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Practically Speaking AMA recap: People planning and strategy

Practically Speaking AMA recap: People planning and strategy

4 Minute Read

Read our AMA recap to discover our answers to your most pressing questions about people planning and strategy as part of the Practically Speaking series.

MNP’s Mary Larson, Kevin Joy, Lea Trotman, and Melanie Fix joined us on LinkedIn on March 16, 2023, to share their insights and actionable tips with business owners and organizational leaders about all things related to talent and people strategy.

Leader, Consulting – Organizational Renewal
Manager, Consulting Services - DE&I

Thank you to everyone who joined us on LinkedIn on March 16, 2023, to learn more about people planning and strategy as part of our Practically Speaking series.

During this session, MNP’s Mary Larson, Kevin Joy, Lea Trotman, and Melanie Fix shared their insights and actionable tips about all things related to talent and people strategy. If you were not able to attend this session, we’ve summarized their insights for you below:

Q: What are some specific incentives or programs you can recommend companies introduce for employee retention?

Great question! This is something most organizations are thinking on. It is important for employees to feel a sense of belonging and value. Programs that can be introduced to start this are development opportunities, sponsorship programs, employee resource groups (ERGs), and EDI committees — these can all tie back to and encourage belonging. It is also important to look at the specific challenges with retention your organization is facing and build a path forward addressing those challenges.

Learning and upskilling opportunities to grow employee careers is also an enticing incentive to foster retention.

Q: How do companies build a people strategy that encourages engagement and culture-building in a workforce that is increasingly virtual and remote?

It really is the responsibility of senior leaders to be extremely intentional about organizing work and communicating with staff. It's important to find ways for people to have opportunities to work across lines, not just interact with a few people from their team.

A good starting point is to measure where you currently stand. Engagement is often regularly measured, but did you know that you could measure culture as well? The Barrett Values Assessment allows you to measure the amount of entropy in an organization, or the level of dysfunction that exists, that can actually be translated into financial implications.

It is also the responsibility of all team members to contribute to the desired culture of the organization — especially while remote. Behaviours, attitudes, and the ways of working should always remain in-step with strategic cultural values.

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Q: What are some ways to build morale on a team that has been dealing with high rates of turnover?

Research and practice indicate that it is still a matter of spending the same time and attention on each team member as you would in-person, just using online techniques. Moreso, in-person techniques are also adapting to provide a better feeling of psychological safety, attention, and allowing for the participation of all members.

The first principle to keep in mind for a group meeting, whether in-person or online, is to really make sure that the work is work that is best (and can only be done) by the group together. Making time for check-ins and check-outs also allow participants to bring more of their whole selves to the meeting.

Additionally, pay attention to the feedback you are getting in your exit interviews for any specific issues you could be addressing.

Q: Have you seen a shift in the pace of employee growth as a result of more hybrid work conditions?

The growth of employee careers has been impacted as a result of more hybrid work arrangements. Organic learning moments and informal skill-building when employees are together are lost when working remotely. This has seen the pace of employee growth slow down from pre-pandemic times.

Q: How does a business attract, and keep, the right people — and, how do expectations around hybrid working affect that?

It's important to think about your employer brand — to be specific about why your company is truly a good place to work. Recruiting needs to be free from bias and managed with an eye to encourage diversity and equity. And ensuring that employees are made to feel like they belong

Hybrid work is affecting both recruitment and retention strategies. The sweet spot is an arrangement that enables the achievement of business goals and performance targets and is mindful of today's desired employee experience.

It is also important to source and recruit people from various places and not just traditional sourcing platforms. This can help with talent and retention, ensuring a sense of belonging exists.

Q: Other than hiring and retention, what would be the most significant issue to consider in your talent management strategy?

Succession comes to mind. Given the ageing workforce and the risk of loss of intellectual capital.

Employee wellness pulse checks also come to mind. It is important to engage and focus on every point in the employee lifecycle to ensure growth and equitable succession planning.

Q: How does EDI benefit the organization?

There is a human case to EDI — people like to work for organizations that reflect who they are and work to make them feel included. This also translates into the business case: better decision-making, improved retention, and employee engagement.

EDI undoubtedly benefits an organization, both from the human and business side. Research shows, if an organization is focused on EDI then profitability, creativity, and employee belonging will increase. It is not just a nice to have — it is a need to have.

Q: How much of a raise should businesses plan to give this year?

Most recent data shows that private enterprises are planning for 4.7 percent increases in 2023, slightly higher in Quebec at 5.1 percent.

Best practice data from the Economic Research Institute (ERI) suggests executive leaders in the not-for-profit sector are projecting three to four percent increases in base compensation.

Stay tuned for more answers coming soon

Our next Ask Me Anything session will be coming up on April 6, 2023, where some of Canada’s leading consultants will be answering your questions about everything related to strategic planning and business strategy.

Stay up to date through our social channels and our weekly Real Talk Tuesday newsletter.

Contact us:

Contact an MNP advisor for more information about talent and people strategy. We’re here to help you through every step of your people planning journey. 

Melanie Fix, BComm, Partner
[email protected]

Kevin Joy, MBA, Partner
[email protected]

Mary Larson, MBA, ICD.D, Partner
[email protected]

Lea Trotman, Manager, Consulting Services – DE&I
[email protected]


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