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How to Create a Personnel Plan for Your Business
This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The E-Myth Revisited" by Michael E. Gerber. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.
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Do you have a personnel plan for your business? Do your employees find satisfaction and success in the work they do for your organization?
In The E-Myth Revisited , Michael E. Gerber explains what an effective personnel plan looks like. He shows how to see your work environment and rules as a game, which helps set people up for success and satisfaction in their work. He also provides tips for an effective hiring process.
Read more to discover what comprises an effective personnel plan.
Designing and Implementing a Personnel Plan
To get things done—and done right consistently—you must create an environment where doing what needs to be done is important and satisfying to the people tasked to do it. Create processes that make habits out of doing what you want done.
Help people understand the purpose of the work you’re asking them to do, and make sure the steps and standards are clear. Review the company’s objectives, standards, strategy, philosophy, and operations manual. Exemplify the behavior you want to see from your employees.
The work environment and rules you create for accomplishing the company’s purpose can be likened to a game in which everyone participates and tests their skills and talents. Communicate your business’s “game” (its purpose and method of achieving it) to each employee when you start your relationship. How you do this is your personnel plan.
Here are some guidelines for establishing and communicating your game (purpose and methods):
- Establish the parameters at the beginning.
- Be willing to play your own game (set an example, for instance, by how you treat customers).
- Create opportunities for people to “win” or succeed and be recognized, although the game is always ongoing.
- Constantly remind people of the game (purpose).
- To keep it interesting, change tactics (methods) occasionally, although your overall strategy must remain the same.
- Make playing the game (achieving your business’s purpose) fun.
- Make it logical. For example, here’s the logic of a hotel’s “game”: In today’s chaotic and busy world, people need a place of order and calm. Our business can fulfill this need by creating a special place, where the physical environment and everything we do contributes to a sense of order.
Your Hiring Process
Your hiring process is a critical piece of your personnel plan and crucial to achieving your purpose. It’s your first opportunity to communicate your purpose to potential employees.
As an example, consider a hotel owner who follows a carefully designed and scripted process of choosing, hiring, and orienting employees. It includes a presentation in a group meeting to all applicants, followed by an individual meeting to discuss each applicant’s reactions to the ideas presented.
A new employee’s first day of training includes:
- A review of the business owner’s purpose and methods.
- A summary of the system for carrying out the business’s purpose.
- A tour of the facility, accompanied by an explanation of each person’s job.
- A question-and-answer period.
- A presentation of the uniform and operations manual.
- A review of the manual, position contract, and business objectives.
- A discussion of how the business does things (rules of the game).
The centerpiece of your personnel plan is the clear communication— to and by your people—of your way of doing business. This differentiates your business from your competitors’.
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Like what you just read read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of michael e. gerber's "the e-myth revisited" at shortform ..
Here's what you'll find in our full The E-Myth Revisited summary :
- Why so many new business owners fail
- Why how you produce something is more important than what you produce
- The 7 components that you as an owner must work through
- ← The 4 Parts of a Good Sales Pitch Structure
- The History of Sales: Three Sales Shifts & Their Origins →
Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, science, and philosophy. A switch to audio books has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a creative nonfiction book about the beginning and the end of suffering.
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How Do You Draft the Personnel Section of the Business Plan? The Personnel Section of a Business Plan Explained.
The Secrets of a Great Personnel Plan
Investing in human resources (HR) is a key element of healthy personnel planning and strategy. A hallmark of effective leadership is efficient HR which means hiring employees in a cost-effective manner and mostly when needed. Your business plan should always include an informative and up-to-date personnel plan section to provide direction for the company and help entrepreneurs stay focused.
At the heart of every business owner is the desire to excel. The best way to excel is to define your plans and proceed with purpose. Your business plan comprises a business description , a competition analysis, a marketing plan, a personnel section, the HR section and key financial information.
The personnel plan is designed to help company owners put their plans into action. It helps to clarify objectives for the current and forthcoming year. Thus, a good understanding of personnel plan and how to implement it in your business is vital.
What is a personnel plan?
A personnel plan is a vital part of every company plan and financial forecast, which aids future and current budgeting and defines the type of employee to hire and when to hire such employees.
When you are seeking funding, venture capitalists and angel investors will want a breakdown of your team. Who are they? What talents and skills do they bring to the table? What is your hiring plan for the first year, second year, and so on? How will your team drive business growth and success?
All this information will include the positions you will need employees for, the period in which the management intends to fill the plan, and the financial implications of the implementation of the plan. Just as you would assess if your business is financially feasible , you’ll need to apply this same sentiment when hiring employees.
The personnel plan represents a consolidated strategy for hiring the best people for all company positions, while keeping an eye on future expansion.
Michael E. Gerber, the author of The E-Myth Revisited, posited that an effective personnel plan designed as an efficient workplace game will help employers prime employees for organizational goals while creating job satisfaction. This means that an effective hiring process is vital to an efficient process of personnel planning.
The majority of employers find personnel planning difficult especially those whose staff work in shifts. Organizational challenges like these can easily be taken care of with TimeTrack Duty Roster which helps employers create a suitable overview of their workforce and personalize shifts according to any number of criteria, including their location and skills.
Features of the TimeTrack Duty Roster
Key elements of a personnel plan
Each company’s needs may differ, but in general, these are common elements that should form part of every personnel plan.
