Building A People Plan

Building A People Plan

Give your people something to believe in or they'll motivate themselves into another job.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third article in a five-part series.

Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them. They hire already motivated people and inspire them. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, then they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever is left.

Here are the basic steps or components of building a comprehensive people plan. This plan will create the guidelines and help you focus on the process of determining your organizational needs, looking internally at who and what your best people are, and how you will go about fulfilling them.

Determine Your Needs

  • Project revenue growth -- 1,2,3 years out
  • Know types of people and the numbers needed
  • Build a People Map (Organizational Chart) for each year
  • Get input and provide feedback regularly

Identify Targets

  • Profile your best players. Who are they? Where did they come from?
  • Build a clearly defined selection criteria.
  • Identify the must haves and would like to haves
  • Determine “The Zone of Success” deal with outside “The Zone”

Sharpen The Tools

  • Define the goals and expectations of the position
  • Develop clear and concise job descriptions
  • Establish pay ranges and bonus plans
  • Create a benefits summary -- include a cut sheet             
  • Set up your screening and interviewing questions
  • Have your key people prepared
  • Get pretty. Clean-up your yard, facility, and vehicles

Build Your Own Unique Recruiting Proposition

  • Be able to answer the following questions: What makes the company special? Where is the company going? What types of people do we need? What are the rewards other than money/compensation for joining our team? What is your compelling reason to work with you -vs- the competition?

Practice Recruiting “Best Practices”

  • Have a spelled-out process in place: Who, What, How, & When?
  • ABR - Always Be Recruiting
  • Know the needs ALL of the time
  • Have a process to identify needs now and future needs
  • Hire the best when they appear -- just figure it out!
  • Create and sustain an active recruiting funnel

Go to the Sources

  • Seek internal candidates first
  • Enlist your best to find the best – set up a referral rewards program
  • Tap into strategic partners:  Both vendors and customers
  • Network and work it hard
  • Set up scouting systems
  • Utilize placement agencies
  • Friendly competitors and subcontractors


Seek out strategic acquisitions

  • Determine the zone. Do this by identifying source locations. For example, English-as-a-second-language classes, community churches, and local schools.
  • Don’t do it alone. Rather, be the orchestra leader or choreographer of this process.

Screening and Interviewing Process

  • Build sample question lists and use consistently
  • Know the disqualifiers
  • Use Your EARs!  Example – Actions - Taken – Results
  • Try utilizing a Warm – Hot – Cool ranking method

And if the scenario arises where the applicant does not meet your basic criteria, diplomatically close the interview by saying that the most qualified applicants will be contacted.

 As Head Harvester, with the Harvest Landscape Consulting Group, Fred Haskett coaches green and white industry owners. He is also a frequent Snow Magazine contributor.