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Navigating Success: 5 Crucial Lessons for Building a People Strategy in Small Businesses


We get it – you might think that a people strategy is a perk reserved for the bigger players. You could be saying, "We're too small for that—maybe later." But trust us, the sooner you dive into crafting a people strategy, the better.


It is worth noting that HR has evolved significantly from its administrative roots, but it's crucial to distinguish the difference between HR and having a people strategy, as they both serve distinct strategic purposes.


While both are vital for supporting business goals, HR is like the logistical scaffolding, concentrating on systems to attract and retain talent and the operational side of people management.


On the other hand, a well-defined people strategy, designed to support fundamental business objectives, serves as a holistic roadmap for the complete employee lifecycle. This encompasses aspects ranging from cultivating your employer brand and recruitment efforts to fostering professional development, ensuring employee well-being, and extending beyond. Essentially, it encapsulates the various initiatives that HR implements.


As a business owner, building a vibrant work culture and effectively engaging your team is the secret sauce for sustainable growth. So, even if it seems like a back-burner item, embracing a people strategy from the get-go can pave the way for a thriving workplace.


As Simon Sinek wisely said, "Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first."


Now, let's dive into some essentials to think about when building a people strategy:


Embrace employee feedback: A catalyst for improvement

  • Your team is the heartbeat of your business, and their insights are pure gold. Foster a culture of open communication, feedback, and collaboration. Whether through surveys, feedback loops, one-on-ones, or virtual suggestion boxes, actively listen to their experiences. A team that feels heard and valued is a motivated, productive, and committed one.

Leadership alignment: The cornerstone of success

  • For any people strategy to hit the bullseye, your leadership team needs to be all in. Make sure they understand and champion the people's initiatives. It's about fostering a shared understanding of your company's culture and values and leading by example. Engaged, supportive leaders create a positive ripple effect throughout the business.

Metrics matter: Review, refine, and react

  • Let's talk data over gut feelings. Regularly dive into key performance indicators like eNPS, turnover rates, time to recruit, and recruitment costs. This data isn't just numbers; it's your reliable compass guiding you through employee engagement and satisfaction, helping you spot patterns and areas for improvement.

Communication is key: Aligning people and culture aims with business goals

  • People engage when they know what's happening. Showcasing your business as genuinely people-first happens when you're transparent. Regularly share updates, celebrate achievements, and openly address challenges. This builds trust and makes employees feel like an integral part of the journey.

Continuous adaptation: The journey, not the destination

  • Building an effective people strategy isn't a one-shot deal; it's a continuous journey. As employee expectations and industry trends evolve, so should your people strategy. Be agile and ready to tweak things to keep your strategy in sync with the ever-changing needs of your business and workforce.


A solid people strategy is the secret sauce for growing businesses. Your people strategy should be more than just a standalone initiative; it should be intricately woven into the fabric of your business plan. Consider it as the human-centric counterpart to your broader business goals. When these two strategies align - this is when the magic happens!


Ready to turn these insights into action for your small to medium-sized business? Explore Culturehoods services today and take the first step toward building a thriving team and a healthy company culture.


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