4 New Year goals for HR in summary:

  • In this blog, we look at four key goals for HR professionals to focus on in the new year.
  • The importance of embracing remote work and adapting HR practices accordingly ae two key areas HR professionals should consider.
  • Prioritising employee wellbeing and mental health initiatives, as well as leveraging technology for more streamlined HR processes, should also be key goals for high-performing HR teams.

With everyone settling back into work after the New Year, now is a great time for HR to think about how they can support the business better by working more effectively in the months ahead.

The start of a new year provides a good opportunity to set goals, review working practices, improve personal productivity and generally think about how you can take things up a level.

4 New Year goals for HR Cezanne HR Blog

It’s not always about making big, ground-breaking changes. And, most businesses probably made more changes in the last year than they’d made over many of the previous years combined! But, with the hope that 2021 might start to see some sort of return to ‘normal’, a few small tweaks to the way you work and approach things might be all that’s needed to continue moving forward.

For those looking to make a fresh start or shake things up a bit, here are a few suggestions:

1. Don’t overpromise

If you over-promise, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Most HR people I come across are incredibly busy – and last year’s crises only exacerbated this.

The board wants the latest stats on headcount and retention, managers are emailing about disciplinary and grievance issues, policies need updating. Not to mention video interviews to be conducted, inductions to be arranged, sickness absence to manage

Everyone thinks HR has the magic wand that will solve all their issues. Trying to get to the end of the to-do list isn’t feasible, and trying to be all things, to all people, all the time, is only going to result in stress and exhaustion.

Take a step back and think about what your priorities are. Also think about what it’s realistic for you to achieve,  how you can set boundaries and manage the expectations of your employees.

2. Manage your time effectively

How well are you really managing your time? Is your day getting taken up by interruptions, distractions and minutiae that stop you getting to grips with really important issues?

There are some common traps we all fall into…

Letting your email rule your day is probably the biggest one. Turn off the notifications on your computer and your phone so that you are not tempted to stop what you’re doing every time a new message pings into your inbox.

There are very few people who need to be constantly on the end of their email – and very few emails that need an instant response. Try having a couple of set periods during the day when you look at emails – and then close it down in between so that you can concentrate on making progress with the most important tasks and projects on your list.

Multi-tasking is another bad habit to get out of. Trying to do numerous things at once addles your brain. Just the simple practice of concentrating on one thing at a time can make an enormous difference to your productivity.

One other practice I’ve found particularly useful is ‘eating the frog’ (drawn from Brian Tracy’s book ‘Eat That Frog’). The basic premise is that you start the day by polishing off that task that’s hanging over your head and that you’re constantly putting off in favour of other, usually less important things. Once it’s out of the way, your time, energy and attention are then freed up for other more important stuff. Try it!

3. Listen more

It sounds simple! But it’s easy to get so bogged down in actioning the things on our ever-expanding lists, that we don’t pay enough attention to listening to what people in the business are saying.

Sometimes, just giving a manager or employee your full attention and really hearing what they are saying can stop a minor issue escalating into a crisis or a small disagreement turning into a dysfunctional dispute. It could also mean picking up on a nub of a great idea that could have a real impact on the way work is organised – or equally picking up on a signal that one of your most talented employees is starting to feel dissatisfied or unsettled and may be looking elsewhere.

Listen for meaning and to really understand what is not being said, as well as what is being openly expressed. This ability to hear people and engage will help you create new insights and new understanding.

4. Don’t sweat the small stuff

If you haven’t already, make 2021 the year you embrace a digital transformation and start automating your more mundane duties. Good HR management software can help release you from so much essential but time-consuming admin by automating core processes.

It will help you streamline the way you manage holidays and sickness absence and can bring consistency and transparency to performance management processes (and make it more likely that appraisals actually happen when they are meant to).

And systems with a self-service element give employees access to their own personal data so that the HR team doesn’t have to input changes of address or bank details.

Powerful HRIS platforms will also give line managers easy access to information about their team, so they can spot skills gaps, have informed conversations with their people and plan how to resource projects and manage workflow.

Technology became more important than ever last year as many people turned to home working. These days good quality HR software is cost effective and within reach of businesses of all shapes and sizes. Compared to the benefits you will gain in terms of time and efficiency, an HR system is a small investment.

learn more about Cezanne's high-performing HR software here

Author bio

Erika Lucas is a writer and communications consultant with a special interest in HR, leadership, management and personal development. Her career has spanned journalism and PR, with previous roles in regional press, BBC Radio, PR consultancy, charities and business schools.

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