Employer and Employee Guide to Planning for the New Year

Whether you are an employee, someone looking for a job, or a company owner, year-end and the pending new year is the time for reflection and planning.

Here is my guide on how to not screw it up.

Employee guide to get your shit together:

  1. Yes, it’s natural to think of a new year as a new beginning, which often means a new job. Resist this temptation and really explore whether it’s just the timing, or that you really do need….really need, not just want, a new job.
  2. If you are unemployed, review the past and determine what has worked and what has not worked in your search. Evaluate, assess, and refine your strategy. Commit to it.
  3. Evaluate your current job first, before you decide you need a new one. The grass is not always greener. Are there things you can be doing in your current company and role to make the new year better? Have you explored these with your manager?
  4. Take any vacation/holiday downtime for reflection and focus. Set goals. Get laser-focused on what you need. Establish a strategy to obtain it.
  5. Be realistic. If you are going in a new career direction or not, be realistic with your expectations, timelines, and what you need to do to achieve your goals.
  6. Cut yourself some slack. If the year did not go well, don’t dwell on it. Tomorrow is a new day.

Employer Guide to not annoy your employees:

  1. I cringe when I hear about “two-day off-site planning meetings”. I owned three companies, but before I did, I worked for a lot of them. I cannot think of one company that I would enjoy spending two days with, basically working, away from my family. It sounds great to business owners, and they are totally into it. Your employees….some are, some aren’t. Either way, it’s an imposition.
  2. Lead, lead, lead. This is your time to establish vision and mission. You drive the bus. Don’t ask your employees where they want to go. It’s your bus. They are either on it, or they can get off. But drive it well.
  3. Engage. Contrary to #2, this is not the time to lecture or tell them “how it’s going to be”. There has to be engagement and involvement, just not in the big picture stuff.
  4. Reward good work. If your company had a good year, reward your employees. Chances are they had more to do with it than you did.
  5. If your company did not have a good year, lick your wounds, and get ready to battle again. Assess what went wrong, what didn’t work and set a new course. Be honest and open with yourself. This is not the time for your ego to get in the way.
  6. Have fun. Eat lunch. Go out for drinks. Play.
  7. Be flexible. People may need some extra time for family this time of year. Understand and allow this, but don’t allow this flexibility to be abused. Set the groundwork and expectations.
  8. Set goals for the new year. Make them aggressive but achievable.
  9. Follow through. Understand that when the next year comes around, whether you acknowledge them or not, your employees will remember the goals you set the previous year. Don’t hide from them if you did not achieve them.
  10. Say “thanks”.

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