Going to the gym more often? Check. Spending quality time with the family? Yep. Learning a new hobby? Sure. Improving the HR department? Of course.
For HR professionals—especially HR practitioners who serve an entire company on their own—the new year is a great time to set resolutions to fulfill in the 12 months ahead. Though they may have limited resources given the size of their businesses, many have big goals they hope to achieve.
Here are resolutions shared by several HR departments of one for 2023 to help improve employee engagement and their companies bottom line.
Incorporate a Shorter Workweek
The shorter workweek idea is catching on as more companies are emphasizing work/life balance, said Adam Garcia, HR director and founder of TheStockDork.com, an investing website based in Orlando, Fla. Garcia is hoping to change work schedules for his 16 employees by the second quarter.
“There’s one thing that’s been tested and proven to increase productivity while being very beneficial to employees: a shorter workweek on a salary that remains the same, or hopefully gets higher if resources allow it,” he said. “I’m not sure yet whether it’s better to aim for a 6.5-hour workday or a four-day workweek, so I’ll probably put it to a vote.”
If the economy takes a turn for the worse, Garcia said he’ll have to re-evaluate his plan. But for now, he believes this is the best way to move forward.
“Since [a shorter workweek] is known to boost productivity, I wouldn’t contemplate reducing the amount of workload immediately,” he said. “That way, I’d be able to compare the overall operational effects before and after the switch.”
Increase Remote Engagement
Ashley Brounstein, senior director of people at OpenComp, a compensation intelligence company based in Denver, manages 56 full-time remote employees across 17 states. In 2023, her resolution is to focus on creating a robust remote engagement strategy.
“[This includes] building core values that outline behaviors needed to be successful; goal setting to ensure our team has clarity on what we’re working on and how their individual work ties to our success; and manager enablement to build the right skills for our leaders to successfully engage, motivate, build trust and track performance remotely,” she said.
To figure out how to improve remote engagement, Brounstein is going to survey employees on what makes the company unique and then analyze and validate the feedback in a workshop.
“[We will] ultimately build our values from this,” she said. “These goals are critical in enabling a high-performance culture and environment in which our teams can do their best work and our business can continue to grow.”
Offer Volunteer Time Off
Volunteer time off (VTO), which allows employees to take paid leave to contribute time to a nonprofit, has become a popular benefit at many companies, said Will Ward, co-founder, and HR director at Arabic translation company Industry Arabic in Washington, D.C. Ward said he is going to incorporate VTO into his 17 employees’ benefits packages this year.
“My company already has a few charitable endeavors, like scholarships and pro-bono work, so I would have my team evaluate what we like about them and see if there are other volunteer opportunities that would be a good fit for us,” he explained. “I know VTO can either be at the employee’s choice of charity, or some businesses decide to partner with one. But it might be easiest, seeing as we are remote and global, to let employees find their own.”
According to Ward, most employees agree that giving back is important, but they often are overworked and have to focus on their own needs.
“VTO could really help my employees get in touch with their communities in a more convenient way that doesn’t interfere with their earnings or free time,” he said. “Many need that initial push, incentive, or encouragement to start.”
Focus on Employee Training
Samantha Myers, co-owner of Let’s Dress Up, a New York City-based events space for kids’ parties, manages HR for her 11 employees. Last year, she opened a second brick-and-mortar location of her store, and she hopes to “fine-tune the staffing situation there,” she said. “To that end, we need to train one employee to take on more responsibility. We are also looking to hire at least one more part-time person, and we plan to revisit expectations with existing yet relatively new employees.”
Myers believes that by providing more training, she can deliver a five-star experience to her customers.
“As a children’s business, we occasionally have quiet time that we use to make sure we have checked in with everyone and fully outlined areas that need improvement,” she said. “That way, we are all on the same page as a team and can continue growing the business.”
Invest in Equitable Practices
Linda Chavez, HR director, and CEO at Seniors Life Insurance Finder is hoping to make her company, which has 20 employees and is based in Philadelphia, more equitable this year. She plans to provide employees with fair pay, benefits, and better work/life balance, as well as revisit the firm’s disciplinary policies to ensure they are clear and equitable for every employee.
“To reach our resolutions and goals, we plan on engaging in regular reviews of our existing policies and practices,” she said. “This will allow us to identify areas that need improvement or adjustments.”
Chavez said that having well-defined, equitable policies in place will help her company attract quality talent, reduce turnover and cultivate an engaged workforce, which will lead to improved productivity and performance.
“Setting these goals helps us identify problems and areas of improvement so that we can make changes accordingly,” she said. “Ultimately, setting HR resolutions for the new year should allow our organization to reach its goals while creating a positive environment where everyone feels valued and supported.”