The New Year is coming up quick, and with it comes a fresh start. As we race toward 2020, it is essential to be proactive and take the time to examine your HR processes to ensure you have the proper tools to enter into the new year.

So we’ve compiled a list of 10 things you can do to hit the ground running and start January with a refreshed and productive mindset.

1. Master Your Performance Reviews

End-of-year performance reviews are typically unavoidable – and essential –  for most companies. These reviews offer a chance to reflect on individual performance and an opportunity to plan and prioritize responsibilities for the year ahead. But year-end performance reviews must be approached with care and deliberation. Shockingly, 45% of HR leaders do not believe that performance reviews are an accurate way to track and rate the quality of work from an employee. In the past, executives often utilized a top-down approach to these conversations, using labels and terms to classify employees strictly on their work.

Instead, approach these reviews with a different outlook. Utilize them as an opportunity to build stronger relationships between managers and individuals, and encourage two-way feedback. A more open conversation can lead to statistical advantages: Managers who receive feedback and recognition from employees demonstrate greater profitability. By opening the dialogue to include not only employee strengths, but also opportunities for growth, concerns they may have, and their personal goals, managers can create an environment of collaboration and trust that will help start 2020 off with increased enthusiasm.

2. Catch Up On New Regulations

The end of the calendar year marks the beginning of some new federal regulations surrounding labor laws and compliance requirements. The Department of Labor delivered a final rule on overtime in late September, with the new ruling taking place starting January 1, 2020. Schedule time at the end of the year to read up on the specifics of these new laws and ensure your company prepares for the changes that will occur.

3. Carve Out Time for Introspection

The end of the year can feel like a hectic race to the finish line. Make sure to schedule some time for you and your department to reflect on the past year. Ask yourself important questions that help you take inventory of the things you’re doing well, and what could use a little refresh in the new year:

  • Are we asking the right questions during performance reviews?
  • Can our employees succeed with the tools we’ve provided them?
  • Are there ways we can make our reviews more efficient and effective?
  • What does our hiring pipeline look like for the new year? Are we prepared?
  • Is our onboarding process effective for 2020 new hires?

Work with the members of your department to get solid answers to these questions and create a map for how you can better yourselves in 2020.

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4. Highlight Performance and Goals

Gather the team and run through the highlights of 2019. Celebrate accomplishments, acknowledge employees who have exceeded expectations, and garner excitement for the new year by outlining goals for 2020. Research has proven that employees have increased motivation and productivity levels when they feel valued and appreciated. Use the end of the year as a catapult to start January off right by providing employees the recognition they deserve.

5. Concentrate on Unfinished Tasks

January 1 offers a fresh and clean start to a new year. Use the time before the end of the calendar year to tie up any loose ends. Clear out your email inbox, file that paperwork that’s piled up over the holidays, and take a moment to be thorough before you close the books on 2019.

Quick Tip:  Use a year-end checklist. Research has proven that checking items off lists leads to increased productivity — check off an item, get a surge of motivation. Challenge your team to finish as many tasks as possible and you will start 2020 with a clean slate and refreshed mind.

6. Organize Your Calendar Early

Digital marketing and social media have transformed the way we conduct business, however, the face-to-face time with other industry experts and clients is still as crucial as ever. Look ahead to next year and find opportunities to put yourself in front of clients — both returning and potential ones. One great way to accomplish this? Sign up to attend industry events and conferences.

Conferences are great opportunities to introduce yourself to people in your industry and learn new things to refine your team’s skills throughout the year. Staying on top of the latest trends and technological advancements is essential for maintaining your brand and status as an industry expert. Make 2020 the year for professional development.

7. Balance the Budget

The year is winding down, and that means it’s time to lock in your 2019 spending and plan for next year’s budget. This task can often be overwhelming when there are multiple expenses and changes to the staff and benefits throughout the year. Using membership-based models like a Caliper subscription makes it one step easier by ensuring your talent budget stays reliable throughout the year by offering a regular monthly rate you can count on to build out a predictable budget that’s easy to manage.

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8. Declutter the Workspace

A clean desk leads to a clean and clear mind. Encourage employees to declutter their mental state by first decluttering their physical ones. You might not think that overflowing stack of papers is affecting your work; however, research has shown that it does negatively affect you in more ways than one. Clutter has been proven to lead to increased levels of stress, anxiety, and an inability to regulate emotions as effectively. By scheduling time to clean up around the office, departments can help to better the emotional and mental states of your team while increasing productivity. Feeling overwhelmed with clutter? Check out this article for 20 quick tips to start the cleaning process.

9. Review and Refine

Spend the last few weeks of 2019 touching on the things your department accomplished throughout the year. Regroup as a team to review your HR processes and refine them leading into 2020. Some questions to kick-start the conversation:

  • What roadblocks did we run up against this year? What do we need in order to avoid them next year?
  • What were the missions and goals of our department? Were these reflected in our work?
  • What needs to be done now, so we can start the first quarter strong?

Challenge your department to view themselves from an outside perspective. Work as a group to find areas that could use improvement, and focus your efforts on key strategies for success in the new year.

10. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

The mindset of each employee plays a factor in the attitude of the entire team. It is important to try to combat what psychologists call a “fixed mindset.” Fixed mindsets limit one’s ability for creative and professional growth — they train your brain to become static and stagnant. By stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging your team to try new things, you can foster a positive tone in the office.

The results of this will benefit you personally, as well as professionally. 30% of all executives consider a continuous willingness to learn essential for professional success. With technology continually changing and job responsibilities updating each year, a mindset toward growth will become invaluable for employees across all industries. Encourage employees across all departments to think re-set their minds, think critically, and get creative as we look to 2020.

Preparation for the new year is crucial to start with a productive footing. Take the time to organize and prioritize your task list and goals so your team can better identify opportunities for growth, improvement, and innovation. For more information on preparing for 2020 and how to reach your talent management goals in the new year, reach out to Caliper experts today and get started.