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January 21, 2010 | General | Posted by Ascentis

12 New Year’s Resolutions for HR and Payroll

A resolution is a promise or commitment we make to increase behaviors that will support greater success and productivity, or stop those behaviors that limit our capabilities and hinder us from achieving our maximum potential. Even with the best of intentions, it is common for most of us to make resolutions … and then forget them.

Business resolutions make as much sense or more than personal ones.  In business there are always areas that could use improvement, but rarely do we have the time or resources to dedicate to them.  Even deciding where to start, or how many resolutions to have, can be a challenge.  So keep it simple. Pick one or two areas and try out a new business-focused resolution. With the tremendous success you experience this year, next year’s resolutions will be even more exciting.  Here are some resolutions you should have no problem sticking to!

1. Streamline your W2 process for end-of-year

How long did it take you this year to get your W2s out to your employees?  Did your payroll provider do it for you?  Did you and your team spend days stuffing envelopes and sealing them?  Isn’t your time valuable?  Relying on outdated systems to get your end-of-year processes completed seems a bit silly with all the technology out there.  Maybe it is time to look at a new payroll system or provider, one that saves you and your team time and offers a streamlined process to make the end of the year less, rather than more, stressful.

2. Network with other professionals face-to-face

An online presence is great, but don’t forget the value of chatting over a cup of coffee.  Join organizations that support your career interests.  If there isn’t an event set up, then schedule one!  You can use some of those great networking tools that you already have to get out from in front of that monitor, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Meetup, and Google Calendar.  Some of the people you meet might have likely dealt with an issue you are struggling with.  Be a mentor for someone starting out in their career, your experience might be exactly what they need. Being useful is great, but it’s even better to have someone that understands your struggles and triumphs!

3. Decrease hours worked, increase  productivity

Easier said than done, but start scrutinizing your daily, weekly and monthly tasks. Is there a way to be more efficient?  Will a new HRIS/HRMS create less work and open up more time for more important things, such as strategic planning? The market has numerous different solutions, so start searching.  SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) could help you get a new solution approved quicker by offering low monthly maintenance fees rather than a large budgetary commitment. How about using a task manager? There are many applications for your phone to remind you to get to work or stay organized.  Be creative (and/or pushy)!

4. Delegate

Every company has someone that can do more, but won’t tell you that. Is it time for a job description inventory?  Have all employees write up their job descriptions in detail. This is a great way to accomplish two tasks.  1, Get updated job descriptions, and 2, Finding those people that are spending their day shredding (a.k.a. web surfing).  Great! Now you have someone that can do some filing or some additional data entry.  If you have an HRIS/HRMS that uses role-based profiles, give them access to the areas that they need.  You have just created an assistant!

5. Plan your week

Taking five or 10 minutes at the beginning and the end of the week to plan is a wonderful thing.  Not only are you slowing down for a couple of minutes, but you are organizing! What are your goals for the upcoming week? What did you accomplish this week?  (This is where you should stop and reflect, smile, and feel good about getting something down in the middle of the zoo.)  What do you need and want to accomplish next week? Now at the beginning of the following week, go back over this list. Has anything changed? A lot of times priorities look different after a day or two.  Update the list if need be and start your week. You have already accomplished something very important!

6. Create a wellness program

A wellness program sounds complicated and fancy, but it doesn’t have to be. If it is in the budget, then help employees get gym memberships. If it isn’t, then create other ways to support healthy living. A healthy, happy employee is much less likely to call in sick and much more fun to work with. Some ideas that can be implemented at very little cost include:

Create a weight loss group – employees weigh in each week, set goals, maybe give a reward at the end of a set amount of time;

Coordinate monthly hikes – on a weekend set up a hike, have employees invite family along or even take off early from the office on Friday and walk to a nearby park;

Stop filling the fridge or vending machines with sugar – look at healthier options, use sparkling waters or natural sodas, supply fruit and gum, rather than candy bars;

Call a local healthy restaurant – have a chef come in and talk to your employees about ordering healthier options when they go out. This will drive business to the restaurant and show the employees that you care about their well being.

7. Do something nice for your team/employees/management

Do something nice and it will come back to you.  Send a thank you card from your team to that department that always chips in to get notices ready for employees. Bring in potted plants for the dark IT department.  Be creative, make them smile and they will share those smiles.  A workplace should be somewhere that employees enjoy being, not dread.

8. Take a vacation

Who has time for a vacation? We all do! A vacation is supposed to be time for YOU, time to refresh and rest your mind, body and soul. Recharge and get yourself back.  A vacation doesn’t have to be spent in Paris, but it can be!  Spend some time at home, organize that back room that has been driving you crazy, explore the local farmers’ markets or just grab a book and curl up on the couch.  Remember, time to do what you want to do is a vacation.

9. Create daily work habits and stick to them

Start every day the same and end every day the same. Giving some predictability to a hectic day could be the difference between a great hair day and bald spots. Try to maintain these newly established routines, but don’t beat yourself up if you have to skip a part of your new routine.  Flexibility in goal setting is important. A positive attitude and support will make it much easier to try again the next day.

10. Set aside one time slot for reading e-mails or news

How long has that magazine been on your desk?  You know the one (or two or 10) that have kept that corner from gathering dust. You want to read it, you keep saying you will, but who has time to sit and read? Make the time! If you don’t do it now, you probably won’t do it tomorrow.  Set aside a part of your day or week and reward yourself with downtime to read the articles, journals or Web sites.  At the end of the week, before starting your weekend, read an article or two; at the beginning of the week over coffee read an article or two. Just make a space in your schedule. It is already there, but you will have to claim it.

11. Use proper and complete sentences in all business e-mails

We all get those emails from colleagues - the short, quick answers. They return half a sentence in response to our question from a month ago.  Now you have to go back and read the full e-mail string to be able to decipher the meaning of the answer and figure out what that abbreviated sentence is supposed to indicate. If your goal is to save time this year, help those around you save some of their time when reading your e-mails.  A short, precise answer is much easier to read then a cryptic, abbreviated response.

12. Find 10 ways to reduce your costs

“What a great idea … like we haven’t already done that.” In the current economy we have all been looking at ways to cut costs. Sometimes some fresh eyes can really help. Ask the receptionist if she has an idea or call on contracts that have been running with vendors for awhile. You might be due for a price reduction; most vendors are not going to alert you to that fact. Stop printing out documents for files; this could save substantial money overtime. Rather than printing e-mails from employees, attach them to their files in your HRIS/HRMS or payroll software.  Don’t have the ability? Go back and read resolution #1, and make life easier for you and your team!  Creating a paperless, or near paperless, office could save your company substantial money and time.

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