- Clearly explained requirements of the various job functions. Use easy-to-understand language and phrases.
Organizational chart and type of hiring
- The chart of the organization should show who works for whom and provide a good overview of the overall management and employee structure of the company.
- The plan should be clear on whether employees are independent contractors or receive salaries. This is essential for labor compliance issues and the workers’ tax.
Remuneration (salary amount and assumptions)
- Details of hourly or yearly payments are defined, including relevant assumptions that comprise estimates of salary increases over time. You also need to account for company benefits, including health insurance. This may be a percentage of salary costs employers pay to staff.
Time of recruitment
- The hiring of employees is often done over time and staggered. Thus, your plan must include details about when an employee will start and the end date for temporary staff.
Incorporate key personnel into the business plan
Employees are the most valuable assets any company can have. This means that hiring the right person should always be a key priority for every company. Your staff will have a significant impact on revenue, customer experience/satisfaction and the success of the company.
Incorporating the personnel section into your business plan is an important part of strategic planning for long-term viability. The information below serves as guide on how to implement a personnel plan in your business.
This presents an overview of all the key positions in your business and the backgrounds of staff in their critical roles and departments. Add the total number of staff and their experiences. Emphasize the strengths of individuals and how to upskill where necessary. A great team is typically the fulcrum of business success because they have the responsibility of and possess the ability to translate policies into business success.
The structure of your company is represented in the company’s organizational chart, which shows the hierarchy of duties and management. Is authority finely distributed and are the various company teams properly mentioned? This includes customer service, product development, marketing, manufacturing and sales.
When planning the company’s organizational details, you will need a strategy to manage absences and leave. TimeTrack Leave Management feature helps you to finetune these details so you can easily (and quickly!) oversee employee absences, vacation time and keep track of working hours for compliance management.
TimeTrack Leave Management
Gaps and stumbling blocks
While it may be difficult to identify gaps in your team, chances are that if you look closely, you will observe a section of your company in need of quality talent. You need to figure out how to fill this gap. Don’t hide the weakness of your team from potential investors. Always remember that specialization will evolve as the company grows.
Where advisors, board members and consultants are applicable to your company, list them. Where they will fill key positions as the business grows, you need to list them and provide background on the value they provide.
The fine print
Every personnel plan needs to include a section addressing employment benefits , rights and conditions, especially for managers. Design your company’s management personnel plan and include a table of staff expenses, including both direct and indirect labor expenses, a burden rate and employee-related expenses, while adding payroll tax, workers’ compensation, salaries and health insurance.
Checklist for personnel planning
Improving conditions for personnel involve the identification of gaps, developing and implementing action plans and taking follow-up actions. Managers should develop a performance improvement plan before taking disciplinary action against employees.
Identify skills or performance gaps
A gap analysis is designed to help you identify potential and current issues and is an essential part of the personnel process. Incorporate characteristics of human resource planning into your business planning.
Provide proof of a skills gap or underperformance of the workforce using a consistent format across all employment cadres. Design your format, including employee information and a description of performance discrepancies using expected and actual performance criteria.
Have a face-to-face meeting with your employees to share observed issues or concerns and gain insights into causal factors of underperformance. Use your documentation to share insights on performance challenges. Let the affected employees know they have committed specific policy infractions. Focus only on the outcomes of behaviors to help affected staff understand how their behaviors affect company success.
Develop action plans
Establish specific and measurable improvement goals for your workforce. Avoid generalizations and focus on key goals. Setting bit-sized goals is an effective way of working while monitoring task on time .
Provide detailed resources, including advanced tools that can help employees improve. This also means providing the management with essential tools that will help with the efficient oversight of the workforce.
Create a timeline for achieving performance improvement goals. This will help keep the staff on track towards achieving expectations. Don’t forget to identify metrics for measuring progress. Be specific about what you want employees to achieve and define the intended consequences in the event of failure to complete performance improvement plan. Be specific about actions you will take whether or not targets are met.
Schedule regular appointments to review the performance improvement plan with your employees and implement their feedback.
Incorporating a personnel plan into your business strategy is a key factor for efficient planning. To maximize the opportunity presented by personnel planning, use any of the effective and reliable TimeTrack planning and absence management software tools.
I am a researcher, writer, and self-published author. Over the last 9 years, I have dedicated my time to delivering unique content to startups and non-governmental organizations and have covered several topics, including wellness, technology, and entrepreneurship. I am now passionate about how time efficiency affects productivity, business performance, and profitability.
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How to Create an Investor-Ready Personnel Plan and Forecast Employee Costs
Posted march 22, 2021 by noah parsons.
A personnel plan is a critical part of your business plan and financial forecast . In addition to helping you budget for current and future employees, your personnel plan enables you to think through who you should hire and when you should hire them.
If you’re pitching to angel investors or venture capitalists for funding, they will want to see why your team is uniquely suited to grow and scale your business, as well as your hiring plan.
Investors will want to know:
- What positions do you need to fill?
- When you plan on filling them?
- How much it’s going to cost to build the team you need??
What to include in the personnel section of your business plan
For many startups and small businesses, the people who do the work—your team—are both the most costly and most valuable asset. It makes sense that hiring the right person at the right time can have a significant impact on your ability to meet your company’s milestones and goals , not to mention your cash flow .
