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

HR consultants in Lansing Michigan planning for the year.
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Do you feel like you spend too much of your time in a reactive mode rather than 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 closer to the end 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 cycle of being caught in catch-up mode.

You can get ahead by creating your HR strategic and tactical plans 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 different story to maintain the drive to 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 time in planning now is worth it, rather than spending that time cleaning out your inbox, you need to think about why you want to take action on the planning instead of just simply sticking it on a to-do list.

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

1. Ample mental space

September and October are wonderful times for envisioning.  You can’t force creative work since creativity needs the opposite of force; it requires a calm, relaxed mind.HR consultants sitting at a table having an HR planning session.

If you try to push ideas to appear on demand, they tend to get shy and hide.  This is why ideas come to many of us in the shower or at other times when we 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 crafting.

You may also want to seek the perspectives of peers, mentors, and experts outside your team to stretch your thinking. Here is a great article that teaches a powerful tool for co-creating in the workplace: How to Use the Third Mind at Work – People Matters, LLC (people-mattershr.com)

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 a lack of information as a reason to hold off.  Factor in any other information you feel you need when it becomes available.

4. There won’t be enough time later

HR consultants discussing a recruiting planAlthough it’s usually a fun time of year, 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 to feel guilty about for not getting done.

5. Ready at the starting line

The first four reasons for starting your HR planning now accumulate 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 are needed to bring the strategy to life.  It gives each person time to align their individual plans to these tactics.

With these things complete, everyone can begin implementing it 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 of weeks to start next year’s planning.

You’ll set the tone for a calm end-of-year and outstanding 2020 for you and your team!

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 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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