January: New year, new challenges, time to get back to business and start creating your 2016 success story.
It's a month that can present business owners with sudden hiccups as well as great opportunities. To help you hit the ground running, here are some important considerations for you to factor into your thinking over the next couple of weeks, to make sure you're really prepared for the challenges that the month will bring. These are your January-critical questions:
How can you wake everyone up again?
Head off that post-holiday slump by re-energising your workforce – and yourself – as soon as you have everyone back at work in the New Year. Some tips:
· Start with yourself. If you can project yourself with extra energy and confidence no matter how you feel inside, it will be infectious. Being the boss means you have the responsibility of kick-starting the year by communicating the next set of targets – in such a way that your employees see and believe they are achievable, and buy into them.
· The New Year’s resolution approach motivates because it helps people to disconnect from past failures and promotes a big-picture view of life. Simply by giving yourself a fresh start to things, you give yourself a fresh burst of energy. So encourage those around you to identify how they can make a fresh start so things are better in the future - and don’t forget to lead by example!
· Celebrate business successes. You might be raring to go towards those new targets, but before you move on, take time to review last year’s successes with everyone. Employees like to be valued and given recognition for their commitment and hard work– often some basic acknowledgement is all it takes.
Can you harness that fresh start feeling to improve profits?
How can you harness that fresh start feeling to give the business a real boost? Could you roll out new projects that you’ve had on the back burner for a little while? Or maybe there are easy wins you haven’t yet tapped into, that could have a fantastic impact?
The freshness of a new year can work to your advantage in getting the ball rolling again after what may have been a sluggish or stressful holiday season. Sometimes, clean slate and new goals (either for the company or an individual employee) can be powerful motivators. This is the time when many people are eager to get stuck into new challenges and make fresh resolutions for the future, and it makes sense to embrace this energy as a manager.
It’s a good time to set some attainable goals to remind your workforce how good it feels to accomplish tasks and tick off a to-do list.
Your employees might be keen to develop their skills, and savvy managers know that this needs to be harnessed. Just asking each person simple questions like “where do you want to be one year from now?” or "where could we most improve our service to customers?" can get people motivated and looking at the bigger picture.
Are your staff looking for another job?
It's very likely that at least some of them will be - many people find themselves thinking about a job change at this time of year. If they’ve been stagnating for a while or they feel unappreciated and unchallenged, January is the peak time of year when people decide to do something about it.
Making sure that your employees are happy in their roles is important. If they decide to leave for pastures new, it can create serious problems.
· What’s the current climate amongst your workers? Are they happy and engaged? And how do you know?
· Are there any external factors that could have an impact on retention, such as new businesses opening in the area?
· Do you have contingency plans in place so productivity won’t take a hit if someone does leave?
This would be a good time to put more focus on developing your staff and encouraging them to take on new, value-adding tasks and challenges. Career development is an excellent way of retaining good people.
If people are starting to look outside your business for better conditions and pay, work out your plan of action. Head off the possibility of being forced into offering a salary increase just because one of your good people gets a higher offer elsewhere.
Are you ready for legislative changes?
Employment law is changing all the time: staying on top of it keeps your practices up-to-date, and helps you to create a business with a strong reputation when it comes to handling and developing its workforce.
We can help you to pinpoint any new legislation that will apply to your business, and start planning your approach to make sure you will be compliant. You may need to update your policies, and organise consultation and communication with your staff.
First off will be the introduction of the National Living Wage on 1st April (more here). Several other developments are in the pipeline that will have an impact on your policies over the next 12 months: more here key employment law changes for 2016.