The New Year brings with it the promise of fresh beginnings. Whether it’s a personal resolution or a #NewYearNewMe pledge, January somehow seems like the right time to commit to bold change.
Yet as we tend to learn right around mid-March, bold change doesn’t come easy. As much as we all want to believe in life hacks and quick wins, the best path to long-term change is slow, simple and boring.
That’s perhaps why this recent Reddit thread managed to garner thousands of replies to a single, simple question:
What small habit, if done every day over the course of a year, can lead to the biggest personal improvement/gain?
The varied and useful answers got us thinking about the small, regular habits that can have a big impact on HR. Here are six ideas to start :
1. Initiate a 3 p.m. stretch (daily)
Time required: 3-5 minutes
Outcome: Improve employee wellness and productivity
Workplace wellness is a daunting topic, but it doesn’t have to be about in-house gyms and personal smoothie chefs. Simply send out a daily Slack or calendar reminder for everyone to stand up at their desks and do a few minutes of stretching. No need for a specific routine, just breathe deep and get moving.
2. Join the company stand-up (daily or weekly)
Time required: 15 minutes
Outcome: Give and get a clear sense of your team’s needs
The daily stand-up is a key ritual of Agile Development and is becoming increasingly popular across other departments and entire companies.
Stand-ups follow a simple process: everyone on the team, or, in some cases, the whole company, gives a quick update on what they are working on and where their progress may be blocked. The whole thing should take less than 15 minutes, and gives everyone a nice clear view of how things are going and where they can help.
Though HR and agile development may seem worlds apart, HR can absolutely benefit from this ritual. Share what you are working on and listen out for projects that could use your skills. Remember that brevity and transparency are key.
3. Schedule regular one-on-ones (bi-weekly or monthly)
Time required: 1 hour
Outcome: Encourage open and productive conversations between managers and employees
Continuous feedback is a top HR trend, and it isn’t going away anytime soon. Unlike retroactive annual reviews, regular check-ins allow managers and employees to celebrate wins and address issues as they occur.
While one-on-ones should be between managers and their direct reports, HR’s role is to facilitate. Spend some time at the beginning of each month to send a check-in questionnaire. Or, automate the process with our simple performance management software.
4. Start an employee engagement survey (monthly or quarterly)
Time required: 1-3 hours, depending on team size
Outcome: Understand what motivates your employees and how you can help to engage them
Employee engagement drives business success, and the only way to find out if you’ve ‘got it’ is to survey your employees and match the results month over month.
This year, make regular employee engagement surveys a habit. You can access our free and ready-to-use employee engagement survey to get started.
5. Update your employee records (always)
Time required: Zilch
Outcome: Accurate and compliant employee information
Keeping up-to-date and accessible employee records is a legal requirement in almost all regions, provinces, and states. If a team member moves, changes their phone number or wants to add dependents to their benefits plan, you must update their record ASAP.
You can send out a quarterly employee information form asking employees to manually fill in any changes, or implement our self-serve HRIS so that employees can automatically and instantly update any changes to their information 24/7.
6. Finally, do an HR audit (right now)
Time required: 10 minutes
Outcome: Improved compliance, reduced legal risks, and a better working environment to start the year
Whether you’ve just started your business or have been running your HR on autopilot for years, it’s worth taking the time to run through the basics. Use our free HR checklist to quickly ensure your HR is on track to success.
When it comes to new years’ resolutions, walk the walk by committing to these simple, stress-free habits. You might just be surprised by how easy they are stick to and how quickly you’ll see change.