Most business owners and executives agree that their people are what differentiate them from their competition. They will also agree that their people are the source of most of their headaches. Executives often quote “People are our biggest asset”
Remember that Structure follows Strategy. Strategy means how to win in business against the competition. Once you determine how you will do that you can then, and openly then determine the people you will need to implement that strategy. People are different, in their strengths and weaknesses as much as in their personalities, behaviours, cultures and shapes. Determining your strategy will identify the people you need and the order in which you recruit them. You will also need different people at different stages of the business eg: some leaders are good starters and entrepreneurs, others are good at maintaining business and others are good at turning a business around.
The following sections will help provide a foundation for building and maintaining the people side of your business and ensuring that your “People are your Biggest Assets”. Without a good people plan you may find that “Your people are a Pain in the Assets!”
A people plan will incorporate the following items. Once you have answers to all the questions you will have a workable people plan.
Once this plan is completed you will have a detailed methodology for the people side of your business. These activities will all need to be completed and then implemented most likely in the order above, with some being required first such as your recruitment and human resources systems. Some of these will be legal requirements. The following are representative of the information you will have as a foundation for a successful business.
Your Strategy should incorporate and be based on established strategic thinking. If you have not done so use a recognized method to establish the basis of your strategy. Tools such as a simple SWOT analysis and Porters Five Forces are the basic starting point. While these apply to the business as a whole they can be readily applied directly to the People plan.
Knowing your strategy first will determine the structure of your business and that will determine the people you need and how they will be organized.
Strategy is how we win against the competition and for the people plan Strategy means “who are the people we have to have and who is the leader and management team.
Use a tool to identify a strategy for how your business will compete.
Based on the Strategy, what people do you need? What sort of personalities and behaviours. What do you need those people to do?
Based on the strategy successful businesses have a set of competencies or skills that outline what needs to be done as well as the behaviours required for these activities to be successful. This is especially critical for leadership skills. There are many generic competency sets available (called Competency Architecture) and some companies write their own. Having a set of competencies that are based on defined behaviours is the basis for identifying the people needed, recruiting and developing them as well as managing their performance.
What skills are required now and what are required in the future? These and a number of other questions provide the foundation for recruiting the right people at the right time.
What happens when you have the wrong people or people with great skills and personalities but not the skills and behaviours your business needs to be successful?
The first person to plan for is the head of the entity. If all the aspects of the plan come together it is because of him or her. This is about LEADERSHIP. There is much written as to the derivation of leadership, being either born or made. It is the essential quality that turns luck and inherited gifts into success.
The plan will identify the culture that the entity has developed from an idea into and what the owners believe it should be. The culture of these three stages – Ideas, Development, and Management – are distinctive and usually need three different personality types in the management team to carry them forward.
Having the right leader with the necessary abilities and personality is critical to success.
How many people are there and who are the ones who will lead. More important, who will actually be doing the work? How will they all work together.
Attracting the right people to the business is critical to survival and success of the business. In a business environment where shortage of good people is one of the most challenging factors, attracting and retaining the best people is paramount. The biggest mistake people make is hiring people they like or people that are like themselves without consideration of the work that needs to be done.
Before hiring people you need to determine:
Good recruiting companies can do this basic screening. Different companies specialise in different levels of staff so for executives you may need a different agency from those selecting line staff.
When going public the analysts will place a high emphasis on the talent management plans before establishing a company value. A good business plan will include this information. This plan will include