The New Year is the perfect time to plan – it’s an opportunity to reflect on the year that’s been, reset your business’ ambitions and restart any good intentions and habits to carry you through 2020. Despite being nearly at the close of January, there’s still time to set yourself up for a successful year, writes Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer of people-management platform, Employment Hero.
Here are three tips to help you hit the ground running:
1. Set good intentions
This year, the spotlight is on mental health – your own, and that of your team. Regularly checking in with your emotions is vital, especially as our work-life balance becomes more and more integrated with the rise of flex and remote working options.
Identifying triggers of stress and anxiety is a key focus – a recent Harvard Business Review report showed that half of millennials and three quarters of Gen Zer’s have left past roles for mental health reasons, both voluntarily and involuntarily. Not only is it a priority for personal wellbeing, it’s also business smart for you to ensure your team is emotionally aware of themselves, and others, in order to retain your top talent.
Another great intention for 2020 is to practice more inclusive leadership. Incorporating more effective collaboration is as simple as listening intuitively to your team, encouraging diversity of thought in problem solving, and tapping into what truly motivates each person. Which brings us to our next focus – scrapping the annual performance reviews in favour of regular one-to-one check-ins. Research from LinkedIn found that 80 per cent of millennials prefer feedback in real-time, so dedicate more hours to less formal check-ins that incorporate performance and wellbeing holistically.
Lastly, the ongoing bushfire crisis in Australia is a lesson to us all that we must tread more lightly on the Earth. Every effort counts when it comes to reducing your footprint – so be mindful of waste, resist plastic and strive to make sustainable choices where possible.
2. Tailor your goals
OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) are an excellent way to hold yourself accountable to intentions. The objective being the big, ambitious goal that aligns your team and company to a clear vision, and the key results as three to five pillars of progress that ensure your results are measurable. Your intentions for 2020 should inform the pathway to achieving your OKRs through tailored ‘initiatives,’ which describes the work required to drive progress on key results.
For example, if your OKR for Q1 was to boost employee engagement, you could structure your key results around the wellbeing of your team. An example of a key result could look like this: ‘increase employee satisfaction by 5 per cent in a quarterly engagement survey.’ By going back to your intentions, throughout the quarter you could regularly check-in with culture influencers and listen to their needs and suggestions to ensure employee satisfaction is on-track as you work toward achieving your big-picture goal. There are certainly a lot of tasks and initiatives that go into achieving a key result and these are worth noting and discussing in one on ones.
Rather than Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), OKRs take a more holistic approach to performance and goals, meaning your intentions seamlessly crossover with objectives. Always align your OKRs to a company-level objective so you are understanding how you contribute to the overall goals or strategy of your business.
3. Organisation is key
Organisation plays a significant role in sticking to OKRs. Workplaces are becoming more attuned to working smarter, not harder, by prioritising time for strategic planning over traditionally ‘productive’ work. The more thought you put into those goals at the beginning – through mapping out intentions and key results – the more achievable they appear, so be sure to dedicate a decent amount of time to structuring your OKRs.
Key results are an excellent measure of progress, as they act as signposts throughout the path to success, while highlighting roadblocks and strengths. If you’re using software to track OKRs, often you will have clear visibility of others’ OKRs to inspire fresh thinking and a cooperative approach to problem-solving. With each team member aligned to an overarching objective, it creates a sense of responsibility, as no one wants to let the team down by not pulling their weight.