Thinking strategically about human resources — when to add positions, compensation levels, and whether to hire full-time or on a contract basis are all pieces of a healthy personnel plan.
So, whether you’re seeking investment or not, building a personnel plan and forecast is an essential part of business planning and strategic planning for the long-term viability of your company. Let’s dive right in and look at the five key steps to build an investor-ready personnel plan.
1. Describe your team
In the “team” section of your business plan, you will typically include an overview of the key positions in your company and the background of the people who will be in those critical roles. Usually, you’ll highlight each of the management positions in your company and then speak more generally about other departments and teams.
You don’t need to include full resumes for each team member—a quick summary of why each person is qualified to do the job is enough. Describe each person’s skills and experience and what they will be doing for the company.
Emphasize your team’s strengths. How do they make your team stronger? What specific expertise and experience do they have in your (or a related) industry? Assuming your market research identified a great opportunity, why are you the right team to capitalize on it?
For potential investors, this section helps qualify why each team member is necessary for the success of the business. It acts as a justification for their salary and equity share if they are part owners of the company.
2. Describe your organizational structure
The organizational structure of your company is frequently represented as an “org chart” that shows who reports to whom and who is responsible for what.
You don’t have to create a visual org chart, though—describing your organization in the text is just fine. Just make sure to show that you have a clear structure for your company.
Is authority adequately distributed among the team? Do you have the resources to get everything done that you need to grow your company?
You’ll also want to mention the various teams your company is going to have in the future. These might include sales, customer service, product development, marketing, manufacturing, and so on.
You don’t need to plan on hiring all of these people right away. Think of this section as an outline of what you plan to do in the future with your company.
3. Explain the gaps
It’s alright to have gaps on your team, especially if you’re a startup. You may not have identified all the “right” team members yet, or you may not have the funds available yet to hire for essential roles . That’s okay.
The key is to know that you do have gaps on your team—this is how you figure out who you need to hire and when you need to hire them. Also, it’s much better to define and identify weaknesses in your team than to pretend that you have all the key roles that you need. In your business plan , explain where your organization is weak and what your plans are to correct the problem as you grow.
It might be tempting to hide your potential weaknesses from investors, but they’ll see through that right away. It’s much better to be open and honest about where you have management gaps and your plans to solve those problems. You want them to know you have identified and made plans to mitigate risks .
You also need to keep in mind that employees might wear a lot of hats in the early days of a company, but that specialization will happen as the company grows.
For example, initially, the CEO might also be the VP of Sales. But, eventually, the VP of Sales role should be filled by a specialist to take on that responsibility. Include these types of changes in your personnel plan to explain to investors that you understand how your company is going to grow and scale.
4. List your advisors, consultants, and board members
For some companies, external advisors, board members , and even consultants can play a crucial role in setting business strategy. These people might even fill key positions temporarily as your company grows. If this is the case, you’ll want to list these people in your business plan. Like your management team, provide a brief background on each principal advisor that explains the value they provide.
If your advisors don’t hold key roles or are not critical to your success, you don’t necessarily have to list them. But, do list anyone that is adding substantial value to the company by providing advice, connections, or operational expertise.
5. Forecast your personnel costs
Most business plans should include a personnel table to forecast the expense of your employees. Here are the expenses you’ll need to be aware of when forecasting.
Direct and indirect labor expenses
You’ll want to include both direct expenses , which usually comprise salaries, as well as indirect expenses which include:
- Paid time off
- Healthcare and insurance
- Payroll costs
As well as any other costs you incur for each employee beyond their salary. Here’s an example of what a personnel forecast can look like using LivePlan .
Burden rate and employee-related expenses
There are different names for the indirect expenses of personnel. Still, I like to call it “burden rate” or “employee-related expenses,” which is an expense over and above the direct wages and salaries. These expenses typically include payroll taxes, worker’s compensation insurance, health insurance, and other benefits and taxes.
For business planning purposes, don’t stress about coming up with the exact figure for the burden rate. Instead, estimate it using a percentage of total monthly salaries. Somewhere between 15 percent and 25 percent usually makes sense, but it depends on what kind of benefits you plan on offering.
In your personnel plan, you can list both individual people as well as groups of people. You’ll probably want to list out key people and other highly paid employees, but group together other departments or groups of people. For example, you might list out your management team, but then group together departments like Marketing, Customer Service, and Manufacturing.
Then, add in your personnel burden to cover benefits and insurance. In the example personnel table above, this is called “Employee-Related Expenses.”
You’ll then take the total number of your salaries plus personnel burden and include this in your profit and loss forecast as an expense. Suppose you’re using LivePlan to build your personnel forecast. In that case, this how-to article on entering personnel shows where you’ll see personnel costs appear on your cash flow statement, profit and loss (income statement), and your balance sheet.
Do you need a personnel plan if you have no employees?
If you are a sole proprietor and don’t have employees, you should still include your own salary as part of the business plan. Make sure to include your salary as an expense in your Profit & Loss Statement . Even if you, the business owner, don’t take the salary, so you can keep the cash in your business, you’ll want to record what you should have been paid.
In the case of a sole proprietor, you probably don’t need a full table for the personnel plan, like in the example above. But, when you do start planning to hire a team, you should use the format I’ve described here.
