How to create a clear people strategy & plan for action by Kirsty Brooks

Here at People Perform we understand that developing a clear people strategy for any business comes with its own unique complexity. 

Understanding business requirements, gaining buy-in from the board and senior leaders whilst delivering clear results through rigorous project management; all of this whilst balancing short-term delivery and results to keep the business owners and shareholders happy! 

Regardless of the size or type of organisation you are, the likelihood is, is that you employ people and it is a considerable cost to your business. It makes sense to plan this resource as you would any other to gain the greatest advantage and highest performance possible.

Creating and implementing a strategic people strategy and accompanying this with a clear action plan and metrics for success supports the performance of your business and employees. Here are a few tips on how:

  • Align you plan to business strategy and gain buy-in from the board or business leaders: Understand clearly the business and markets you operate in; how is growth achieved now and in the future. Establish clear links between your organisations business strategy and people strategy. In addition, work together with the board, business leaders and employees in creating the people strategy that supports the future vision. 
  • Create your strategy document and key metrics for success: Your strategy document is a set of key statements that you aim to achieve, measures of success and a description of how and when it will be achieved. Don't forget, once you have written this document, get final sign off from the board or business leaders. 
  • Breaking the strategic plan into shorter chunks to create a clear action plan: Typically a people strategy will be planned over a 2 to 5 year period. However, to achieve the strategy, you will need to break this down into smaller chunks to create an action plan. Consider what actions you need to take and achieve on an annual basis and start creating the annual objectives. 
  • You can't do this alone, gain support and create momentum via project teams: Create small project teams with people who can support you in delivering on your plans. Choosing talent as project team members supports their development and creates change agents in your business to support the success of the projects. Facilitate kick-off meetings to start the project that allows the team to consider metrics, actions and requirements to achieve the plan. Remember, schedule in regular meetings with the project teams to ensure they are meeting their action targets and keeping momentum. 
  • Have a clear action plan format to track progress: Once you have agreed on the key actions, create a clear and consistent action plan format that lists the sponsor of the plan/objective, clear actions with owners and time frames. Make sure all project members have a copy of the plan, it's best practice to have a shared document folder to keep everything together. 
  • Keep checking in with the board or business leaders: Make sure you keep the business leaders informed and they continue their buy-in and support of the plan. It is useful to have a slot at the board meetings or business meetings to update on progress. Use the business leaders as coaches to support the direction of the plan. 
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate: If you want to gain buy-in from the employee base, create a communications plan that excites and involves your employees in what is happening. If you are making fundamental changes in the business strategy focus on developing a clear Employee Value Proposition to engage individuals and teams. 
  • Keep momentum and be prepared to flex your plan if you need to: All to often we see strategic people plans fall to one side for various reasons. Keep momentum with the plan but be flexible in changing direction if you need to. Business priorities may change, at which point, you may need to revisit the strategic imperatives. 

We understand that it's hard to keep momentum of a long-term plan in a busy environment, reactive tasks often take priority. By creating a realistic plan, it keeps focus on longer-term objectives that impact short and longer-term business results. 

We live in a world where we can't stand still. 


The Business Transformation Network has posted this article in partnership with People Perform.


Kirsty has an enormous amount of passion for business, people and life that transfers into her company, People Perform. Realising at an early stage that a focus on the entire employee lifecycle can bring huge growth potential to an organisation, Kirsty set out to acquire the skills and experience needed to support businesses grow through their people focus. Kirsty now aspires to share that experience, the tools and the know how with businesses of all sizes supporting them to attract, engage and retain their valuable assets.