New Year, New Plan?  Building an effective People/HR plan

For many organisations operating a financial year planning cycle their teams will be deep into planning for the new financial year starting in April 2020.   HR/People teams should be mirroring that cycle and building out their people plan, both to support the business objectives and help them to prioritise core projects linked to the People/HR strategy.


So how do you build an effective People/HR plan?

Having worked in senior HR roles for a number of years and being accountable for the delivery of people planning here are my top 5 tips for delivering a successful plan:

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#1 Clear Accountabilities

The entire People/HR Leadership team need to be successfully engaged in the strategy at a high-level (and depending on your operating model) this could look like:


  • HR Business Partners, need to be working with their business/organisational heads to understand their plans and how HR will need to support i.e. a new incentive scheme is needed as part of a new product launch
  • Centres of Expertise/Excellence, need to interpret and consolidate the HRBP requirements (from my experience, you’d be surprised at how often there are similar requirements from different parts of the organisation) as well as understanding from their area of remit whether there are any legal, regulatory or competitive changes to policies required in the year ahead
  • HR Shared Services/HR Operations, also need to understand the HRBP plans and how the Centres of Expertise intend to implement them so that effective delivery options can be agreed, as well as defining plans for their own changes as a result of new/upgrade technology, new processes, new suppliers etc.


#2 Agree a plan to support effective delivery

Timelines are generally short, and often tied into financial planning, so having a good relationship with your finance contact to understand timelines and to also influence them is important.  Once these are known, create a small but effective plan and ensure it is communicated across HR.  Oh, and make sure to track progress on a regular basis


#3 Communicate frequently

Communication is critical as there are many moving parts, for example an HRBP may have to loop around their organisational unit plans more than once as these are signed off, so ensuring clarity and engagement is important.


Improved communication is consistently the no1 thing employees would like their employer to improve on. You can review some of our recommendations for this in previous posts.


#4 Be realistic

I’ve often seen HR plans with 10, 20, 30 plus items that are expected to be delivered.  Clearly, each of these items may be important to the organisational unit or HR team requesting them but realistically it’s unlikely that you can deliver everything, the old adage of Under Promise and Over Deliver is a good one to remember here…..


#5 Short Term Planning, Long Term Vision

Avoid doing a 12 month plan, realistically you will only be able to plan on those things that are immediately required, trying to think about a project that isn’t due to commence (if at all) in eleven months’ time is distracting and leads to the issue highlighted in #4. However, that’s not to say that you only think about short term objectives, having a wider sense of direction (i.e. the business will grow by X% over the next 2 years) will help you break down the organisational and HR requirements into ‘bite size’ deliverables which allow for better allocation and management of HR resources (both people and budget) and a provides a greater chance of delivering


Defining and delivering a robust People/HR plan doesn’t have to be a daunting process, it just requires good planning!

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Ian Williams has held a number of senior HR positions within global organisations and has previously been responsible for people/hr planning, if you would like further information or an initial conversation around potential support please contact Ian and the team in the office.

Thanks for reading –  Team Rencai

0161 222 3142

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