Employee engagement: where to start with your 2017 planning

By Jon Reed, Operations Director, Purple Cubed

The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on highlights from last year and to consider what comes next. The perfect time to get together with the team to re-energise each other and set the tone…

Or is it?

Writing in HR Magazine in December, Ann Pickering, HR Director @ O2 commented:

“It’s never been more important for HR leaders to take stock, regroup, and consider how we can support our people in these changing times. And what better time to do this than as we bring in a new year”

However, if you read the press, up to 82% of New Year’s resolutions and goals fail, principally because people are overly optimistic and the new year burst of energy and motivation can tail off.

I enjoyed a recent interview by Forbes with psychologist; Paul Marciano suggesting that “achieving your goals isn’t about willpower. It’s about developing the right skills, executing strategies, and having the patience that inevitably lead to success.”

This got me thinking about when the optimal time would be to develop a team plan or business strategy? And I came to the conclusion that the best time is NOW! (Whenever NOW might be) or even better, just as you’re finishing up delivering previous goals and objectives (if there ever is such a time since business today is often about rolling, evolving plans).

If you don’t have a personal, team or business strategy with clear measurables, how can you expect to have any strategic impact in what you’re doing? Purple Cubed’s founder; Jane Sunley often says “What gets measured, gets done” and I wholeheartedly agree!

Putting together a plan that is engaging and makes real impact is not something that can be constructed in a rushed or impulsive way. It requires deep thought.  It requires context – examine ‘why and what’ before even considering ‘how’. Many people dive in with the how and then come unstuck. At Purple Cubed, we always get together in January for some reflection and business planning ahead of our new financial year in April. The team are challenged to review where they think we are and opportunities to stretch us for the future. From that discussion we will agree three or four key focus areas and the following ‘MOTLEY’ detail for each:

  • M easurement
  • O wnership
  • T actics
  • L ink to Overall Business Strategy
  • E vidence through commercials
  • Y early plan split into 1/4 milestones

Our agreed plan is then summarised, published and communicated to coincide with the start of our Business Year April – March.

Recently I was talking to a HR Director about his strategy for next year (or People Plan as he called it). . He said “When developing our strategy it needs to be simple, clear of labels and 100% irrelevant to the overarching goals of the business. The concept of mindfulness, for example is not language my CEO would be keen to discuss at length. However, performance, energy and the impact of our senior team, would be.

“I’m always cautious to how to ‘sell’ my projects internally. Soundbites from other comparable business’, measures and commercial impact always help. I also always have a detailed plan for my team but only share the summary with the board – less is more, for that audience, after all”

Whenever I plan a strategy, I always think it needs to pass the ‘So What?’ test i.e. when someone who is not involved or close to it reads it, will they be able to answer ‘So what?’. If not, then it needs to be reviewed.

The strategy also needs to align to what the organisation is planning to deliver on. If the organisation’s key goal for next year is to win market share, I’d ask myself “does every part of my strategy help the business win market share? If so, how?”

As Colin Powell once said “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers.” The simpler, the better in my book!

Good luck with your strategising and planning…

Want to review or update your people strategy, but don’t know where to start? Let us help!



2017-01-17T16:25:57+00:00 January 17th, 2017|