Personnel planning is a valuable part of the business planning process because it forces you to think about what needs to get done in your business and who’s going to do it. Take the time to work through this part of your financial forecast, and you’ll have a much better sense of what it’s going to take to make your business successful.
*Editors Note: This article was initially written in 2019 and updated for 2021.
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Management and Human Resources Business Plans
The management portion of your business plan, the hr portion of your business plan, frequently asked questions (faqs).
As a startup, it’s never easy to come up with a business plan, let alone the management and human resources sections of a business plan. Despite that, it’s important that you start your business plan for human resources as soon as possible. Doing so gives your management goals a plan that will guide you and keep your business on track as it grows.
The key components of your human resources business plan should include your organizational structure, the philosophy and needs of your HR department, the number of employees you want to hire, how you plan to manage them, and all the estimated costs related with personnel.
You’ll want to start your HR business plan by outlining your own managerial experience and skills as well as those of your team. Highlight the roles of each member of your team, and any particular areas of strength or deficiency in your personnel lineup. For example, your HR team may be strong in compliance and conflict resolution but weak in hiring.
Don't worry if you don’t have a complete team in place when you write your HR business plan. Simply use this section to outline the organizational structure along with job descriptions, how you plan to recruit key team members, and what their responsibilities will be.
This section should look like a pyramid with you at the top and will likely have lateral positions. Be as specific as possible when defining an employee's responsibilities because this is what will drive your business.
Do You Need an HR Manager?
If you’re a solo practitioner, you may not think of including an HR manager in your management business plan. However, if you expect to hire non-managerial employees (such as salespeople or clerical workers), you should consider recruiting a human resources manager.
If hiring a human resources manager can’t be done, consider a human resources consultant. Human resource management requires an immense amount of time and paperwork, and an experienced HR consultant will be able to quickly get your payroll and benefits program up and running, affording you more time to concentrate on growing the business. Human resource responsibilities should include:
- Handling FICA and unemployment taxes and paperwork
- Ensuring compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act
- Staying on top of IRS filings
There are plenty of companies that offer HR management platforms tailored to each business's needs. Research these companies and be sure to include their estimated cost in your HR business plan.
When you develop the HR portion of your business plan, begin by including a brief overview of your HR strategy. Investors may be curious about how your payroll will be handled and the associated costs of administering it, as well as the type of corporate culture you plan to create. Specific items to highlight in the HR section include:
- Payscale: Show the salaries for managers and non-managers based on the market for those jobs.
- Vacation time: Describe your vacation-time policy. How much time do employees get? How quickly does it accrue? Vacation time is not required by law, but most firms offer vacation time to stay competitive and keep employees refreshed.
- Insurance: Health insurance is a common staple benefit, although skyrocketing prices have forced many firms to cut back on this benefit. If you can’t afford a health plan, look into subsidizing one with employees paying the rest. Alternatively, inquire if a professional insurance representative can help you get a bulk rate.
- Additional benefits: Other things to consider include life insurance, a 401(k) and matching funds, bereavement leave, religious and floating holidays, and a bonus structure, if applicable.
In addition to the key elements above, it helps to have a framework from which to build your HR business plan. Here’s a basic outline that can help you get started:
- Figure out what your human resources department would need.
- Determine a strategy for recruiting talent.
- Formulate your hiring process.
- Develop a training program for new employees.
- Determine how much you want to pay your team (this is a good spot for payscale info)
- Create performance standards
It may be overwhelming to contemplate these benefits and their costs in the early stages of setting up your business, but in a competitive labor market, your firm needs to offer enough to entice qualified people and, more importantly, to keep them happy.
Consider revisiting your management and HR business plans every couple of years to see if you need to create action steps to refine your processes.
What should be in an HR business plan?
An HR business plan should include a mix of the steps you plan to take to launch an effective HR department, as well as specifics about how you plan to handle time off, insurance, and other benefits you plan to offer.
How do I write a human resources plan?
It helps to start with a simple framework. Try to break the plan down into sections: HR needs, recruitment, hiring, training, pay, and performance reviews. From there, incorporate other aspects of HR, like benefits and promotions.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce. " Does Your Small Business Need an HR Department? "
University of Minnesota. “ Human Resources Management: 2.2 Writing the HRM Plan .”
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. “ FY 2020-2022 Strategic Business Plan: Human Resources .”
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Business Plan Section 3: Organization and Management
This section explains how your business runs and who’s on your team. Learn how to present the information in this section of your business plan.
This section of your business plan, Organization and Management, is where you’ll explain exactly how you’re set up to make your ideas happen, plus you’ll introduce the players on your team.
As always, remember your audience. If this is a plan for your internal use, you can be a little more general than if you’ll be presenting it to a potential lender or investor. No matter what its purpose, you’ll want to break the organization and management section into two segments: one describing the way you’ve set up the company to run (its organizational structure), and the other introducing the people involved (its management).
Having a solid plan for how your business will run is a key component of its smooth and successful operation. Of course, you need to surround yourself with good people, but you have to set things up to enable them to work well with each other and on their own.
It’s important to define the positions in the company, which job is responsible for what, and to whom everyone will report. Over time, the structure may grow and change and you can certainly keep tweaking it as you go along, but you need to have an initial plan.
