some Examples of short-term HR goals include:

  • Employee relations
  • Staffing strategy
  • Workforce management
  • Employee retention program
  • Onboarding procedures
  • Compensation structure
  • Labor law compliance

What Is Long-Term HR Strategy?

A long-term HR strategy entails preparing for potential issues that may or may not actually occur in the future. Regardless of how likely or unlikely an HR issue is to arise, it's often a good idea to have a long-term HR strategy in place to address each potential problem.

Long-term planning shows how your company can be successful over an extended period of time. Because a management team requires agreement when setting long-term planning objectives, those objectives are less likely to be changed once established.

Addressing the problem of voluntary workforce turnover is one example of a long-term HR strategy. It is vital to have a plan in place to ensure that a suitable successor immediately fills the vacuum they leave because employees frequently depart a firm at some time. Setting up a successful staff hiring program would be part of a long-term HR strategy in this situation, whether or not the business is currently employing. Other examples of long-term hr goals include:

  • Organizational culture
  • Employee engagement
  • Succession planning
  • HR technology

When Do Long-Term Problems Become Short-Term Problems?

Long-term HR issues become short-term when they become a certainty. If their occurrence is inevitable, it's crucial to have a strategy in place to deal with them before they spiral out of control.

For instance, managing prospective voluntary turnover is a long-term issue until an individual quits the business, in which case the HR team would be in charge of swiftly locating a suitable replacement worker. Without a strategy, the hiring process may be challenging and protracted, resulting in lower production and slowing down the business.

In some situations, the line separating short-term problems from long-term problems might be blurry. For instance, the long-term issue of voluntary turnover can become more urgent if the HR staff needs to prepare for an employee who has given notice that they will leave the company within the next six months. Ultimately, improving employee engagement can be a short-term or long-term challenge depending on the viewpoint.

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Why Differentiate Between Short and Long-Term Strategy?

While you may simply want to develop general HR strategies to handle various issues, you'll benefit from separating short-term issues from long-term ones and their respective types of human resource strategies. Here are a few reasons why it is crucial to differentiate between short and long-term strategy:

Goal Setting 

Short-term strategy usually focuses on achieving immediate goals, while long-term strategy aims to achieve long-term objectives. When you differentiate between the two, you can set specific goals and targets for each strategy, which can help you measure progress and success more effectively.

Resource Allocation 

Short-term strategy typically requires more immediate resources, while the long-term strategy may require more significant investments of time, money, and effort. By understanding the difference between the two, you can allocate resources more effectively to ensure that you make the most of your available resources and meet your strategic goals.

Risk Management

Short-term strategy usually involves less uncertainty and risk than long-term strategy. When you differentiate between the two, you can better manage the risks associated with each strategy and develop contingency plans to mitigate potential challenges and obstacles.

Decision Making

Differentiating between short and long-term strategies can help you make better decisions. Short-term strategy often involves quick decisions that must be made with limited information and time, while long-term strategy requires more thorough analysis and evaluation. Understanding the difference between the two can help you make informed decisions aligning with your strategic objectives.


By differentiating between short and long-term strategies, you can be more adaptable to changes and shifts in the market, industry, or environment. A short-term strategy may require more flexibility and agility, while a long-term strategy may require more stability and consistency. Understanding the difference between the two can help you adapt your strategy to changing circumstances and stay ahead of the curve.

Develop Effective HR Strategies for Every Situation Through Differentiation

If you want your business to remain consistently prepared and avoid potential HR disasters, you don't necessarily need to differentiate HR strategies into short- and long-term. However, this differentiation will enable you to think about problems from different perspectives and plan for issues on different timeframes. As you look at problems in different ways, you'll be able to understand them better, develop the best strategies to handle them, and improve prioritization.

The No B.S. Guide to Human Resources Strategy for Business Performance

Jason Randall

Jason Randall

Jason L. Randall is the CEO of The Questco Companies. He regularly speaks on topics related to strategy, growth, and organizational performance.