The end of the year is the perfect time to pause and reflect on where your business is, where it’s going and what you need to do to get it there. To help you take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that your company is on track for success, Adecco has prepared the following list of potential resolutions. If you aren’t already doing these things, now is the time to start.
Create a succession plan.
When it comes to planning for the future – the time is now. Over the next few years, Baby Boomers will retire in record numbers. So don’t be caught off guard by staffing changes, gather your top people together and create a strategy for succession today. Determine your company’s most vital positions and then identify talented up-and-comers who could potentially fill those roles in the future. Be sure to create a plan that meets your long- and short-term needs, as this will best allow you to develop your company’s long-range goals and focus on employee growth. At the same time, be prepared for emergency openings in key positions so that you aren’t left with a shortage of knowledge or qualified personnel.
Once you’ve decided on a strategy, it’s time to focus on talent management. Meet with the individuals you’ve identified for larger future roles to discuss their goals and assess their position on the career ladder. Then connect them with the training and mentorship opportunities needed to prepare them for the next step. This way, they’ll be ready to transition into a bigger role when necessary, and your business will be prepared to promote from within rather than scrambling for – and spending additional money hiring – qualified candidates when one of your key positions becomes available.
Review and revamp your training program.
If your company doesn’t currently have a training program in place, there’s no time like the present to create one. If you want to retain and get the most out of your top people, you have to invest in them. That’s why an effective training and development plan is essential for leading companies in today’s business environment.
Organizations that have well-established programs to help employees develop their skills and that work to maintain and nurture a diverse and highly-talented workforce have a proven track record of business success and profitability over an extended period of time. Without such a program in place, employees may fall behind in job performance compared with others in their industry who are provided with current training. In addition, they are more likely to become bored, restless and disengaged. This leads to higher turnover and an inability for your company to promote from within – both of which cost more in the long-term than investing in training for the talented staff you already have.
If you do have a training program, now is the time to examine it to ensure it meets the needs of your business – and your employees. While creating or revamping a training program may seem like an expensive and time-consuming prospect at the outset, it’s a crucial investment in your company’s future.
Regardless of your personal thoughts on global warming, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that clients, consumers and even potential employees are interested in dealing with companies that engage in environmentally-friendly practices. Fortunately, there are changes any business – regardless of industry – can make that will directly help combat global warming. For instance, creating – or expanding – a line of eco-friendly products, cutting back on energy usage, reducing overall waste and reviewing company practices to determine where upgrades can be made – and then making them – are all viable options that can have a positive impact on the environment and your business. Smaller contributions to the fight against global warming are also effective: creating a recycling program for your company and cutting back on the amount of printing by each department – especially color printing – are great, low-cost ways your business can improve its ”green” image. And remember, while some changes might require an initial outlay of cash, the benefits your company could potentially reap are worth the investment.
Make it your business to be senior-friendly.
As we approach the mass exodus of Baby Boomers from the workplace, many industries are facing a loss of knowledge that could be huge. That’s why becoming a business that embraces a multi-generational workforce is crucial. So, while you still have them, make the most of your more experienced workers.
Develop a succession plan and create a mentorship program that encourages and enables them to share their knowledge with younger employees. And, consider bringing retired employees on board as consultants or part-time employees with flexible schedules, benefits and positions. The experience, education, leadership skills and work ethic of older employees could be your business’s secret weapon.
Start an internship program.
College students are an excellent source of new talent and energy for a company. They bring the latest knowledge and skills with them and, best of all, they’re “mold-able.” So, create a dynamic program that attracts top recruits to your company. They’ll gain valuable experience, and you’ll have the opportunity to assess their potential in real-world situations and determine if they’ll be the right fit for your organization as a full-fledged employee after they graduate. Consider this: employees who interned for their company before accepting a regular job there have a higher rate of loyalty. It’s a win-win situation.
Create a disaster recovery plan.
As we all learned in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, disasters – both man-made and natural – happen. And, while preparing for the “unthinkable” isn’t pleasant, it is necessary. In 2009, ensure that your company is ready for anything by developing a disaster recovery plan.
Start by conducting a risk-assessment to determine your company’s vulnerabilities – and priorities. Then, put your plan in writing – so when the time comes to use it, there will be a clear chain of command and protocol in place. Be sure to test the plan and educate your employees on it – after all, a disaster recovery plan that nobody is aware of won’t be much help in a true emergency.
Promote a healthy work-life balance.
Tired, stressed, burnt-out workers are unhappy and unproductive. So lead by example – show your employees that taking care of themselves should be a priority by making it one of your own. Make time for friends, family and hobbies outside of work. Leave the office for lunch a few times each week, and if you’re sick, stay home instead of bringing your germs to the office – you’ll be less likely to get others sick and you’ll heal faster. And no matter what, always use your vacation time – if you don’t, it’s possible your employees won’t feel comfortable using theirs.
Push your people to think outside the box.
Who says the people in marketing are the only ones capable of being creative? Sure, it’s in their job description, but that shouldn’t mean they get to have all of the fun. Thinking outside-the-box and finding new, unconventional ways to deal with challenges can be helpful in other areas of your business as well. Encourage your various departments to hold informal brainstorming sessions as a way to resolve issues or increase business. By creating a safe environment for them to make suggestions, you’ll be tapping into your number one resource – your staff. Since they’re on the “front lines” in their respective area each day, your employees are likely to have practical insights into how your business is doing and where – and how – to make improvements. This will also make it easier to identify your team’s top performers and thought leaders at review time.
Improve employee morale.
Take the time to thank your people for their hard work – and be sure to let them know the value of their contributions and the impact their efforts have on the company as a whole. When people know that their work is appreciated, they work harder and are more loyal – and that’s just good for business.
Remember to focus on the positive.
When you look back on the past year, don’t just zero in on the areas where your company can make improvements. While those are important, assessing the year as a whole means taking into consideration everything your business did right – and taking pride in those accomplishments. So, be sure to keep the focus positive – and move forward inspired to do even better.