If you’re applying for funding to start a business or expand one, you may not even have employees to fit all the roles in the organization. However, you can still list them in your plan for how the company will ideally operate once you have the ability to do so.
Obviously, for small businesses, the organization will be far more streamlined and less complicated than it is for larger ones, but your business plan still needs to demonstrate an understanding of how you’ll handle the workflow. At the very least, you’ll need to touch on sales and marketing, administration, and the production and distribution of your product or the execution of your service.
For larger companies, an organizational plan with well-thought-out procedures is even more important. This is the best way to make sure you’re not wasting time duplicating efforts or dealing with internal confusion about responsibilities. A smooth-running operation runs far more efficiently and cost-effectively than one flying by the seat of its pants, and this section of your business plan will be another indication that you know what you’re doing. A large company is also likely to need additional operational categories such as human resources and possibly research and development.
One way to explain your organizational structure in the business plan is graphically. A simple diagram or flowchart can easily demonstrate levels of management and the positions within them, clearly illustrating who reports to whom, and how different divisions of the company (such as sales and marketing) relate to each other.
Here is where you can also talk about the other levels of employees in your company. Your lower-level staff will carry out the day-to-day work, so it’s important to recognize the types of people you’ll need, how many, what their qualifications should be, where you’ll find them, and what they’ll cost.
If the business will use outside consultants, freelancers, or independent contractors, mention it here as well. And talk about positions you’d want to add in the future if you’re successful enough to expand.
Now that we understand the structure of your business, we need to meet the people who’ll be running it. Who does what, and why are they onboard? This section is important even for a single practitioner or sole proprietorship, as it will introduce you and your qualifications to the readers of your plan.
Start at the top with the legal structure and ownership of the business. If you are incorporated, say so, and detail whether you are a C or S corporation. If you haven’t yet incorporated, make sure to discuss this with your attorney and tax advisor to figure out which way to go. Whether you’re in a partnership or are a sole owner, this is where to mention it.
List the names of the owners of the business, what percent of the company each of them owns, the form of ownership (common or preferred stock, general or limited partner), and what kind of involvement they’ll have with day-to-day operations; for example, if they’re an active or silent partner.
Here’s where you’ll list the names and profiles of your management team, along with what their responsibilities are. Especially if you’re looking for funding, make sure to highlight the proven track record of these key employees. Lenders and investors will be keenly interested in their previous successes, particularly in how they relate to this current venture.
Include each person’s name and position, along with a short description of what the individual’s main duties will be. Detail his or her education, and any unique skills or experience, especially if they’re relevant to the job at hand. Mention previous employment and any industry awards or recognition related to it, along with involvement with charities or other non-profit organizations.
Think of this section as a resume-in-a-nutshell, recapping the highlights and achievements of the people you’ve chosen to surround yourself with. Actual detailed resumes for you and your management team should go in the plan’s appendix, and you can cross-reference them here. You want your readers to feel like your top staff complements you and supplements your own particular skill set. You also want readers to understand why these people are so qualified to help make your business a success.
This section will spell out the compensation for management team members, such as salary, benefits, and any profit-sharing you might be offering. If any of the team will be under contract or bound by non-compete agreements, you would mention that here, as well.
If your company will have a Board of Directors, its members also need to be listed in the business plan. Introduce each person by name and the position they’ll hold on the board. Talk about how each might be involved with the business (in addition to board meetings.
Similar to what you did for your management team, give each member’s background information, including education, experience, special skills, etc., along with any contributions they may already have had to the success of the business. Include the full resumes for your board members in the appendix.
Alternately, if you don’t have a Board of Directors, include information about an Advisory Board you’ve put together, or a panel of experts you’ve convened to help you along the way. Having either of these, by the way, is something your company might want to consider whether or not you’re putting together the organization and management section or your business plan.
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Union Pacific eliminates management jobs as part of plan to speed decision making at the railroad
FILE - A maintenance worker walks past the company logo on the side of a locomotive in the Union Pacific Railroad fueling yard in north Denver, Oct. 18, 2006. Union Pacific announced Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023, that it is trimming the ranks of the railroad’s management employees as part of the new CEO’s push to eliminate layers of bosses involved in decisions. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Union Pacific is trimming the ranks of the railroad’s management employees as part of the new CEO’s push to eliminate layers of bosses involved in decision making.
The railroad, based in Omaha, Nebraska, said Wednesday that it is eliminating less than 5% of its roughly 5,600 management jobs.
Everyone who is losing their job was encouraged to either apply for a job helping operate or maintain Union Pacific’s trains or to stay on for several months to help tackle one of about a couple dozen special projects.
Fewer than 275 management jobs were being eliminated, but the final number of cuts will depend on how many managers take other jobs with the railroad.
CEO Jim Vena made streamlining the organization one of his first priorities after taking the job in August.
“You can’t have nine levels from the CEO to the people who actually do the work and expect that the message is clear, the decisions are made clear and there isn’t some hiccup in the decision,” Vena told investors last month. “And I want to drive it so that we have way less layers. And that means with less layers, the people out in the field are empowered to make the right decision.”
A spokeswoman for the railroad said Wednesday that the management layoffs are part of the larger effort to change its culture and “focus on empowering employees on the front lines to drive decision-making.”
Before the layoffs announced Wednesday, Union Pacific eliminated about 100 operating jobs recently in response to a decline in the number of rail shipments with the economy in flux.
