HR Planning – how to get ready for 2017

Posted on 21st November 2016

It may be a little early for New Year resolutions, but if you are to start the New Year as you mean to go on, then now is the time to start your HR planning. So what are the areas you need to be covering?

  1. Review of this year – Before you start planning for next, how have things gone this year? What objectives did you have and have you achieved them? If not, why not? Have a look at some key measure e.g. absence levels, turnover, recruitment time scales and quality, disciplinary/grievance issues, data from exit interviews, or any data from surveys.
  2. 2. Business priorities – HR does not work in a vacuum so it is important to know what will be the business priorities be for next year. Is the business looking to grow? What is the economic outlook? What skills will you be looking for next year? Whatever the strategic goals of the business are, these will need to factored into any HR planning you are looking to do.
  3. Legislation changes – Employment law changes all the time, usually these changes take place in April and October. This year for example; we had the change to the National Minimum Wage, lifting the minimum for those aged 25 and over to a new level called the National Living Wage. Anticipating changes like this and putting in measures to firstly comply and secondly mitigate the extra cost are all part of any HR planning. So look at what may be in the pipeline for next year at the very least there will be at least changes to statutory sick pay, statutory maternity pay, redundancy pay, and the minimum wage.
  4. Auto enrolment – The need to provide a workplace pension will gather pace for smaller businesses next year, so where are you in this? If your staging date is in 2017 you should have already started your planning, if you haven’t started planning, it is likely to be priority as the sooner you start the better. Even if your staging date is in 2018, you need to be starting to look at what you need to do. Remember, failure to comply will result in fines from the Pensions Regulator and they are fining employers.
  5. Training and development – What staff development have you done this year and what has been the result? Has it delivered what you wanted? If you have an appraisal process, identify the key development issues and incorporate these into your plan for next year. Have any leadership or management development needs been identified, and if so how are you going to address these?
  6. Recruitment – What have been your key challenges this year? Are there skill shortages which are making recruiting certain skills difficult and if so how do you plan to tackle this? Review how you source candidates and is this the best most cost effective way to recruit staff into the business. If you are looking at apprentices, plan how you intend to recruit, train and develop them. They can be a good way to bring in and nurture future talent, but by definition you need to devote time, patience and good training to make sure you get the best out of them.
  7. Procedures and processes – Are they doing what you need them to be doing? So review everything, and if things do need changing, put these into your plan.
  8. Set your objectives – Once you are ready, set your objectives for the year, making sure they are SMART and that you review them on a regular basis. They should reflect the priorities for the business and enable you to measure HR’s contribution to the success of the business. Communicate these to the business and your team (if you have one) so that they understand the HR priorities for 2017.

It was Benjamin Franklin who said that “failing to plan is planning to fail” and this also applies to the HR world. It doesn’t have to be too time consuming or run into pages and pages but it should reflect the priorities of the business and HR’s contribution to it.

As ever, if you need any help with this, just get in touch.

Best wishes,


Emma Wynne Character
Written by:
Emma Wynne
Managing Director