The start of a new year always feels like the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months, get organized, set new goals and objectives, and plan for the year ahead.
There’s no question that 2020 was a disruptive and transformative year. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted nearly every aspect of our economy and brought about major changes in the way businesses operate and how employees perform their work.
Although the start of this new year brings with it a sense of renewed hope and optimism for many of us, a great deal of uncertainty still exists.
Now is the perfect time to do some self-reflection, make sure you’re up to date with all current laws and COVID protocols, and gear up to make 2021 your most successful year yet.
Revisit Your Goals
Given the turbulence of the pandemic, your business likely underwent some major changes last year, and some of them may not be entirely temporary. From embracing new technologies and adjusting to working remotely to making difficult staffing decisions and adapting to changing customer demands, your company probably looks different than it did at the beginning of 2020.
Take some time to revisit your goals. Which ones are still relevant and which ones need to be thrown out or reworked? Setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) goals will help keep you and your team on track and increase your chances of being successful in the year ahead.
Update Your Employee Handbook
It’s always important to periodically update your employee handbook to accurately reflect your company’s current policies, practices, and procedures. Your handbook should clearly outline, in positive language, what you expect from your employees and what they can expect from you, along with a detailed explanation of how any conflicts will be resolved.
This is especially important if your company has recently transitioned from an office setting to a work from home environment. Creating accessible, and easy to understand policies and procedures for your employees during this transition period will help build the foundation for a successful remote work environment.
Just as businesses have changed the way they operate in recent years, employees’ preferences and expectations have changed as well. The beginning of the year is a great time to carefully review and revise your employee handbook and make sure it effectively communicates your company’s culture, values, policies, and expectations. Be sure to notify your team when you update your handbook, and make sure it’s always easily accessible to them.
Get Up-to-Date on New or Changing Laws
2020 was a bit of a whirlwind when it came to new laws, regulations, executive orders, and government mandates. As a result, many businesses have struggled to keep up. As we enter this new year, take some time to read up on any new laws (or changes to existing laws) that directly or indirectly impact your business.
With President Biden taking office, the Supreme Court set to review the Affordable Care Act, and governments at the state and federal levels continuing to try to make decisions based on the latest COVID-19 numbers and guidelines from health officials, it’s important to prioritize compliance and make sure you and your business stay up-to-date on all relevant laws and regulations.
Check-In With Your Team
Whether your team is back in the office with safety measures in place or continuing to work from home for the foreseeable future, the beginning of the year is a good time to check in with them, see how they’re doing, update them on any new goals or objectives, and ask them if they have any feedback or suggestions on how best to achieve those goals.
Maintaining open channels of communication with your team, especially when they’re working from home, is vitally important when it comes to keeping them happy, engaged, and productive. It’s always a good idea to have team brainstorming sessions, however, taking the time to talk to each employee one on one goes a long way in making them feel valued and appreciated.
It is important to set aside time throughout the workweek to have ‘social gatherings’ on virtual platforms for the employees to have non-business-related time to bond and stay connected. Not only does this help boost morale, but it helps to cultivate the company culture while you are outside of the workplace.
Make Sure You’re Complying With Current COVID Protocols
As we move into the new year, more and more businesses are beginning to reopen with safety measures in place. In order to do your part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep your workers and community safe, it’s important to stay up-to-date on all current guidelines and OSHA requirements.
According to the CDC, businesses should implement the following policies and procedures to keep their employees and the general public safe:
- Telecommute to the extent possible
- Require masks in the workplace
- Encourage flexible hours or stagger shifts
- Ask employees to inform you if they or a family member becomes ill
- Practice social distancing (keep desks at least 6 feet apart)
- Consider closing or limiting access to common gathering areas
- Advise employees to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer regularly
- Practice routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Ask employees not to use other people’s desks, phones, keyboards, or other office equipment
Is your business set up for success in 2021?
The COVID-19 pandemic brought about unprecedented challenges for small businesses and forced owners and managers to make some very tough decisions. But 2020 also taught us how valuable adaptability can be and presented opportunities for many businesses to branch out and embrace change.
With the right approach, you have the opportunity to grow your business in ways you may never have predicted a year ago. At Rush Recruiting & HR, we know how to help you navigate the year ahead with an emphasis on flexibility, positivity, and teamwork. We specialize in recruiting, human resources, training, operations, and management.