It's time to review the past year and think about how to improve ourselves and our workplace for the coming year. Some of us go on a corporate diet and plan to pare down expenses. Some of us vow to work harder and use our time more wisely. Still others plan to get along better with direct reports.
As entrepreneurs, you face the challenge of implementing positive change within your company. Here are 10 employee-related resolutions you should consider for 2008:
- Develop and share goals with your employees.
Identify where you want your company to go and how you can get there. The goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Next, make sure that every employee knows and understands what to do to achieve those goals.
- Clarify roles and job descriptions.
Identify specifically what each person does and should be doing. Ensure that everyone knows how his or her efforts contribute to the organizational success. Unclear roles lead to conflict, disappointment, hard feelings and decreased morale. You can easily avoid these negatives when job descriptions are accurate and clear.
- Develop an employee volunteer program.
Gather a group of employees and think of ways your company can "give back to the community." Employees will see this as a positive step your organization is taking to assist others. This is usually a great morale booster, too. You've been making an impact on your company; now you can do the same for your community.
- Manage by walking around.
Get out of your office. See what your employees are doing. Talk with them so they know you're interested in their work. Discover how well people are getting along with each other. Identify frustrations that employees have with each other and with their work. Get to know them as human beings, not just employees. Be available to answer questions, clarify options and interpret company goals. Become a valued resource to them.
- Address potential sources of conflict before they erupt.
Talk with your employees and identify what gets in the way of their achievement. It could be resources, tools, budgets, processes or even managers. Your task is to find these bottlenecks and remove them. Apply proven techniques to lower tensions and build a positive work environment.
- Survey the corporate climate.
Pinpoint the strengths and limitations of your organization. These could be your people, your management structure, the way employees are treated and managed, the clarity of goals, roles, process and systems, and the effectiveness of personal interactions. Then take action to improve the situation.
- Involve employees in plans for organizational change.
Form a team to address the issues discovered in your survey. Before implementing any changes, convene groups of employees to discuss the need for changes and how those changes will be implemented. Make sure employees feel involved in the process. Participation will reduce resistance to the changes.
- Identify your stars and reward them.
Everyone likes to know when they're doing a good job. The compliments validate their efforts and document their success. Make sure that your top performers know you appreciate their work and that you reward them with money, recognition or advancement.
- Develop a management training program.
Build your future managers now; don't rely on chance. Identify the core competencies that have led to success in your current managers and leaders. Then develop those factors in other employees so that you have a continual supply of qualified individuals managing and leading your organization.
- Offer a periodic social hour.
This will allow employees to develop collegiality, share ideas in an informal atmosphere and get to know one another. This can be done inside or outside of the work place. This usually leads to increased employee satisfaction and interest in working with others.
Dr. David G. Javitch is an organizational psychologist, leadership specialist, and President of Javitch Associates in Newton, Mass. Author of How to Achieve Power in Your Life, Javitch is in demand as a consultant for his skills in assessment, coaching, training and facilitating groups and retreats.