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Top 10 New Year’s People Resolutions

By Anne Phillipson, Director, People & Change Consulting at Grant Thornton 

Now is the perfect time for business leaders to reflect on the year that was 2019 and plan ahead for new opportunities and successes in 2020.

When you are thinking about the people side of your organisation and the individuals and teams that will deliver your strategy, take care of your customers, and drive results, there are important considerations to bear in mind to ensure you are putting people at the top of your priorities.

To help you, I have put together our ‘top 10 list’ to challenge your thinking and ensure your people plans are top class.

Anne Phillipson

Anne Phillipson

People strategy. Do you have a specific people strategy that aligns to your business strategy? Like strands of DNA, the two should be interwoven. Did you spend as much time developing your people strategy as you did on the business plan?

Succession plan. Are you developing a pipeline of talent for the future? Do you conduct an annual talent review and assess your people, not only on their current performance, but also on their future potential? Do you have a plan in place to develop people for key roles? Have you identified your ‘stars’ and do you have a retention strategy for them?

Development. Do you focus on leveraging strengths or are you trying to fix weaknesses? Research is clear, you get much higher return on investment from helping people to do more of what they are already good at than you ever will from trying to fix the things that they don’t enjoy and don’t do well. Strengths-based development is where it’s at!

Board performance. Does your board conduct performance reviews on themselves, to assess the mix of skills and impact of the board, the relationships they hold with key stakeholders and how they manage those relationships? Development at the top has a positive impact throughout the organisation.

One-to-ones. it is absolutely critical that managers throughout your organisation are holding regular one-to-one conversations with their direct reports. That goes for CEOs and owners too. Checking in with people to hear how they are doing, what frustrates them, and anything else that is on their mind can prevent a lot of small issues from ballooning into big issues.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Not just the big stuff either. Develop a regular rhythm of internal communications for your people and not only will they be better informed, it builds trust too. Connect the dots for people. Share success and lessons learned from mistakes. You cannot over communicate.

Lead by example. The moment you walk through the front door of your office, factory, or sales floor, you are a behavioural role model to your people. Think about how your actions are being interpreted and be aware that your attitude is contagious.

Recognition. Catch people doing something right and acknowledge them for it. A simple thank you for going the extra mile is all most employees need to make their day.

Culture. If culture is ‘the way we do things around here’, it is important that you are aware of your culture and positively shaping it. Spend time in team meetings discussing culture and getting feedback.

Time to think. Build in time to think about the big issues, including your people, into your weekly agenda – don’t just take time out to think at Christmas and summer holidays.

If you implement all or even some of these practices, you and your teams will be in for a great new year.

For further information or advice, Anne Phillipson can be contacted at anne.phillipson@ie.gt.com

Grant Thornton (NI) LLP specialises in audit, tax and advisory services.

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