Why Every Entrepreneur Needs to Develop a “People Strategy”

If you have people working for you, you need an effective “people strategy.” Here are some key points you should begin to consider:


Because people issues are integral to the success of your business, you need to develop, communicate and enforce a specific set of policies and practices that reflect your vision. These guidelines should reflect your core values, your company’s mission and your standards of acceptable behaviour. They will become an integral part of your operations manual, defining how your company is perceived by others when you are not available to deal with customers or clients yourself. Before you can expect your employees to interpret your vision, you must instil in them the essence of what your business is all about.


Without specific HR guidelines in place, you may end up spending unproductive and frustrating hours dealing with people issues instead of focusing on moving your business forward. As well, you are at greater risk for litigation. Human nature being what it is, employees will test limits and make up their own creative answers to different workplace situations.


  • Connect your people strategy with your business strategy. If you run a restaurant and you plan on opening three more establishments (your business plan) and have experienced problems hiring cooks, you might want to consider hiring some apprentice cooks (people plan) before you expand.
  • How will your business mission and values align with your hiring process? For example, if excellent customer service is a value you hold dear, how will you recruit people who have demonstrated this value in previous jobs elsewhere?
  • Policy development is essential if others are to interpret your vision on your behalf. Be consistent so your subordinates will know how to proceed.


Your reward and recognition programs must be coordinated. If productivity and efficiency are hallmarks of your business’s competitive environment, how will your R&R system recognize and reward behaviour that supports this aspect of your business?
Your performance management system might need a tune-up. For example, if you have identified safety as a key component for your business’s success, what training will you provide employees so they are properly equipped to work safely?


Culture can be defined as the culmination of the day-to-day behaviour of a group of individuals. As your business functions on a routine basis, a culture will be created — but will it be the culture you want? By coordinating your business and people plans effectively, and by recognizing your own role as a leader, you will be better able to shape the culture to take the direction you want.


Entrepreneurs sometimes have a hard time letting go of tasks and responsibilities. As your business grows, learning to delegate will allow both you and your employees to use time effectively and focus your efforts appropriately.


It takes a tremendous amount of thought and work to develop good HR practices, because there are myriad components to a comprehensive people strategy. They include:

  • understanding your legal obligations as an employer
  • observing occupational health and safety standards
  • hiring the right people
  • creating an employee handbook that explains company policies and practices
  • developing job descriptions that will help you hire the right staff and give each of them a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities
  • implementing on-the-job training
  • knowing how to conduct performance reviews and give constructive criticism
  • learning how to promote from within or enhance the skills of existing staff when new opportunities arise within your company.

These topics, and many more, are explained in detail throughout the go2HR website. We suggest that you start with the Employer Resources section and go from there.