How to Build Your 2022 Business Plan with People Operations

Are your people programs keeping pace with the rapid changes in the new world of work?

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Here's how to incorporate strategic People Ops thinking into your 2022 business plan

Editor’s note: Want to dive deeper? Listen to this POPS! Podcast exclusive preview for Workest readers. It’s an “author’s cut” interview with Kevin Marasco, who co-wrote this year’s WSJ bestseller, People Operations.

Listen to the podcast:


An annual business plan is a crucial roadmap for where you want to go and how you want to get there. But how do you factor strategic people operations thinking into your 2022 business plan?

I sat down with Kevin Marasco, co-author of the practical guide and WSJ best seller, People Operations to discuss. Kevin draws on more than 20 years of experience in technology and HR, plus data and insights from working with thousands of small businesses for the book to ground his suggestions.

Following are some highlights from our discussion, captured in entirety in the POPS! Podcast, linked above.

If your company is building its next business plan, here are some key considerations for People Ops in 2022, and questions to ask yourself to ensure your people programs are keeping pace with the rapid changes in the new world of work.

The most important thing you can do for your business

Planning provides management and every employee with a blueprint, priorities, resources, tools, and costs to bridge the gap from current state to future state. Big companies tend to develop tight — even rigid — process and formality to build and execute on the annual plan. Smaller businesses may be a bit less formal in their approach, due in part to the nimbleness required to adjust the business to the environment in which it operates. The benefit to smaller businesses, is the flexibility with which they can approach and adjust the business plan.

People strategies have always been an integral part to business planning. But for any size of business heading into 2022, a more strategic plan is required to not only hire people for your existing roles, but also to truly connect, engage, and develop your people in order to build better business resiliency.

A more strategic plan is required to not only hire people for your existing roles, but also to truly connect, engage, and develop your people in order to build better business resiliency.

Integral people questions for the 2022 business planning process

55% of America’s workers are planning to leave their jobs in the next 12 months. So assume whomever is on your team today, half will leave.

Therefore, to bridge the widening supply and demand gap for talent, here are a new set of new questions to consider for your people and business planning:

  • Do you have the right retention strategy in place? Are you building in flexibility, including work schedules, work locations, benefits and compensation, development options and more? What worked last year probably won’t work as well this year.
  • Do you have plans in place to backfill your current teams’ skills?
  • Do you have a recruiting plan in place to source and find talent, when the “recruiting war” is on for companies competing for a shrinking pool of qualified workers?
  • Do you have competitive benefits and a compensation strategy to appeal to a more diverse set of workers — across more diverse locations?
  • Have you optimized your workplace flexibility and approach to who, how and where your people work?
  • Have you considered freelance and other diverse and untapped talent pools of resources?
  • Can you do “geoarbitrage” to find people in any location to increase your potential pool and decrease your cost?

One word business leaders need to keep in mind: flexibility

If you’re not willing to be flexible around who, when, where, and how you engage your people, someone else will. Especially around people that hold skills critical to your business.

Now more than ever businesses, like their workers, need to self-reflect on how work, life, and community priorities can work better. What worked just 18 months ago simply doesn’t cut it today.

A place to start: People Operations Workbook

As a companion to the People Operations book, the workbook serves as an actionable tool with questions and exercises that people leaders can take to executive planning sessions to drive key questions and conversations. Those questions also serve as a framework to revisit throughout the year to ensure the right alignment of plan, market, customers requirements, and team.

Exclusive to Workest readers! We’ve included a sample chapter and strategic exercises to develop competitive Compensation Management: from the new People Operations Workbook.

Download your copy here.


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Rather watch the POPS! Podcast? Here is a link to our POPS! Playlist on YouTube.

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