But both sets of job cuts represent a relatively small part of Union Pacific’s total workforce of about 33,000. The railroad is one of the nation’s largest, operating more than 32,000 miles (51,499 kilometers) of track in 23 Western states.
These latest cuts are also much smaller than the ones Union Pacific made after it started overhauling its operations in 2018 to rely more on fewer, longer trains that operate on a more set schedule. Before those changes began, the railroad employed more than 44,000 people. Those bigger cuts that UP and all the major railroads made over the past six years have been criticized by labor unions who say they left the workforce spread too thin to keep up with crucial preventative maintenance and inspections. The railroads say the cuts simply helped them become more efficient and they need fewer workers today because they’re using fewer locomotives and railcars to haul a similar amount of freight.
The head of the Federal Railroad Administration questioned the wisdom of the recent cuts of train crews and maintenance personnel in a letter to Vena after federal inspectors found hundreds of problems when they visited Union Pacific’s massive railyard in western Nebraska this summer. Safety has been a concern across the industry after a Norfolk Southern train derailed in eastern Ohio in February, spilled hazardous chemicals and caught fire.
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Why working longer is a bad retirement plan
- Almost half, 46%, of retirees in 2023 said they stopped working earlier than planned, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
- This often happens due to unforeseen circumstances such as job loss or health complications.
- Retiring early can have negative financial effects, like drawing down savings and claiming Social Security before the optimal time.
Working longer is among the best ways to ensure you don't outlive your retirement savings . The problem is, you can't count on it as a strategy.
When it comes to retirement age , there's a big gap in expectations versus reality. Americans generally retire earlier than planned — often due to factors beyond their control, such as poor health or job loss, research shows.
In 2022, the average expected retirement age was 66, according to a Gallup poll . But the actual retirement age was 62, on average. While the averages have varied somewhat over the years, there has been a consistent gap of about five years between expected and actual retirement ages since 2002, Gallup said.
Almost half, 46%, of retirees said they left the workforce earlier than planned, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute's 2023 Retirement Confidence Survey. That share has been similar for the past two decades, largely hovering between 40% and 50%.
"I think a lot of people who aren't on track [for retirement] — maybe they're in their late 40s or early 50s — say, 'I want to retire at 65 but I'll work to 70,'" said David Blanchett, a certified financial planner and head of retirement research at PGIM, the asset management arm of Prudential Financial.
"But they probably won't make it to 70," he added.
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Why retiring later can have a 'dramatic' impact
Delaying retirement by just a few years can have a "dramatic" positive financial effect, Blanchett said.
Such people continue to get a regular paycheck, so don't have to live off their savings. Meanwhile, they have extra time to save and for their assets to (hopefully) grow. Further, they can likely delay claiming Social Security benefits, guaranteeing a higher monthly payout for the rest of their lives.
But retiring earlier than anticipated can have the opposite impact, experts said.
Largely, this disproportionately affects people who plan to retire in their early 60s or later, according to Blanchett's research .
Those who target a retirement age past 61 end up making it about half as far as expected, he found. For example, someone who aims to retire at 69 would actually retire around age 65.
Yet, countervailing trends are pushing workers to retire later.
Social Security's full retirement age has gradually been pushed back, to as late as age 67 for anyone born in 1960 or after. Americans are living longer, meaning they need to amass more savings to fund their lifestyles in old age.
The shift from pensions to 401(k)-type plans is also a factor, said Richard Johnson, senior fellow at the Urban Institute. Pensions generally offer an incentive to start collecting benefits at a certain age, whereas no such trigger exists in 401(k) plans, he said.
Early retirement is largely due to unforeseen events
One-third of workers expect to retire at age 70 or later — or not at all, according to EBRI. But only 6% of retirees said they did retire at 70.
In 2023, 35% of people who said they retired earlier than planned did so because of a hardship like a health problem or disability, according to EBRI. Another 31% did so due to changes at their company.
"The key is, these are things you aren't going to be able to control," Blanchett said.
Of course, a large share — 35% — also said they could afford to retire early, EBRI found. And almost half of retirees said they were able to stop working at about the time they planned.
Job loss is 'really consequential' for older adults
More than half, 56%, of full-time workers in their early 50s get pushed out of their jobs (due to circumstances like a layoff) before they're ready to retire, according to a 2018 paper published by the Urban Institute.
"Job loss at older ages is really consequential," said Johnson, a report co-author. He attributes much of that workplace dynamic to ageism.
Just 10% who suffered an involuntary job separation in their early 50s ever earn as much per week after their separation as before it, the Urban Institute paper said. In other words, 90% earn less — "often substantially less," Johnson said.
Many may not be able to find a new job altogether.
Johnson's research shows that in the aftermath of the Great Recession (from 2008 through 2012), workers 50 to 61 years old who lost a job were 20% less likely to be reemployed than workers in their 20s and early 30s. Those age 62 and older were 50% less likely to have a new job.
"Working longer is in theory a good option to shore up your retirement savings," Johnson said. "But when workers are preparing for retirement, they shouldn't bet to be able to stay in their jobs for as long as they want."
Today's strong labor market means it may be easier for older workers to find a new job, Johnson said. However, it's unclear how long that strength will last.
