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The Summer holidays are now upon us and many business owners who have come late to the people-planning-party and are now frantically trying to ensure that they’ve ticked all the boxes to make the rest of the year ahead a truly successful one.

If you’re sheepishly admitting that this includes you, then the key is to not panic. But you do need to recognise that now’s the time to take action. What you do now could really set you up for success over the next 6 months, so it’s definitely worth scheduling some time in your diary to work out what you need to do, and how you can do it.

We specialise in helping businesses to get their people processes and systems in place, and that’s exactly why we’ve created this guide.

Here, we going to walk you right through the important points that you must think about if you want to get it right for the rest of 2016. We’ll also ask the questions that will encourage you to develop the answers that you need. Every business is different, and there’s often no one-size-fits-all approach, so it’s all about unearthing the right information and moving forward from there.

So let’s get started…

Have you aligned your overarching goals with your people practices?

HR should never be a function that exists in its own bubble, away from the rest of the business. It should help you to meet your big goals.

Think about:

  • Have you communicated your business priorities to your staff?
  • Are staff rewarded for their contribution to the bottom line?
  • Do staff have access to training and development that will allow them to excel?
  • Are your managers willing and capable of bringing everyone together and working towards strategic goals?

Have you considered whether you’ll need to recruit/ change plans?

Welcoming new staff to the team is often an exciting time, and it’s often the result of growth. You need to get it right though, or it could prove to be costly and time consuming.


  • Do you need temporary or permanent workers?
  • Are you familiar with associated legislation and what your responsibilities are?
  • How will you ensure that new recruits are quickly brought up to speed?
  • Where can you get access to the top talent, and how can you make your business an attractive prospect for them?
  • Are your induction and on-boarding processes up to date and fit for purpose?

Have you thought about how you’ll keep hold of your top talent?

Making sure that your employees are happy in their roles is important. If they decide to leave for pastures new, this can create serious problems.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s the current climate amongst your workers? Are they happy and engaged? And how do you know, and how can you be sure?
  • Are there any external factors that could have an impact on retention, such as new businesses opening in the area?
  • Do you have contingency plans in place so productivity won’t take a hit if someone does leave?

Have you planned for any busy periods?

Most businesses have their busy periods. The run up to Christmas is typically busy for not just retailers but B2B businesses as people rush to close their financial years. You’ll no doubt already be aware of how your sales and operations are impacted throughout the year.

  • Will your staff need extra customer service training so you can tap into more opportunities?
  • How will you manage rotas so operational requirements are met, and workers are happy?
  • Will you need to bring in any outside help so you can make the most of the rush?

How will you develop as a leader?

It’s all too easy to become preoccupied with your business, and overlook your own development. If you want to achieve big things this year though, you have to consider how you can step up.

  • What are your current strengths, and how can you build upon them?
  • Where do you have room for improvement, and which of these areas should you work on?
  • How will you not only learn what you need to know, but ensure that you implement it?
  • How will you measure your improvements and stay accountable?
  • How can you welcome open and honest feedback from your staff about your skills as a leader?

Is your management team operating to a high level?

If your business has reached the stage where you have a team of line managers who handle day-to-day HR issues, then you need to make sure that they’re capable and motivated.

  • Are line managers assessed on their capabilities to manage and lead?
  • Do they have systems that they can use to ensure their tasks are carried out properly and in a timely manner?
  • Are you having conversations with your managers on a regular basis, so you can understand their challenges and achievements?
  • Have you thought about succession planning, and where your next managerial talent will come from?

How can you move beyond compliance and become an exemplary employer?

Ticking boxes is one thing, and it’s often a necessity, but if you really want to excel, you’re going to have to go a step further. How can you make the leap from compliance to true excellence?

  • What is the current state of your employer brand? What is it really like to be your employee?
  • How can you benchmark against other organisations, to help you to raise the bar?
  • How can you create a culture of excellence?

Are you leveraging the power of systems?

Technology has the power to make your life easier, and your business more successful. It’s a case of working out which solutions you need, and how you can use them to your best advantage.

  • How can you automate current people processes (e.g. payroll, absence management, and so on), so you save time without compromising on quality?
  • Where can you make cost savings, so you can free up budget for more strategic purposes?
  • Are you getting the most out of your current systems?
  • Are there new solutions that you haven’t yet considered?

How will you manage difficult conversations?

Difficult conversations are a part of everyday business. Unsurprisingly, many leaders aren’t comfortable with them, and this can be to the detriment of their company culture and bottom line.

If you want to remove barriers to success, then you need to make sure that you’re brushing up skills in this area. Being prepared to handle problems before they arise will give you more confidence, and better tools for dealing with issues.


  • Do you and your leaders tackle problems head-on, or is there room for improvement?
  • When’s the last time that you ran training (either formal or informal) in this area?
  • Are you leading by example?


As you might have noticed, we’ve covered both strategic and operational issues throughout this checklist. There’s a very good reason for that. Effective people practices tackle everyday concerns, but they can also contribute to growth and bring huge, business building value.

You’ll have a lot on your plate right now, and we completely understand that. But it’s important to recognise that none of these points that we’ve covered are about adding extra work. In fact, when time and care is taken to implement them, they can save you huge amounts of time and hassle.

Perhaps you’re eager to make the rest of 2016 a time when you finally get a grip on creating HR practices that will best serve your business, but you’re uncertain about what you really have to do to get to where you need to be.

If this is the case, we can help, book your free consultation here.

You’ll walk away with a clear idea about what you need to do next.

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p.s – To get ahead of your game when it comes to another area important to your employees: Reward and Recognition, download our FREE eBook: Show Me The Money! The Ultimate Guide To Reward And Recognition In An SME.

Photocredit: Patricia Yeo – Oranges