Employer Tutorial Chapter 3:
Your business strategy and people practices

Why this? Why now?

Over the past several years, HR professionals have moved away from a transactional view and toward a strategic view of HR practices. Authors such as David Ulrich and Wayne Brockbank (2005) have described how the HR profession needs to go beyond the role of passive record-keeper. Instead, the HR function should add value by playing a vital role in moving the organization toward its business goals - by translating strategic imperatives into people practices that will in turn translate into business performance and added value.


Key questions

For most organizations, making the shift from being transactional to being strategic involves paying attention to talent. In making this shift, a key task for HR professionals involves translating strategic goals into talent and human performance imperatives. HR professionals are called upon to give answers to key questions.

  • Will we be able to get, develop, deploy, and retain talent?
  • Do we have enough talent in our pipeline to meet our strategic goals in the future?
  • Will we have the right people in the right place at the right time doing the right things?
  • How can we align our people practices with our business strategies?

Graphic of two boxes illustrating Transactional View vs. Strategic View of People Practices

What does the shift from a transactional to a strategic view of HR practices mean for disability inclusiveness? In the past, we have largely viewed disability issues as transactional in nature rather than as strategic. That is, when many employers think about disability, they often think about transactional tasks, such as record keeping and documentation. Disability issues are often relegated to functions far removed from the core strategic work of the organization: the legal department, the employee assistance program, or medical records.


Preparing for the workforce of tomorrow

Yet, given current workforce trends, being prepared for the workforce of tomorrow means making a shift from being transactional to being strategic. And having in place disability-inclusive workplace practices will become a key part of this shift.

What do transactional versus strategic disability HR practices look like? In the diagram below, elements of a transactional versus a strategic view of disability people practice are shown.

Graphic of two boxes illustrating Transactional View vs. Strategic View of People Practices

A key purpose of this toolkit is to provide the framework and tools to shift toward a more strategic approach to disability people practices. Your business/organization will still need to perform the transactional functions of keeping records and creating reports. But to position yourself for upcoming business and workforce changes, you will also need to become strategic - you will need to craft disability inclusive talent management practices to acquire, develop, and retain the full range of talent available to you.




Ulrich, D., Brockbank, W. (2005). The HR Value Proposition. Harvard Business School Publishing: Boston, MA.