It may also be easier for many retirees today, especially those who can work from home, to find part-time gigs to help blunt the financial impact of earlier-than-expected retirement from full-time employment, experts said.
Are you currently paying to use a dating app? If you're willing to talk about your experience for an upcoming CNBC story, please email me at annie [email protected]
Project Management Support Specialist - Capacity Building
Kenya Multi-Country Office (KEMCO)
Kenya Multi-Country Office (KEMCO) sub-region currently consists of an established Operation Centre in Nairobi/Kenya which manages a portfolio of engagements in multiple countries in East and South Africa. These countries include Kenya, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Eritrea and several island states. KEMC focuses on Infrastructure, Procurement, Project Management, HR and Transactional Services, and Fund Management services in those countries. Our goal is to support countries, help people in need and enable our partners through delivering on our mandate of infrastructure, procurement and project management in the countries across East and South Africa. The Project will fall under the purview of the UNOPS KEMC.
In 2018, INL began the East Africa Transnational Organized Crime (EA TOC) Regional Program in response to the increased trafficking of Afghan-produced heroin trafficked through East and Southern Africa along the “Southern Route.” Initial funding focused on building the capacity of national-level counternarcotics units in Kenya, Mozambique, and Tanzania to investigate and prosecute drug cases. Given that illicit goods are transported through the Western Indian Ocean, the EA TOC program expanded its support to include programs to improve the interdiction, investigation, and prosecution of maritime crimes. Countries benefiting from the program may include: Djibouti, Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, and Tanzania.
The proposed UNOPS project will provide needed advisory, procurement, and logistics support for the EA TOC program throughout the entire region. UNOPS advisors will provide mentorship and guidance on key EA TOC issues, including maritime security, law enforcement, and rule of law. The project will also work on logistics and procurements to further support EA TOC efforts, particularly for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Through the INL TOC project under the advisory services component, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) East Africa Transnational Organized Crime (EA TOC) program has requested UNOPS to provide necessary supports enhancing the project management capacity and strategic governance of its partner beneficiary KCGS, Kenya Coast Guard Service.
The Kenya Coast Guard Service is responsible for maritime law enforcement and safety in Kenyan waters. However, during its formative and interim phase, she faces challenges in developing its doctrine, internal policies and project management capabilities. This has led to difficulties in coordinating and integrating international partnerships, causing issues such as a lack of centralization in project management, the inability to sustain project outcomes, and a lack of strategic governance that is future looking.
In response to the request, UNOPS is seeking a qualified and experienced Project Management Support Specialist to embed within the KCGS, Kenya Coast Guard Service to enhance its project management capacity and strategic governance. The specialist will be responsible for conducting a needs assessment, developing a capacity building plan, and implementing a project management plan to address the identified gaps.
Under the direct supervision of the Project Manager, the incumbent will enhance the sustainable project management capacity within the KCGS, making the KCGS more efficient in planning, implementing agency institutional development projects, and achieving its operational goals. The duty station will be Mombasa, Kenya (Family duty station) . The incumbent will accomplish this by performing the following duties:
Conduct a needs assessment to identify the KCGS's current project management capabilities and gaps.
Analyze existing assessment reports, if available, and research capacity building needs and gaps.
Liaise with relevant stakeholders, including key KCGS personnel, to understand strategic perspectives and capacity building needs.
Develop a capacity building plan, in cooperation with the KCGS, including an estimated budget and timeline, to address the KCGS's identified needs and gaps.
Assist in the formulation of maritime security policies and strategies in alignment with national and international frameworks
Develop a project management plan that outlines the necessary steps for implementing a project management framework within the KCGS that improves the success rates of projects within the organization.
Implement the capacity building plan and project management framework, providing ongoing support to the KCGS.
Ensure timely delivery of all capacity building activities, with effective risk and issue management.
Regularly monitor and mainstream project outcomes into routine operations.
Provide strategic governance over the project management function.
Train and mentor internal staff (4 – 6) KCGS, ensuring that project management knowledge and skills are embedded within the organization for the long term.
The specialist will be responsible for delivering the followings:
A needs assessment report identifying the KCGS's current project management capabilities, needs, and gaps.
A capacity building plan, including an estimated budget and timeline.
A project management plan outlining the steps for implementing a project management framework.
A project management implementation plan, with regular evaluation and monitoring.
A final report summarizing project findings and recommendations for capacity sustainability.
A small, sustained Project Management cell (Director’s Initiative Group) within the KCGS organogram, approved by KCGS leadership.
Development of the KCGS Service Doctrine.
- Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) in Project Management, Business Administration or other relevant field is required;
- An additional 2 years of relevant work experience in combination with a relevant first university degree (Bachelor’s or equivalent) may be accepted in lieu of the Advanced university degree.
2 years demonstrable working experience in training trainers is required
5 years of experience in project management, with an advantage given to international development sector experience is required
Proficiency with various project management methodologies and tools is desirable
Strong analytical and problem-solving skills is desirable
Demonstrable working background in maritime law enforcement desired.
Experience in project management roles within a maritime service will be an added advantage.
Knowledge of the UN system and familiarity with UNOPS procedures an advantage;
Proficiency in computer skills, including Microsoft Office and G Suite is desirable
- Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification is desired
Fluency in written and oral English is required
Knowledge of another official UN official language is an asset
Contract type: International Individual Contractor Agreement (IICA) Contract level: IICA-2/ ICS10 Contract duration: Short-Term ICA – Maximum duration 6 months
Please note that UNOPS does not accept unsolicited resumes.
Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process, which involves various assessments.
UNOPS embraces diversity and is committed to equal employment opportunity. Our workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages, races, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities. UNOPS seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce.
Qualified women and candidates from groups which are underrepresented in the UNOPS workforce are encouraged to apply. These include in particular candidates from racialized and/or indigenous groups, members of minority gender identities and sexual orientations, and people with disabilities.
We would like to ensure all candidates perform at their best during the assessment process. If you are shortlisted and require additional assistance to complete any assessment, including reasonable accommodation, please inform our human resources team when you receive an invitation.
Terms and Conditions
All UNOPS personnel are responsible for performing their duties in accordance with the UN Charter and UNOPS Policies and Instructions, as well as other relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, all personnel must demonstrate an understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a manner consistent with UN core values and the UN Common Agenda.
It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential personnel. Recruitment in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.
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Credit card debt costs Americans a pretty penny every year. Are there cheaper options?
Most people turn to credit cards when they’re cash-strapped, but financial advisers say they should be a last resort and that consumers should consider other options first.
Credit card debt reached a record $1.03 trillion in the three months ended in June, according to the New York Federal Reserve, and the average interest rate paid by those who carry a monthly balance soared to nearly 23% in August, the highest since at least 2018.
Servicing credit card debt could get even costlier too, if the Fed decides to hike its benchmark, short-term fed funds rate again before the year ends amid its ongoing fight to lower inflation to its 2% goal.
At those costs, Americans should be looking at other, less expensive ways – like life insurance, family and friends, and even their 401(k) and banks – if they don’t have enough emergency savings and need to tap some short-term liquidity, financial experts say.
“ Using your credit card now should be the ground floor,” said Dan Casey, investment adviser and founder of Bridgeriver Advisors in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
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Why shouldn’t I use a credit card?
Credit cards are OK for small purchases to help manage your monthly cash flow, and if you pay off all or most of the balance on time.
If you’re using your card to pay for everything large and small, however, and your balance is growing every month, it may be time to reconsider, experts say. Interest rates are so high right now, you’re going to end up paying a lot more to pay off your credit card debt.
Desperate to buy a house: Should you use your 401(k) to buy a house?
How can I borrow money immediately?
Less expensive options if you need some short-term money, Casey says, include from best to worst:
- Life insurance. Universal or whole life insurance often includes a cash value feature that allows you to take a tax-free, lower-rate loan while keeping your money invested. “It’s fast, in your account in days,” Casey said. “The only fee is the interest rate, but it’s so flexible that if you lose your job, you can pay it back when you get a job or never pay it back. If you don’t pay it back, they subtract it from your death benefit.”
- Family and friends . Asking family and friends to loan you money can feel uncomfortable, but “you can make it legal with a 5% rate and a contract,” he said.
- Home equity loan . Terms are flexible and interest rates tend to be lower than on other loans because they’re secured by your home. And if you use the money to build or improve your home, the interest may be tax deductible. However, if you need quick cash and don’t have one open already, it can take up to two months to get one. “The caveat is that you should be confident you can pay it back because your home is at risk,” Casey warned.
- 401(k) loan . These have steadily risen since 2020, according to a recent survey by investment firm T. Rowe Price. Interest rates on these are generally lower than some other types of loans, but you’re paying the interest back to yourself instead of a lender. They’re tax- and penalty-free and have no impact on your credit score because they’re not reported to the credit bureaus. Repayments are usually automatically deducted from your paycheck. Beware though, if you lose or change your job, you must fully repay your loan. If you default, it’s considered a withdrawal, and you'll owe both taxes and a 10% penalty if you're under 59½. You'll also lose out on investing the money you borrow in a tax-advantaged account, and your interest payments aren’t tax deductible.
- Personal loan . Rates can be high depending on your credit score and history, the amount you need and the lender’s requirements. However, it can also work the other way and build your credit. "Timely repayment of a bank loan can help improve your credit score," said Grace Salvino, wealth manager at registered investment advisor Performance Wealth . And, if you can get a low rate, then a personal loan may be better than a 401(k) loan, Casey noted. Beware though you may owe penalties or fees if you pay off the loan early or miss a payment.
- 401(k) hardship withdrawal . These don’t have to be repaid, but the money is permanently removed from your retirement savings. You also must pay taxes and possible penalties on the withdrawal. They also have strict rules : the amount is also limited to what you absolutely need to satisfy your “immediate and heavy financial need” and the “need can’t be relieved from other available resources,” the IRS said.
What’s the bottom line if you are low on cash?
The days of cheap money are gone with the Fed undertaking the most aggressive rate hike campaign in four decades to battle inflation . Though it’s easy to keep charging on a credit card, financial advisers say you may be better off looking at your budget, figuring out the amount you think you need, and exploring less expensive alternatives to fund short-term needs.
“But hopefully, you should never be in that position,” Casey said. “Everyone should have three to six months in emergency funds .”
Medora Lee is a money, markets, and personal finance reporter at USA TODAY. You can reach her at [email protected] and subscribe to our free Daily Money newsletter for personal finance tips and business news every Monday through Friday.