cookies mcNot too long ago I had an absolutely mad craving for soft chocolate chip cookies. I think it was after I saw a commercial on TV of people with smiling faces clearly satisfied with the cookies they were eating. OK, I fell for the ad!

So I made a bee line to the pantry and began to search for that immediate gratification. Much to my disappointment, I was greeted by a cookie-less pantry. So I did what any other sugar-crazed person in need of a cookie fix would do: I decided to gather the ingredients and make my own.

I found a recipe on the internet that included the following ingredients: flour, butter, baking soda, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla pudding mix, 4 eggs, vanilla extract, 4 cups of chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. It's a lot easier to just open a bag of pre-made confectionary delights and start dipping them in a cold glass of milk! But I was up to the challenge.

After reading the directions, I began to realize that you just can't throw all these ingredients in a bowl and mix them together and expect a great tasting cookie that also looks and smells deliciously remarkable as you take them from the oven. (Don't forget to pre-heat oven to 375 degrees). I am still not certain why you need to "sift the flour and baking soda and set it aside". Seems like even in a cookie recipe, there are specific ingredients and ways in which the ingredients need to be mixed together in order to obtain the final desired outcome: a great tasting cookie that satisfies your craving.

In a similar fashion, a people plan is a recipe of sorts. Not only are there specific ingredients that fit your organization, such as recruitment and on-boarding processes, feedback loops and rewards and recognitions, but they need to be combined in such a way that either supports your corporate culture or assists in developing the corporate culture in the manner you want. Why is that important? Because overall culture creates the environment where people are engaged and give their best effort at the moments of truth when employees have to make the decision to enhance your brand or damage it when dealing with customers. It's been said by Peter Drucker, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." The best plans or strategies will not work if they go against the grain of the organization's culture.

Rather than eggs, flour, baking soda and chocolate chips, the people plan recipe includes ingredients such as employee communication, compensation and benefits, training and development and rewards and recognition.

More specifically, a people plan is an integrated strategic approach of thinking about HR risks and opportunities and taking specific actions that create an internal culture where all members feel connected, engaged and supported by the organization. The people plan also represents an overarching vision for its people initiatives and establishes a set of guiding principles that drive and guide all human resource activity in an organization. Finally, a people plan sets the direction for a series of action plans that provide both short- and medium-term agendas for change and improvement.

If you have a sense that the people-related initiatives your company provides add value but at the same time may need some work, what do you do and where do you start?

Research suggests that you start with an assessment of your people initiatives to determine if your people investments are directing and supporting your organization's culture and brand name. I would suggest for your consideration, at minimum, you need to attract and retain the talent necessary for you to accomplish your goals whether they are providing a service or producing a product.

Just like any other strategy that you value, a people plan begins with a mission statement that is clearly focused on the areas you hold important to the organization and the goals you want to accomplish. Next, review the following areas in your organization to your satisfaction of detail.

  1. Recruiting and election processes
  2. Orientation and on-boarding processes
  3. Training and development
  4. Employee communications
  5. Compensation and benefits
  6. HR practices and safety
  7. Rewards and recognition

If the concept of people strategies and people plans intrigues you and you want to learn more, contact me or visit our Orgwide web site for further information.

Oh yeah, by the way, the first batch of cookies did not work out too well. So I more carefully followed the recipe and the second batch was really yummy!

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