If you are like me, the changing of the calendar year is often a time to reflect on the past year and to set resolutions for the coming one. Not only is this a perfect opportunity to work on personal growth, but also to work on how you manage your relationships with your employees. Here are five particular areas of reflection and resolution for the New Year which can help in that area:
- Dust off your employee handbook and really review it. Do the policies contained within it reflect your employment practices? Does it contain all of the policies you enforce? Is it compliant with the law? Once you have reviewed the handbook, resolve to update it to reflect where your business is at today. Be sure to run any major policy changes by your favorite employment lawyer (shameless plug #1) to ensure compliance with the law.
- Reflect upon the employment issues you have encountered in the last 12 months. Engage in this practice honestly and ask yourself the following questions: Was there an issue that kept coming up? What was the root cause? Could the issue have been prevented? If so, how? Once you have identified a significant issue or issues, resolve to address them either through training, discipline, or a change to your policies.
- Review the continuing education opportunities you have offered your employees and management teams. Have you touched upon topics such as harassment, discrimination, or workplace accommodations over the past year? Have you educated your employees on the reporting requirements if they experience or witness harassment or discrimination or if they need an accommodation due to a medical issue? If not, resolve to do so.
- Consider how you communicate with your employees about your expectations and their performance. Ask yourself: do the current job descriptions accurately reflect what your employees actually do? Do employees generally know how they are doing from a performance standpoint (whether good or bad)? Are they being honestly evaluated (or are managers just going through the motions)? Resolve to do better communicating with your employees in these areas.
- Are you compliant with the law? Have you recently had a discussion with an employment lawyer (shameless plug #2) or a human resources professional to evaluate whether you are aware of and following the law with respect to your employment and payroll practices? Resolve to touch base with an employment law specialist early in the year to protect your business from easily avoidable mistakes.
Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying “How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to change them.” Be courageous in 2015!