Getting the best performance from your people: 10 steps to developing your company’s people plan.

We consistently hear from leaders, CEOs and business owners that people are the number one thing they worry about the most. Can you identify with that? Do you lay awake at night thinking about whether you have enough resource to deliver for your customers? Or whether your marketing team is up to the challenge of growing your brand? Or your sales team’s capability to secure new clients? Or whether Brian and Joan’s ongoing feud over the teabags is going to spill over into the wider team?
The challenges that leaders face around their people can be varied, but in ur experience the majority of them can be handled a lot more effectively with a decent plan and some key activity.
You see the chances are you will have some resignations over the coming months, so if resource is something you’re particularly concerned about, doing some analysis of previous leaver numbers and also getting feedback from your people on how happy they are in their roles, will give you a starting point in terms of activity. Leaver numbers help predict where your leavers will come from, and feedback will help determine what you can do in the short, medium and long term to increase your people’s enjoyment in their roles.
People ‘stuff’ can sometimes feel like something to be placed in the too difficult pile, but will a little bit of planning, it’s not so hard to feel more in control, so let’s walk through our 10 steps to building your people and HR plan.

1. Understand the Business Strategy:

Now this may seem obvious, but before you start planning what to do with your people, you need an overall business / department strategy. Start by planning the key objectives, goals, and priorities for your area, and from that you can start thinking what that means for your people.
Do you plan to grow? In which case do you need more resource in certain areas? Are there certain skills you need more of? Can they be developed through training, or do you need to buy them in through new roles? Or perhaps some specialist consultants can support if a permanent resource isn’t needed? This is the starting point for your people planning.

2. Carry out a SWOT Analysis:

Performing a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) of your organisation’s current people capabilities is an effective starting point for understanding your current people offering and experiences.
Spend some time identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your current HR practices, as well as any opportunities or threats that could impact your success through your people.

3. Ask for employee feedback:

Asking for feedback is a key step in understanding what your people enjoy and don’t enjoy about working in your company / department. Often leaders and HRs make lots of assumptions about employee opinion and experiences, then they set off putting in place all kinds of activity, when actually they’re focused on all the wrong things.
With so many cost effective and easy to use survey tools on the market (we like SurveyMonkey), it’s easy to get meaningful data, as well as anecdotal feedback from your people to help build your HR plan and activity.

4. Set objectives and KPIs:

In order to make your people plan really relevant, determine what success looks like for your organisation and it’s people; that way you know whether your plan has been effective. For example if it’s to reduce employee turnover (volume of leavers), then set a goal around this.

5. Identify HR activity and initiatives:

Once you have all your intel (e.g. employee feedback and your SWOT analysis), identify the activity and initiatives that will help you achieve them. For example, if one of your objectives is to improve employee retention, your activity could include implementing a comprehensive onboarding programme, offering competitive pay and benefits, and providing opportunities for career development.

6. Develop your action plan:

For each area of focus, develop your actions that outline the specific steps, timelines, and responsibilities for implementation. Be sure to include your KPIs to measure the success of each initiative. Your KPIs need to be measurable and meaningful, so something like volume of leavers, time to hire, or sickness rates.

7. Allocate ownership:

Determine who will own each action in your plan and ensure they understand the drivers for the action and the KPIs. Plot out the deadlines for delivery of the activity and get full agreement from the owner.

8. Communicate and engage:

Communicate your people plan to all your people and stakeholders to ensure buy-in and alignment. This planning and activity is all super positive news for your teams, so make sure you shout about what you’re going to be doing and use it as an opportunity to showcase how committed you are to creating a place that your people love to work!

9. Monitor and Evaluate:

Plot some milestones in your people plan to check in on progress and ensure momentum. It’s key that colleagues see and feel traction in order for them to remain engaged, so checking that activity is on track across all areas of the plan is crucial.

Use your KPIs and feedback tools (surveys or focus groups are straightforward to facilitate) to track the success of your activity and make adjustments as needed. Gain feedback from your people and other stakeholders across the organisation to ensure your people plan is meeting their needs and expectations.

10. Review and update:

Like all business plans, they can quickly become irrelevant if the overall business strategy changes. This may happen if external factors influence the direction of the business, so be sure to review your people plan regularly to ensure it still meets the company’s needs and is aligned to it’s ongoing strategy.
And there you have it, 10 steps to building your people plan. This will help you to get in control of your employee’s experience within your organisation and to minimise the negative impact of any people issues on your company’s growth.
If you’d like support with building your people plan, or any element of your team’s employee experience, our team of friendly and expert HR consultants specialise in providing HR without the blah blah blah.
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