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7 Resolutions for HR in 2017

January 12, 2017 | By Christine Culgin

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Whether you buy into the New Year's Resolutions craze or not, there’s something to be said about starting off with a clean slate, and refocusing on the goals most important to you. Most of us have two different types of ambitions: professional and personal.


We’re not about to tell you how to live your life, but we do work with a lot of HR professionals, so we thought it would be helpful to share with you some of the best resolutions we’ve heard of in the industry. Take them or leave them (but aren’t you better off taking them?)!


  1. Know your employees better
    You may know your population pretty well, but we feel that there’s always an opportunity to do more and better in this area. It may sound trivial, or a “nice to have” vs. “required”, but as an HR or benefits professional, everything you do will be made easier and more effective if you know the humans you’re providing resources for (see what I did there?). For example, it’ll prevent you from spending time and money on a perk your employees won’t appreciate, and allow you to know the best ways to to communicate with your employees.

    people-office-group-team.jpgThere are various ways to go about knowing and understanding your people. If you work for a smaller company, it’s much more feasible to have 1:1 conversations, lunches, small group discussions, and in-person feedback. I’d recommend you try to do all of the above regularly. At a larger company, you can’t talk to everyone. However, you can talk to (in statistics speak) a representative sample of your population. Pick a couple people from each department, across ages and genders, to see what they could most use from you, and how they’ve been enjoying their time at your company.

    No matter your company size, surveys are a great way to gather intel on your employees. Just don’t over-survey them (then they won’t want to fill it out!). In addition, you can learn a lot from things implied: a low participation rate in X, a high participation rate in Y, vacation days gone unused, the most popular lunch spots, television shows discussed at the watercooler, etc. All you really have to do is be observant!

  2. Show compassion
    HR professionals are regularly put in tough positions. You may have to let someone go, announce a rise in healthcare costs, confront someone who has broken a policy, or mediate an intra-office conflict. None of these situations are easy, and they don’t make me envious.

    While it may seem simplest to remain detached in these circumstances, I’d actually recommend the opposite. Should you be taking sides? Or breaking down in tears when you let someone go? Absolutely not. But everything you do should have a human element to it - it is in your title, after all. HR professionals will be most successful and respected when they show that they care about their employees. Yes, it’s partly your job, but it should also be an interest of yours (otherwise, are you really in the right field)?

    Employees are more likely to participate in a program you implemented because you really think they’ll benefit from and enjoy it, as opposed to bringing it on to meet some sort of quota. Show compassion and your employees will feel more comfortable offering helpful feedback, and notifying you of an issue before it blows up into something more. If you put on a robot face, they won’t see you as someone to come to, and they should.

  3. Quantify the unquantifiable 
    Okay, so maybe this isn’t exactly possible, but let me explain. As with most other departments, there’s usually a lot of pressure on HR to deliver when it comes to ROI. That certainly makes sense from a business standpoint, and you should definitely make it a focus. However, it’s not the whole picture.

    There are going to be times when, if you’re doing an awesome job as I’m sure you are, a happy employee (or better yet, 50 or 100 happy employees), is worth something that you can’t quite quantify. And while you can’t directly tie it into ROI, it may be worth more than some of your other metrics-driven goals.
    It’s common sense that satisfied employees are more likely to stay, but it’s hard to attach a dollar amount on that. However, you can indirectly tie it to the cost of turnover and the money saved on internal referrals. So try to paint that picture to your supervisor - it’s actually quite compelling.

    How do you get happy employees? Survey. Listen. Respond. Show compassion (yes, I’m coming back to that). Do things for your employees that may not, in tangible, dollar-amount terms, yield a positive ROI. They can be small things, mind you, but if they’re the right things they can be very powerful.

  4. Practice what you preach
    It’s a tale as old as time (sorry, very excited for the new Beauty and the Beast move), but it’s still true: lead by example.

    If you want your employpexels-photo-209995.jpegees to take care of themselves  - eat healthy, exercise, get sleep, go to the doctor's, take time off - you need to do those things as well. If you expect your employees to participate in workshops, on-site yoga classes, and walking clubs, you should be doing (at least some of) those things too. If you aim for your employees to come to work with energy, motivated to “seize the day” as they say, that is the example you should be setting.

    If your company has core values, live and breathe them while you’re at work. If your culture is meant to be one that’s relaxed and collaborative, don’t put up some sort of formal wall. It's a classic Golden Rule example. 
  5. Try new things
    pexels-photo.jpegLet this be the year that you’re paving the way in new HR trends and solutions, instead of being one or two steps behind.

    New things can be risky, yes, but if you do your due diligence the risk should be fairly low. This is your way to show your company that the HR department can be one that’s driving innovation, instead of that credit always going to your product and development teams. I know that this might be hard to do if you have a tough approval process, but you can at least be constantly bringing forward and recommending new ideas.

    There are some companies that will always seem ahead of the game when it comes to things like perks and wellness (i.e. Google, Facebook, Netflix), but there’s no reason why yours can’t be one too (within your budgetary constraints, of course). Speaking of, check out our piece, 18 Ways to Boost Wellness on a Budget.

  6. Do it now rather than later
    In a similar vein as #5, do your best to not let corporate policy and red tape slow you down. And for every marketing email or article you read and think to yourself, “that would be great for our company someday”, why can’t that day be today?
    You’re always going to have your day-to-day responsibilities - the ones that take up most of your time just to maintain the status quo. But who ever got recognized for keeping things the way they are? Find some new things you want to try (I know, back to #5), and formulate a plan to make them happen this quarter. For bigger projects, by this year. It’s easy to put things off (cough, eye exams, cough). The real challenge is putting things into motion, and that’s what your colleagues will notice and appreciate the most.

  7. Focus on fun - and work-life balance
    Modern America consists of an intense corporate world. Our jobs have pretty much become our lives, and stress levels are through the roof. As an HR professional, you’re in a unique position to make positive changes in this area.

    First of all, try thinking of little things you can do around the office that will help lighten the mood. Perhaps it’s a contest of sorts, a nerf gun war, a field day, a trip to the karaoke bar, or a scavenger hunt. Whatever it is, give your employees a reason to take a break - however short - to do something lighthearted that will lift their spirits and lower their stress. Don’t make me break out a cheesy “life’s too short” quote, please.

    Secondly, prioritize work-life balance for both yourself and your employees. What can your company can do to take a little of everyones’ plates? Do some research and make a list. Whether it’s on-site massages, dry cleaning, eye exams, or free lunch once a month, this is an area where a little bit truly goes a long way.

Maybe you agree or disagree with these, but at the very least hopefully it gave you some food for thought. At 2020 On-site, we talk to a lot of HR professionals everyday, so we’re secretly picking their brains at all times. Not everyone is into “Resolutions”, but if that’s the case, chalk them up to goals or priorities instead. After all, a rose by any other name...


If you enjoyed this blog post, you might also enjoy our eBook, 6 Eye-Opening Facts That Prove Your Employees Need Eye Exams

Download the eBook


Topics: hr

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