An Eye On The Horizon – What Is Your People Plan For 2017?

Marc Havercroft

We’re approaching the planning season in our profession: covering plans for the business, for people, performance, and rewards, learning, budgets, and all the acronyms and titles you can think of.

This year, I want to suggest a new approach for HR professionals to take during planning season. I’m predicting that next year, as has been the case for several years now, the pace of change will continue to accelerate. In my opinion, factors that will affect us all – albeit in different ways – are the speed of innovation, technology shifts, globalization, and shifting demographics, as per the recent research paper Leaders 2020 by Oxford Economics.

I’m going to make a suggestion (no, I’m not going crazy): Throw away your previous plans. Rip them up, file them in the round cabinet under your desk, and consider these four initiatives.

1. Develop concrete goals

We spend too much time moving the same old projects/goals/activities from one year to the next without questioning why or taking the time to consider what they mean. If something on your plan didn’t happen, you either need to get rid of it or understand what did not work. In the second case, you need to take the time to resource, support, and prioritize. Reshape it into an action that you believe can be completed – with tangible results – in 2017.

2. Embrace digital technology

For some, that means fully committing to implement new technologies into your business in 2017. For others, it means making a conscious effort not to transfer the same old bad processes onto new technology and expect things to improve. At my organization, we have global teams of HR professionals who are bringing technology into their day-to-day work in a very real way and helping our customers get the best from technology.

3. Create an atmosphere of trust

You should also look to streamline your decision-making by considering a level of trust with your employees as a given. Where in the past you might have focused on the risk of the two percent who stepped out of line, in 2017 bring your focus back to the 98% of committed employees and give them your trust in order to engage them to achieve your goals.

4. Bring in new ideas

Let’s look at how we can flatten the organization. By this I mean remove the pyramid from your organizational structures as well as the urge to say no. We need to see how we can bring the fringe voices and ideas into the middle of the organization. It is clear that innovation comes from the edges in all companies, so we all need to create ways to hear these voices and allow innovation into our companies.

Finally, your most critical plan must be around a laser focus on building that commercial silver bullet: the best workforce equipped for the amazing world of opportunity this digital economy is offering us. This will be the difference between companies who win and those who fail, and that, my friends, is firmly in the hands of those of us in HR.

For more takeways from the Leaders 2020 research, see Everything You Know About Leadership Is Wrong.

This blog was originally posted on HRM Online.


Marc Havercroft

About Marc Havercroft

Marc Havercroft, COO & Vice President Strategy, brings more than 20 years of experience within the future workforce strategy and transformation, helping clients adapt their HR strategy to meet the opportunity of the new digital world and the future workforce needed. His expertise includes advisory & strategy and workforce design for organizations going through major change as well as new entrants into EMEA, North America, and APJ & Greater China regions from both green field to M&A structures. Marc has worked across industries from financial services, Telco, energy, media, digital social, and public sector, turning current and global trends into meaningful workforce strategies that deliver.