It's been a few years since I suggested some New Year's resolutions for managers. Let me give you two for 2018.
I am a believer that all employees would enhance their individual performance if they better understood the business or organization. By doing so, they will see how their department, and specifically their job, fits into the big picture - always a good thing.
My first suggestion then is to find ways to expose your own employees to the totality of your business.
Employees needs to understand your products or service, how you go to market, and why customers are willing to pay their hard-earned cash to purchase your goods. Employees need to know your corporate objectives and values. And, they need to know your competition and what they are doing to try to steal your customers, which threatens your employees' job security.
Letting your employees see the big picture does not have to cost money. Sponsor monthly lunch-to-learn sessions with a different department head leading an informal small-group discussion while munching a sandwich. January could be sales, February could be production, March could be product quality, April could be HR, etc.
I suggest finding additional ways for employees from different departments to work together on a common goal such as creating an emergency response team. Or, expose more employees to different groups through a job-sharing program. This latter idea is rather detailed and comes with a cost, so I'll save it for a future column.
My second resolution is to create an environment in which all employees are comfortable raising any job-related issues to their supervisor. This idea is best-served when you already have a set of HR principles within your organization. In today's business environment, I am finding that most companies do have such principles already listed and communicated.
Therefore, how do you keep that open door that everyone says they have truly open?
Believe it or not, it starts with the manager. He/she must initiate a process of open dialogue with the staff. I'm not just talking about weekly staff meetings, although not having them will surely hurt your efforts.
I'm talking about bringing individual members of your staff in on ideas while they are still just ideas and not after you have made a final decision. I'm talking about involving them in your day-to-day frustrations so that they see you are human. And, most importantly, I'm talking about you respecting your staff as professionals in every sense of the word.
By first opening up to them with an attitude of inclusion, you will be pleasantly surprised with the new level of respect employees will have for you.
I aspire for you to become the employer of choice. Committing to these two resolutions for 2018 will certainly help make that happen.
Randy Fox, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, is founder and senior partner of Capstone HR Services, Inc.