Getting Started in 2017: Think on Action, Not on What-Ifs

As one of the unfortunate ones still at work in between the two holiday weekends of Christmas and New Year‚Äôs, I‚Äôm seeing two prominent trends in articles being published by major HR/recruiting think-tanks. Trend one is a rehash of tops articles from the past year, looking back on all the big ideas and news in the talent space. Trend two is optimistic looks into the future‚Äîwhat 2017 holds for talent acquisition and management.

I’m calling BS on both.

Both of these trends are easy and lazy ways of getting through the holidays. It‚Äôs not necessarily a bad thing‚Äîwho doesn‚Äôt like reading what the year might hold, or seeing lists of the top articles from the past year? But when everyone is doing it, it becomes glaringly obvious that this trend is less about appeasing readers and more about filling the content machine until all the staff is back from break. They didn‚Äôt want to do the work beforehand to stack well-thought-out, original content up before the holidays were in full swing, so readers are left reading pretty much the same content from every major HR/recruiting publication.

As I chewed my bitter pill at my desk this morning, desperately searching for some original content somewhere, I decided to be the solution to this problem. There won‚Äôt be any big ideas about what the New Year might bring, what big goals you can accomplish in the New Year, or even what exciting things happened this past year. Instead, let‚Äôs talk about realistic things that can happen in the New Year.

Just like the New Year makes room for us to make new promises to ourselves about the people we want to be and habits we want to form, the New Year makes room in the workplace to open up conversations about workplace behaviors and performance. The New Year gives a space to address issues that might otherwise be awkward to bring up‚Äîthe little things about employee behaviors that really do contribute to overall performance, such as putting forth engagement with the team and arriving to work on time.

It‚Äôs these little habits that you can take a moment to re-coach your employees on with the additional help of context. It‚Äôs not so much that we‚Äôre in a New Year, but the fact that the New Year brings an end to the holidays. No one likes to be the nitpicky boss and kill everyone‚Äôs holiday cheer, so what better advantage do you have than all of that ending?

Employees’ PTO typically ends after the New Year and things start to get back into a rhythm. All of these factors create the perfect environment for level setting expectations. It doesn’t even have to be goal setting for the New Year or taking on strategies for big projects—just a simple meeting to remind your team members of the basic expectations for their role that you have as a leader, things that may be hard to remind them of during the grind of the day-to-day.

Rather than reminiscing on this year‚Äôs revelations or theoretically thinking on what the New Year might bring, think on the real and actionable conversations you can have during the first week of the New Year that can set you up for those bigger goals in 2017.

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