As Sir Winston Churchill said "He who fails to plan is planning to fail." Planning is everything. Fail to plan and you’ll fail to succeed. Planning (and the clarity that comes with it) will help you prioritise your investment of time, resources and money. Perhaps even more importantly, it gives your team a clear understanding of both the end goal and the strategies they’ll need to adopt if the business is to achieve this goal.
A clear plan makes the decision-making process so much easier. Does an action fit into the short-term or the long-term plan? If not, what is its purpose? If its purpose isn’t aligned with the company’s plan and vision, it’s almost certainly an unnecessary distraction. It goes without saying that you need to be flexible, adaptable and responsive when you’re dealing with market changes. However, this always needs to be done with the bigger picture in mind.
Putting a plan in place
1. Preparing a business plan
Before developing your people and culture plan, you’ll need a business plan to guide the way.
It is imperative that the business has an overarching business plan. It’s best if you can summarise the plan on a single page – like the One-Page Strategic Plan and Vision Summary that many CEOs in Australia use from Verne Harnish’s book Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don't (Rockefeller Habits 2.0).
2. Preparing a people and culture plan
To implement the business plan, each team in your business will need to assess and plan what they need to do. A people and culture plan is an absolute essential component of any business that wants to meet its goals. To develop your people and culture plan, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of the business requirements and, more particularly, you’ll need to know exactly how your workforce is going to help the organisation achieve its business goals.
If done right, a people and culture plan will align employer and employee goals. Is your goal to enter new markets or open an interstate office? Are you planning to sell off a low-performing division? These major strategic actions are sure to impact your people. Just as your business plan will guide you and your organisation through these changes and others like them, your people and culture plan will ensure that your people connect to the organisation in loyalty-producing ways, following you to the ends of the earth if necessary.
There are key inputs you’ll want to consider when developing your people and culture plan, including:
- Start with the business plan by considering what the goals of the business are and how your people are going to help you achieve these goals.
- Conduct a comprehensive employer audit that examines how your business manages and motivates its employees.
- Consider the leadership capability and capacity within the business.
- Collect and utilise customer feedback to assess what changes need to be considered for your workforce.
- Make sure you thoroughly understand your legal requirements when it comes to your people and workplaces.
- Frequently seeking feedback from your people (often accomplished through employee surveys) will provide valuable information on the current state of your leadership and culture and what you could do to improve them.
3. Strategies for the people and culture plan
The people and culture and plan will cover the same duration as your business plan; most often a 12-month period. It may include any or all the following strategies:
- Training & Development
- Reward & Recognition
- Health & Wellbeing
- Internal Communication
Your people and culture plan should include a description of your organisational structure, including your workforce capabilities, capability gaps, the number of employees you intend to hire, how you will manage them, and your estimated workforce costs.
If you don’t yet have a complete team in place when you write your plan, that’s fine. Simply use the people and culture plan to outline the organisational structure you plan to establish. This should include job descriptions and responsibilities and recruiting strategies. As overwhelming as it may be to contemplate these strategies and their costs in the early stages, keep in mind that in a competitive labour market your business will need to entice high-quality employees and, more importantly, you will need to keep them motivated and productive.
Whether you are starting a new business or growing an established one, planning should precede action. Put a thoroughly considered plan in place and it’s far more likely that the destination you have in mind is the one you’ll arrive at.
For advice on preparing a People and Culture plan please contact Harrison Human Resources.