My People what? That’s right, your People Plan, the key part of your business strategy that will help you achieve your vision for 2020, your 2020 Vision if you will. You don’t have one? Don’t worry you’re not alone, many small businesses don’t have a solid People Plan in place, rather a wider vision often simply to grow a profitable and sustainable business and to take the necessary actions to achieve this. For your business this might mean selling more services to your existing clients, generating new clients, diversifying your services or acquiring other small businesses. Whatever your growth strategy, you need people to help you get there. And a plan!
So why is a People Plan important?
What do you need to win new business? to deliver your services? To retain your clients? You guessed it, People.
Not just People. People who are there at the right time, in the right place, with the right skill set, with shared values, who not only understand but share your vision and are motivated to achieve your business goals. People who are not only skilled for the ‘here and now’ but are sufficiently skilled to develop as your business grows.
Whatever your strategy, whether it is to grow, diversify or simply to be more profitable. Ask yourself the following questions, for the present and when considering your future plans…
· Do you have the right number of people?
· Do you have a recruitment strategy to expand your team at the right time?
· Are your people in the right place, both in terms of role and location?
· Do your people have the right skill set to meet present and future demands?
· Do you have a plan in place to upskill or maintain the skills of your people?
· Are your people working efficiently?
· Do your people understand your vision and are they engaged with your strategy?
· Do you have underperformers and if so, an exit plan?
· Do you have a succession plan in place for key roles?
How you answer these questions will shape your People Plan. Your plan doesn’t need to be complicated, in fact it can be as detailed or as basic as you like, the main thing is that you are starting to align your people to your strategy and consciously making proactive, people focussed decisions rather than having to act reactively.
What are the risks of failing to plan?
This will depend on the size and nature of your business, for some it could make the difference between achieving your vision or not, for others it may be merely a minor inconvenience or a bit of extra cost or stress you could do without, but either way it’s a good idea to have one! Below are some of potential consequences of not having a robust People Plan in place:
· You may not be able to deliver for your clients.
· You may lose existing clients by stretching resources to meet new client demands.
· Increased recruitment costs due to last minute demands.
· Poor hiring decisions due to urgently needing to fill roles.
· Lack of employee engagement, effecting productivity and morale.
· Increased employee turnover.
· Increased training costs.
· Unnecessary overheads due to inefficient structures and processes.
· Exposure if key team members are lost.
There’s a lot to think about, right? And when you come to mobilising that long sought-after contract, the last thing you want to be worried about is last minute demands to get the right people in the right place to deliver for you and hoping that your underperformer will suddenly pull out all the stops to make it a success (they won’t, by the way). A good People Plan will include the following areas:
· Resourcing/ Recruitment
· Skills/ Development
· Succession/ Exit Planning
So, look ahead at your 2020 Vision, look at your current resource, capabilities and risks and devise a People Plan which is completely aligned to your business strategy. In doing so, you can ensure you’re in the best possible place to win new contracts, deliver for your clients and grow your business.
If you would like to find out more about People Planning and the positive impact it will have on your business, I am delighted to offer owners of small businesses (new customers only) a FREE People Planning Session. The offer runs from 1 January – 31 March 2020 and sessions will take place either at your premises, a convenient offsite location or via Skype or phone, dependent on location.