Propagating success at Planteria: How strategic people planning helped double revenue and workforce

Essex-based plant pioneers Planteria needed a people strategy to get a scalable structure to support its ambitious growth plans. In just over 18 months, strategic HR Management support from People Puzzles has helped them deliver those ambitions and thrive along the way.

 ‘We had ambitious growth plans, but the question we needed answering was how to grow our team to support this growth. Victoria has helped us plan for this and get it right.’ – Matt Anderson, MD, Planteria

Planteria is a pioneering plant business specialising in large scale, biophilic design and installation for offices, hotels, bars, restaurants and terraces, with over 43 years of experience. Back in 2021, Managing Director Matt Anderson was looking for a people strategy to support ambitious growth plans for the next couple of years. They contacted People Puzzles, and People Director Victoria Sullivan began working with the business in June 2021.

Since Victoria began working with Planteria, the company has:

  • Doubled its revenue from £8m in 2021 to £16m in 2023
  • Increased its headcount from 65 to 125
  • Re-aligned its senior leadership team and hired a new Operations Director
  • Brought staff back into working in the office post-pandemic and installed an occupational health provider to support employees’ mental and physical wellbeing.

Recalibrating roles and structure

A common problem for fast-growing businesses is that people are often recruited to solve short-term, rather than long-term, problems. Once the business direction and strategy were clarified, it became apparent that some people were in the wrong roles. With Victoria’s guidance in identifying the best people structure to support sustainable growth, the company recalibrated key roles, embedding a new structure which was fit to help the business achieve its goals and scale for future growth.

The leadership team was also re-aligned to work more cohesively, with an Operations Director hired to transform workflows and maximise its productivity. Applying the principles of the Entrepreneurial Operating System and People Puzzles’ own pin wheel system with Victoria’s expert guidance, a clear people strategy was mapped out against the business plan.

Growing – and retaining – the workforce

Planteria had previously had issues with recruitment and finding plant technicians. Victoria helped Matt tackle this issue in a number of different ways, including:

  • Introducing new pay frameworks and benefits review, making the business more attractive to current and new employees
  • Improved and streamlined the recruitment experience for candidates by implementing new HR platforms
  • Enhanced retention planning by designing a new onboarding process to fully embed and engage new starters more effectively

This work supported a hiring spree over the following two years that saw the business almost double its headcount from 65 to 125. Among the hires were a new recruitment coordinator and HR assistant, who would manage recruitment and HR matters in future to ensure sustainable best practice.

Bringing people back on site

Another common problem for businesses post-Covid has been encouraging staff back into the office after months, or even years, of remote working. Victoria designed an employee package to encourage people back into the office, which included an occupational health provider to support employees’ mental and physical well-being.

She also set in place an agenda to protect the strong culture that had been so integral to the company’s success so far. Victoria facilitated leadership discussions to revise Company values, which led to an employee engagement exercise in January 2022, gathering everyone’s feedback on what the values meant to them. The Planteria Compass was then created, reflecting employees’ own descriptors for the Company values. Victoria has also ensured that all HR processes were values-led, including all interviews and one to ones with employees.

Achieving the business plan

Having a strategic people plan in place has successfully supported Planteria’s doubling of revenue, from £8m in 2021 to £16m in 2023.

“We had ambitious growth plans, but the question we needed answering was how to grow our team to support this growth,” says Matt. “Victoria has helped us plan for this and get it right.”

Successes like this are born from great partnerships, and Victoria has been impressed with the commitment that Matt and his team have shown in driving through the changes that were needed. “Planteria has fully embraced HR and everything we at People Puzzles can offer as a professional business-enabling function – at a strategic level and in practical ways – that have truly helped drive business growth,” she says. “The leadership welcomed me to the team, and I feel my contribution to the business is highly valued.”

 If you have ambitious plans to grow your business and need a people strategy to make it happen, call People Puzzles on 0345 646 5201 to find out more and let one of our experienced People Directors help you get the right people in the right places to drive success.

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