New Years Resolutions – For Work!

Believe it or not, it's almost New Year again and so out come the clichés around resolutions to get fit, get a hobby, eat well and so on!

From a work perspective this is also a great time to get your house in order when it comes to personal organisation. Many people have never really been trained in how to use a great time management system - often it's a combination of to-do lists (that often don't work), post-it notes, outlook planner etc and actually can just serve to make things even more confusing. It always fascinates me in my workshops the number of people who also say that they don't have a system - it's just what's in their head and they then hope that they remember to do certain things. Very scary!

So this is the time of the year to clear out those thousands of inbox  emails, delete the email folders you never look at, throw away the clutter of paper and archive away all that stuff you'll probably never need to look at again.

How? Just take 30 minutes a couple of times a week from here until New Years Eve to systematically move through getting everything down to only what's needed. It's effectively the going through the wardrobe thing - any clothes not touched in a year go to the charity shop or storage - it's the same principle at work. Being ruthless is the key word here - and why you're at it, start scheduling all of that work that you've been putting off - good intentions here give a great 'start as you mean to go on' kick-off to the new year.

Being organised is about getting stuff done and so in turn its about our credibility, reputation, how others see us. Out of all the new year habits you'll want to adopt, your own productivity is the one that often helps makes you indispensable at work.

And for HR?.....

A YouGov survey for the CIPD highlights that whilst HR is great at dealing with day-to-day issues and queries it's not necessarily sought out to help deal with those thornier, more medium/long-term strategic problems. You know the ones: 'Reward', 'Culture', 'Talent', 'Managing Performance' et al.

It's so easy to come back after Xmas and just fall back into the same routines, get on with the action points from historical plans or deal with the latest annual, quarterly or parent organisation deadlines/admin that seem to drain a lot of time. So here are three steps to give HR a big boost that can help improve its image further as well as having a great impact on what's happening around the place people-wise:

ONE: That 'business partner' thing

  • Take one or two organisation/team issues (not big broad things; specific issues you can start to get under the skin of)
  • Collect some basic data around what's been going on or start to capture the data now for the next few months
  • If it feels too big then just take one part of the business or one small team and centre the data there
  • Analyse what the data is telling you - even basic excel can help - no need to buy statistical modelling software or recruit three data scientists!
  • Start to tell the story around trends and possible solutions - get others excited around your eureka discoveries
  • Pilot your suggested solutions in just one or two teams to see if they have a positive impact.

TWO: Admin and efficiency

  • Pick the three routine things that take a lot of time admin-wise
  • Can someone help you automate them or come up with a nifty excel workaround?
  • Does every report need to be produced the way it was years ago?
  • Are you producing reports or admin because someone asked for them years ago and that person doesn't even work here anymore!
  • This is about ruthless efficiency to save you every possible minute

THREE: The same questions!

  • Capture the top ten frequently asked questions (email/phone/in person) into HR on a whiteboard for the next month
  • Target yourself with seeing a 50% decrease in them over the coming months!
  • You may come up with intranet solutions or other ways of getting information across to reduce the likelihood of questions - as soon as you see just how often a question is asked you will surprise yourself at the number of ideas you have to make things more slicker
  • Every minute spent dealing with the same questions can stop you doing the sexy stuff above!