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The Value of a People Strategy (Especially for You, Startups)

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You have an idea, a spark that drives you to pursue bringing that idea to fruition. What’s the very next thing you’re likely turning over in your mind, oh entrepreneur? The design of benefit packages that you could offer your future employees? Doubtful. The most logical and effective supervisor to staff ratio? Also pretty unlikely. Most likely, what you chew on next — and perhaps for a good long while — is the delivery mechanism.

You are figuring out how to monetize this idea, and how to unleash the idea’s value to others, most importantly, to customers.

This IS critical. No buyers, no revenue, no company. And, my recommendation to you is that the next thing you spend some time thinking about is your people strategy.


Didn’t have many (or any) human resources, talent leadership classes in your college program? Do you know your an “ideas person” and that execution and management of humans in general, is not your forte? All is not lost. You don’t have to be an expert in organizational behavior or psychology of work. But as soon as you determine that you need more than yourself to bring your idea to the market, it’s imperative to think about the people you will need to allow that to happen. Need a bit of a push to care? Here’s a compelling one: A key reason for business failure is poor (could be underprepared, ineffective) management and leadership . . . stemming from an unclear people strategy.

WHAT A PEOPLE STRATEGY INCLUDES: Some of the questions to ask – and eventually answer – in developing a people strategy:

  • What are your own leadership strengths and blind spots?
  • Based on the answer above, what other kinds of people (with certain skills) do you need to round out a leadership team?
  • What types of jobs will be created in years 0-2 of your business?
  • What mix of employment types might you use to fill those jobs, and why? (contract, temp, full-time, virtual, etc.)
  • What sort of work environment (a.k.a. “culture”) do you dream of building? If that’s too abstract, what words would you use to describe the kind of place YOU want to work in, and want others to enjoy working in?
  • Will you grow talent within your organization or buy preexisting expertise from the labor pool? And WHY?
  • How will you get your managers/supervisors to see your vision and nurture their own teams in the right ways?
  • When you run into challenge or conflict with other PEOPLE, do you know what you’d do?

My aim is not to provide an exhaustive checklist of issues to address NOR is it to overwhelm you. It is to give you a sense of the kinds of determinations that need to be made when building a new, or revamping a fast-growing company, as related to employees. There are innumerable experts out there who specialize in each and every one of the topics in the questions above. Need a recommendation or looking for reference material? I’m happy to share. Not sure where to start? Call or email for a nudge in the right direction — I’ll also let you know what services we have that may be useful to you.

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