How to Start Strong in the New Year With Your Business Practices

Written by: James Ponds

The new year is a great time to refocus your efforts to manage a strong and efficient workforce. Just like creating personal New Year’s resolutions for a healthy lifestyle, making company or team goals to improve workplace effectiveness assures that everyone involved is on board with the positive changes.

Create a Positive Company Culture

If your company has been lacking in camaraderie, now is a great time to examine the company culture to make sure that it’s one of positivity and collaboration. If there is a history of “every man for himself,” it might be time to come up with ways to change that attitude. Teams don’t compete well on the field or in the business world when its members do not look out for each other. Schedule in some team-building activities to help take your group to the next level. If there are a lot of newbies in your department, plan a monthly team lunch or cocktail hour so that everyone can get to know each other.

Plan for Efficiency

If it’s difficult for employees to be efficient with their time, they probably won’t be. Inefficiency often isn’t a personal failure or due to laziness. Sometimes wasteful systems have been in place for so long that it’s impossible to even recognize that the systems, not the employees, are the problem. For example, without a time clock app, employees may have to spend up to 30 minutes per week logging in their hours when it could be done in minutes with a few clicks. A company open door policy might seem like it’s promoting collaboration, but it may, in fact, create day-long disruptions. Consider other alternatives, like a company-wide scheduled coffee break in the afternoon where everyone can mix and mingle for a set amount of time before returning to their office refreshed and ready to finish the day strong.

Set Goals as a Team

Setting SMART goals as a group can be a very powerful tool for creating an atmosphere of teamwork and hard work. If everyone has buy-in to the goal, then there is a natural and mutual support created within the department. Posting the goals is also helpful to remind everyone what they are working towards. Schedule weekly or monthly check-in meetings with the team to discuss challenges and triumphs on the path to completion. In addition to goal setting, include team incentives for reaching various milestones along the way. While keeping your group focused, it will also allow for moments of recognition for they have achieved.

Provide Quality Training Opportunities

If you want your team to work well and work strong, you must train them to be the best. Instead of getting frustrated that they lack the skills to be really efficient, provide them with quality training that will help elevate their personal proficiencies as well as those of the company as a whole. Training is not always one size fits all, so survey your group to find out what they need and match those up with what the company needs. For example, if the company is purchasing a new kind of software, then training for everyone will be needed. However, if a particular manager struggles with time management, a specific course aimed at teaching that might save an otherwise valuable employee.

Establish Effective Lines of Communication

Often things that go wrong in a business are due to miscommunication. Messages get relayed inaccurately or emails don’t get answered in a timely manner. Sometimes managers get involved in problems that could be solved at a lower level. Evaluate your communication system and overhaul it if necessary. Make sure everyone is very clear on where they go and who they speak to for answers to their questions. At the same time, establish a standard response time for ordinary questions as well as an emergency protocol response time for urgent issues. Make clear the importance of regular and orderly communication between and among team members.

Managing a team of diverse workers is a challenge. If you feel like your team has gone astray, now is the time for a reset to start the next quarter strong.

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