You run your business with a business plan and a marketing plan. But do you have an HR plan? In this article, we share the essential elements of what belongs in your HR plan.
One of the questions we get most often from small business leaders is, “Do I really NEED an HR plan?”
The answer is yes: but only if you plan to grow your company and hire people in the future!
After all, you have a business plan that you follow. You also have a marketing plan to help you get new clients. But your planning isn’t complete until you add an HR plan to your planning process.
In this post, I’ll share the core elements that belong in your HR plan, along with recommendations for improving your HR infrastructure. At INFINITI HR, we uncomplicate HR and empower small businesses. That’s why what we will be sharing is simple and actionable!
HR PLANNING 101: THE CHECK-UP
At INFINITI HR, new clients and prospects take our HR Check-Up: a simple tool for evaluating your HR needs.
Before creating your HR Plan, follow our three-step model for assessing your current HR state and overall check-up:
- Assess the basic HR infrastructure: for example, is your employee handbook up to date? Do you have up-to-date job descriptions? (Remember, there’s a difference between descriptions and job postings!)
- Compare your business plan and future hiring plans: if you plan to grow your company, is your hiring plan aligned with your growth goals?
- Define the kind of culture you want to drive at your company: are you clear on your ideal culture, and are there gaps in your ideal culture compared to your current culture?
With this assessment, you can decide where to focus your HR efforts and begin putting together your HR plan.
THE NEXT LEVEL OF HR PLANNING: EMPLOYEE HIRING AND RETENTION
Next, evaluate your HR systems and processes for hiring and retaining your employees.
As with a business or marketing plan, your HR plan should prompt you to evaluate your past performance and decide what you want future performance to be.
Here are prompter questions to evaluate your past performance so you can decide what to focus on next.
- How often do you evaluate the effectiveness of your HR infrastructure? (Monthly, Quarterly, Yearly … or Never!)
- What have you learned, observed, or measured in hiring and retention efforts?
- Do you have individual development plans in place? (If not, what’s your plan for putting these development plans together for your employees?)
- Are there skill gaps in your company that you need to solve? (For example, are you providing new services that require your employees to “skill up” to deliver better solutions for your clients?)
- Are there knowledge gaps in your company that you need to solve? (The style, approach, and technology we use to run our businesses today are moving fast. Are your employees supported in their continued learning?)
- Will you introduce new services or products to clients that your employees need to learn about and become experts in? (If so, make a plan for this.)
- What is your entire employee community telling you about the work, the culture, and whether they are engaged? (This is where employee engagement surveys become highly valuable—especially when identifying whether or not your company is helping your employees to satisfy their career objectives. If you aren’t, you may have employees looking to leave for greener pastures.)
- How can you roll up this assessment into a series of clear goals to work on and achieve over the next year?
ASSESS THE STATE OF YOUR HR INFRASTRUCTURE
As you create your HR plan, follow this core infrastructure model so you have a framework for leading your company and employees.
Culture and Vision
- Are your leaders in the trenches and know the “real” culture in the organization versus their perceived beliefs about what employees think and feel?
- Make sure your stated or desired culture and vision are aligned with the “boots on the ground” perspective.
- Are your job descriptions current? If not, make them up-to-date! Hiring without job descriptions is like playing tennis without a racquet.
- Your job descriptions, at minimum, should have a salary range attached to each job description and identify the key requirements for the job.
Onboarding & Performance Management
- Is your onboarding and performance management process effective? (Trouble signs are a high rate of bad hires and employees leaving after 60 or 90 days.)
- Many of today’s workers have a shorter attention span and prefer hands-on learning: is your performance management plan keeping pace with today’s workers’ expectations?
Benefits & Compensation
- Your benefits and compensation plan should be evaluated annually. Is your comp package attractive to the kinds of job candidates you seek? Gather data if you do not know!
- Remember, money isn’t the only thing people want from their employers. Money is part of an overall recipe to attract and retain great talent.
- Is your training program up-to-date and keeping pace with the rate of overall changes within your company?
