If you work as an HR manager, you have many ideas about what you’d like to see in your workforce. You want your company to be a welcoming place, with employees who respect each other and call out bad behavior. You probably see the potential to get there and spend many hours trying to make it happen.
Regardless of whether you subscribe to the practice of New Year’s Resolutions, annual planning can be a powerful tool to enable you to make some real progress. Plus, the start of a new calendar year does have a way of making you reflect on what you want to prioritize as you move forward.
So, as you think about the year ahead, stop wishing about the changes you’d like to see in your workplace and start making concrete plans to make them happen.
Here are a few ideas for resolutions that could make a big difference in the workplace in 2019.
Make The Reporting System Easier to Use
Most employees who experience bad behavior at work don’t bother reporting it.
Sometimes they think that reporting won’t make a difference, and other times the believe that reporting a problem could actually hurt their career or have other negative effects on their jobs.
Much of the effort required to get people to report problems more frequently is to create a culture where employees can feel confident that they can speak up without fear of repercussion. Building such a culture doesn’t happen overnight.
But there’s one distinct effort that you can make today to stop bad behavior as soon as it starts, and that’s putting a robust internal reporting system in place. The reporting system’s structure and protocols will vary based on the needs of your organization, but all employees should know exactly how to make a report. Ideally, they will have multiple options for doing so.
Inject Microlearning Techniques Into Training Programs
Microlearning, the educational technique that makes information easier for people to digest by breaking it down into smaller pieces, has been shown to be very effective in helping people remember new material for the long-term.
In a culture in which people are constantly given bite-sized information (blog posts, news stories, social media posts, etc.) it makes sense that a similar approach with corporate learning is more effective.
Microlearning makes new material more approachable and easier to manage for busy employees, because they can fit it into their schedule more easily when it’s in smaller increments.
In-depth training is still ideal for learning core ideas, but microlearning can be perfect for reinforcement or for the simpler issues. This year, make an effort to leverage its power.
Update the Company’s Social Media Policy
Social media continues to complicate the ways that employees share information about their work.
If your organization doesn’t already have a social media policy, work with your attorney to get one in 2019. Making sure your employees understand exactly what’s expected of them when it comes to social media can protect your company’s reputation and prevent uncivil behavior like harassment and bullying among employees.
A good social media policy gives employees a very clear idea about what employees are legally allowed to disclose about their work. It also clarifies that the same behavioral guidelines that apply to them when they’re physically in the workplace also apply elsewhere.
Namely, they should know that inappropriate messages or confidentiality breaches can still get them in trouble, even when the messages are private or encrypted (we all know how easy it is to take and share screenshots), or even anonymous (let them know that these messages will be investigated seriously).
Teach Employees How to Listen and Apologize
Good listening and apologizing are some of the most important skills that your employees can have.
Far from being “just soft skills,” these are skills that yield real results in the form of better productivity and teamwork, and they prevent toxic conflicts that can devolve into huge problems and even lawsuits.
It’s not enough to tell employees that they should listen respectfully or apologize when necessary. Although we’ve all listened and apologized in our lives, and though it might seem simple at first glance, your employees may have a wide variety of ideas and expectations surrounding these behaviors.
Just like with other behavioral expectations, they need concrete, step-by-step instructions that include how to handle non-verbal communication like eye contact and posture.
Measure Diversity Initiatives
An organization whose diversity reflects the makeup of the community around it is one that is the most likely to be hiring the best candidates (because they have chosen from the widest pool of applicants), and one who is more likely to embrace new ways of thinking and the creativity that comes along with it.
Saying that you want your workforce to be more diverse is much different than taking concrete steps toward making sure that the diversity has the best chance to actually happen.
This year, take a closer look at this hiring pipeline as well as the promotion and succession pipeline and troubleshoot for any potential problems.
Embrace Software and Technology
Tools now exist for documentation, onboarding, and paperwork.
Today’s employees are increasingly expecting their workplace to have the same tools and conveniences that they’re used to in their personal lives. As we wrote in our post on the consumerization of HR, some companies are now referring to their heads of HR as heads of “employee experience.”
Part of optimizing the employee experience is making sure that tasks like benefits enrollment and mandatory training don’t distract from core work or add to the frustration of their workday.
These days, there are user-friendly software tools on the market for tasks such as benefits enrollment, orientation, training, performance reviews, and even documentation. There are also tools that attempt to make it easier to actually measure your employees’ engagement with their work.
Embracing even one of these tools in the new year might make a big difference in your job and in the workforce.
Dedicate a Training Program for Middle Managers
As we wrote in our full post on the topic, middle managers have one of the most difficult positions in any organization.
They’re expected to switch between the roles of “boss” and “employee” constantly, and handle tactical day-to-day work at the same time as big picture goals handed down from upper management.
Most organizations focus their training budgets on upper management, but training dollars may be better spent on people who are earlier in their management careers, have lots yet to learn, and haven’t had years to settle into bad management habits.
Having the opportunity to take part in training that helps them do their jobs better can make middle managers feel seen and appreciated.
Get an Expert Training Partner
Many of the suggested resolutions listed will only be truly successful in an organization with an underlying culture of civility. However, cultural change requires a complex host of factors to be effective. Success will require buy-in from company leaders and interactive, behavior-focused training that gives employees a chance to practice behaviors in a safe space.
In 2019, consider leveraging the power of a professional training partner with deep legal expertise to help change your workplace culture.
ELI’s award winning training program addresses workplace civility as a whole. When you take a holistic approach to eliminating bad behavior, you can eliminate it in all of its forms (harassment, bullying, discrimination, rudeness). In addition to in-person and virtually-led training options, ELI also offers a Train-the-Trainer Program that can make you a certified ELI instructor.