The Home Stretch

It’s almost the fourth quarter of 2012 and (groan) time to be thinking about next year. While there are a lot of distractions (hurricanes, the Presidential elections) don’t let your business get caught without a strategy and detailed plan for going into the New Year.

You already know that you need to have a plan for the areas of finance, marketing, sales and people. While most businesses do a good job with the first three, the people area often suffers or there is a lack sufficient planning.

I have provided a list the major areas in the People Department that business owners and executive teams need to consider when planning for the New Year.

First you need to remember that “people make things happen” Everyone deserves honest feedback regarding their performance.  I always recommend checking in at the six month mark; if you didn’t, you really owe it to your employees to have a discussion with them at the end of the year.  Each department manager should work with their team to develop goals for the New Year.

Next, figure out which positions are most critical to the success of your organization and get those filled first. I highly recommend creating a job benchmark for your key roles. Then either before or after an interview, have each applicant take a pre-hire assessment. You’ll soon know if the applicant is a match for the job.

If you don’t have a proper on-boarding process, it’s time to get serious about putting one together. Studies have shown, having an on-boarding process engages new employees early on and makes them feel as though they are contributing quicker which helps your employee retention rate. During your on-boarding process is the time to discuss where your employee matched the job benchmark as well as potential areas for development. Now would be a good time for the hiring manager to provide some suggestions for helping the new employee develop the gap areas.

For current employees I also recommend an updated assessment. Everyone develops new skills throughout the year and assessment tools can highlight the new skills as well as shed light on what motivates them.

Don’t let the end of the year come and go without taking these steps to be prepared for 2013. Because reality is, if you head into the home stretch with a plan for the New Year, you’ll be way ahead of your competition and there’s nothing wrong that!