- Do you have a well-documented plan for cultivating subject matter experts in your company? In this competitive business environment, you want your employees to know their stuff and be experts in their work. (Added benefit: when employees feel like their work is stimulating and encourages them to grow their skills and abilities, they are more likely to stay.)
- Is your employee handbook up-to-date with labor laws and policies?
- You may not want to hear this, but a good employee handbook is never done. Keep it up-to-date, so the handbook keeps pace with your business and state and federal laws.
EVALUATING EMPLOYEE RETENTION STRATEGIES
We’re often asked by small business clients how they can keep their best employees. There are many ingredients to employee retention. Here’s a short list of questions to ask yourself to identify whether or not your employee retention strategies should be improved.
- Is the work culture helping or hurting retention efforts?
- Are employees’ schedules and work hours contributing to or reducing retention? In this era of burnout, it’s important to evaluate—and even change—your work schedule policy. For example, see our article on whether or not to offer a four-day workweek.
- Is your compensation and benefits package helping or hurting your ability to retain great people?
- What are the industry trends? Where does your retention rate stack against other companies in your industry?
- Do you have a history of bad hires? If so, evaluate the root causes and address them.
- How do you manage poor performance? Do you have a guide or tool you use to correct problematic behaviors? Is this tool shared across all your managers and leaders?
EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT SURVEYS: ARE THEY PART OF YOUR HR PLAN?
Engagement surveys are exceptional tools for retention, a healthy, vibrant culture, and productivity.
Here are several reasons to conduct engagement surveys regularly:
- Employees have a voice and can build trust with leaders
- Identifies areas of opportunity
- Can drive meaningful change
- Can build trust with employees
- Can share company culture
- Holds leadership accountable
- Provides a benchmark for future evaluations
The caveat is that if you conduct an engagement survey, you must apply the findings! Otherwise, you might unintentionally tell employees that you don’t care about their opinions and well-being.
CONDUCTING STAY INTERVIEWS IS PART OF YOUR HR PLAN
Too many companies rely on exit interviews to get feedback from employees. We think that’s a big mistake! Instead, conduct stay interviews: where you actively engage employees regularly. These one-to-one check-ins are vital for employee engagement, retention, great work, and a great culture.
In this era of remote work, hosting consistent one-to-one check-ins is vital. Here are seven reasons to get in the habit of conducting stay interviews.
- Proactively address concerns
- Builds relationships (trust and loyalty)
- Retain top talent
- Save money (rehiring can be expensive)
- Feedback for leader improvement
- Employee motivation
- Employees feel heard and valued
HIRING STRATEGIES FOR YOUR HR PLAN
Every HR plan should have a section for hiring. Here is a checklist for evaluating your current hiring strategies to see what may need improvement.
- Are your job roles clearly defined and reflect the current work requirements?
- Do you have current job descriptions, and are you sharing them?
- Is your job posting strategy attracting the right candidates?
- Do you post pay ranges or plan to? (Many states are requiring this.)
- Are leaders trained to vet applicants and have good interviewing skills?
- Are there biases in your hiring manager selection? (We all have biases. Be open to evaluating and identifying if there are biases in your process.)
ONBOARDING STRATEGIES FOR YOUR HR PLAN
How fast are you losing new employees after hiring them? If you don’t know why you’re losing good employees, look closer at your onboarding plan: it might be a reason for why you are losing good talent.
Follow this checklist to identify the root causes and solutions.
- Do you have an up-to-date checklist for onboarding new employees?
- Have you trained managers to onboard well?
- Do you assign peer mentors or “buddies” to new employees?
- Are you checking in with new hires?
- Do you collect and provide summary feedback when the onboarding is completed?
What’s your plan for continuing to improve the onboarding process moving forward? When we consult with companies, we find these areas essential for improvement and a winning onboarding experience for both the new employee and the company.
Evaluate the following:
- Is the new employee set up for success?
- Is the onboarding pacing with the new employee, or are you “flooding” the employee with new information?
- Are you matching the onboarding with the employee’s learning style?
- Does the onboarding plan pair the new employee with a “learning buddy”?
Interested in other current employment trends? Click the link to view the recent blog: Cultivating Gratitude is Good for Business (And You) or check back for more on human resources, payroll, insurance, and benefits.