5 Reasons Early HR Planning Will Make You Soar Ahead of the Game

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Do you feel like you spend too much of your time in a reactive mode versus a proactive one?  If so, you’re in good company.  With so many demands on our time and attention, it can feel impossible to stay ahead of the game.   

As we move through the first month of the final quarter of the year, we hear the tick of the annual clock and see the shadow of December 31st looming.   

Although you must push projects through to completion by year end, you also have an opportunity to finally break out of the constant catch-up-mode cycle.   

You can create your HR strategic and tactical plan and your financial forecast now rather than in late December or early January.  Doing so poises you and your team for action when January 1 rolls around. 

It feels liberating just thinking about it, doesn’t it?  Let’s learn how to ride the wave of that momentum. 


It’s easy to agree with the idea of early planning, but it’s a whole different story to keep the drive going and get it done.  The reality is that you have lots of other important and urgent things vying for your attention.   

To convince yourself that investing this time now is worth it in the moments when you have a choice between planning and cleaning out your inbox, it’s not enough to articulate only what you need to do but also why you want to do it.   

Here’s a list of reasons why your annual planning should start now:   

1. Ample mental space 

October is a wonderful time for envisioning.  You can’t force creative work, as creativity needs the opposite: a calm, relaxed mind.   

If you try to push ideas to appear on demand, they tend to get shy and hide.  This is why ideas come to many people in the shower, when they are relaxed. 

By forming your plan when you’re not under the gun, you can find the times when your energy is at its peak as well as create an environment that quiets your mind. 

Starting early also allows plenty of time to draft a plan and then set it aside to let it percolate.   

2. Time to engage others 

While individual idea generation can produce quality results, if you have a team that you’ll be bringing along on your journey, it’s important to involve them in the creation of the plan, since people are more committed to things they have a hand in creating.   

You may also want to seek perspectives of peers, mentors, and experts outside your team to stretch your thinking. 

If you wait until the last two weeks of the year, you’ll have trouble getting people’s time, much less their attention.  

3. You have all you need 

You’re now close enough to the end to see most of the results for the year and what can reasonably be completed in the remaining weeks.  

Annual planning must include a financial forecast to be realistic.  The largest components of an HR budget are insurance and pay.  You should have employee insurance quotes for the new year, and raise predictions for the coming year are available. 

Don’t use lack of information as a reason to hold off.  Factor in any other information you feel you need when it’s available.   

4. There won’t be enough time later 

Although fun, the end of the year can be chaotic.   

There’ll be gifts to buy, decorations to hang, and food to prepare.  There’ll be time spent at holiday parties, lunches with friends and colleagues, and family gatherings.   

For me, it’s like forgetting the pain of childbirth.  Every year, I must remind myself that there will not be enough time to do it all. 

If you wrap up your HR plan with a bow before the holiday season kicks off, that’s one less thing on your mind.  And one less thing that didn’t get done to feel guilty about! 

5. Ready at the starting line 

The first four reasons for starting your HR planning now cumulate in this final reason: maximizing productivity next year. 

Finishing your high-level strategic plan early allows you and your team to iron out the tactics that needed to bring the strategy to life.  It gives each individual time to align their individual plans to these tactics. 

With these things complete, everyone can begin implementing on the first day of the new year.   

This will ensure you and your team’s results next year will be amazing! 

Schedule Time to Start 

Hop into your calendar right now, and block some time in the next couple weeks to start your next year’s planning.   

You’ll set the tone for a calm end of year and outstanding 2018 for you and your team! 

Click here to read a prior article that shares some tips on the how-to of HR planning:  How to Use HR Plans to Increase Results.   

What Else Can You Think Of? 

What other reasons do you have for completing your annual HR plan now? 

You can leave your answer in a comment below. 

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If there are any topics that you’d like to read more about, please email me directly at jodi@people-mattershr.com.  

We’d Love to Help 

People Matters supports business owners and leaders in all areas of human resources management including the topic in this article: HR strategic, tactical, and financial planning. 

HR is what we at People Matters love to do!  We help our clients create great workplaces that engage employees and produce better business results.   

Please give me a call at 517-925-8257 or visit our website at www.people-mattershr.com for more information. 

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