November 2, 2021

Event recap: My top 5 takeaways from our goal setting and headcount planning webinar

Event recap: My top 5 takeaways from our goal setting and headcount planning webinar

Last month, we hosted the first event in our three-part 2022 Talent Planning webinar series. (If you want to catch the last one on November 17th about prioritizing retention, go ahead and signup here).

Because of the pandemic, this was the first time I’ve had the chance to speak publicly about talent work in quite a while — and it felt great! The attendees were excited for the topic, they asked great questions, and it really felt like we were able to pull some helpful tips to the forefront for everyone. If you're interested in getting a copy of the deck and the recording, please shoot me a note and happy to share with you.

While we covered a lot of territory, there were a few points that came up that really resonated with both me and the audience. I wanted to share those today:

1. Goal setting can feel like the Goldilocks fable

Too many, too few. Too big, too small. Too broad, too focused.

It can feel challenging to navigate to the right set of OKRs for your team, especially if you're small. Two ideas to navigate this came up in our time: First, think critically about your timing and adjust the period if this provides clarity on what to prioritize. Second, get feedback from everyone around you (exec team, board, and broader team) to ensure alignment and buy-in.

2. Plan both employee experience goals and headcount targets

In company goal-setting, too often the only representation of the employees is in headcount targets. Given the current state of the talent market, prioritizing employee experience (and so much so that employee experience goals sit at the highest level of company goal-setting) is a huge signal to your internal team about the investment you plan to make in them. Use goal-setting as another chance to engage your team and help them feel connected to the greater mission.

3. A defined headcount plan is a DEI best practice

Headcount plans aren’t just about financial modeling. They are also about having clarity around who will be joining the organization in the months to come. If your team is committed to building a diverse team, you will need the time, energy, and commitment to building deep relationships of trust with partner organizations.  Without a dedicated headcount plan, you will find yourself conducting “just in time” hiring, and this rarely yields the results you and your team are looking for.

4. Acknowledge attrition and plan for it

We are at a moment in time where companies should expect to have team members depart.  While reasons for departing may vary (and listening to the feedback of departing employees is incredibly important), you can plan for some of this turnover now. Think about doing things like spending time documenting processes and practices to make onboarding easier, investing the time doing stay interviews to understand what motivates your existing team, and holding team members accountable to performance standards (one of the fastest ways to push your high performers out is to not address low performers on your team).

5. Be sure you have the right resourcing to achieve your plan

This final point goes out to my HR and recruiting friends! Too often, we are handed a headcount plan at the end of December or beginning of January (if you plan around a calender year). To be honest, this is already too late to effectively fill most of your Q1 openings. As a very rough estimate, expect it to take ~60 days to fill a role (so if you want someone to start January 1, you need to start recruiting November 1...which is already several days ago). Similarly, make sure you have the recruiting staff to properly support your searches — whether this is internal or external support, start getting this lined up today!

Intested in learning more? Register for my next webinar, around prioritizing your current team and lowering turnover, on Nov 17 here.

Learn more at the next webinar on Nov 17

Join us to learn best practices to keep your employees engaged and lower turnover.