December 18, 2020

This article on preparing and improving upon your Human Resources Department for the new year was originally published in December 2019. All relevant statistics and content have been updated as of December 2020.

As we approach 2021, it may be a good idea to take a moment to examine your HR processes and prepare for the new year ahead. Use what you’ve learned from the year behind you — where did you see success? Where could your department benefit from some increased focus? As you consider your strategy and priorities for next year, think of what you accomplished this year and what you need to make next year even better, more effective, and more productive.

To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of 10 things you can do to start the new year off on the right foot and improve your Human Resources department:

1. Refine Your Performance Management Tactics

Performance reviews are crucial in working toward any company’s success. However, 45% of HR leaders do not believe that performance reviews are accurate measures of employee value. With many changes occurring throughout 2020 and a trend towards remote work, it is highly likely that your performance review process this year was conducted in a unique way. Now is an excellent opportunity to review how your new process went and highlight the areas that would benefit from a refresh or rework.

Reviews are an opportunity to open the dialogue between managers and employees to receive valuable two-way feedback. Ensuring they’re productive is critical to your employee development plan. And the statistics back this up: Recognition and feedback not only increases employee engagement but also leads to an 8.9% greater profitability for managers.

Set your #HRDepartment up for success in 2021 by following these 10 steps @ClearCompany has outlined for you:

2. Focus On Engagement

On average, a disengaged employee costs your company nearly 34% of their total salary. The downtime usually found at the end of the year is a great opportunity to focus on your engagement strategy by adding a little recognition to your holiday festivities. Employee recognition is an excellent and low-cost way to engage individuals.

Fine-tune your recognition strategies to what your staff responds best to, and demonstrate how you appreciate the value they add to the company. Identify where you could have improved your engagement levels this past year, and address them in the year ahead. Need some help? This year, ClearCompany released its comprehensive Employee Engagement Suite. Our tools and software are built to be easily customizable to your workplace needs and offer insightful and real-time feedback so that you and your team can measure employee engagement and sentiment and make actionable changes in a timely manner.

Tip: Supercharge your employee engagement levels with ClearCompany’s Employee Engagement Suite

3. Get Your Team On Board

Set your department up for success in 2021 by coming together as a team and running through the past year. Highlight your team’s accomplishments, acknowledge those employees who have gone above and beyond, and foster excitement for 2021 by outlining new goals. Provide all team members the opportunity to give input, and determine as a team what goals are most essential to your department’s success. Once these goals have been identified, set up frequent meetings to follow-up on these goals, hold each other accountable, and measure your team’s progress. By including everyone as part of the process, they’ll be invested in next year’s success, too.

4. Get Ready For New Regulations

The end of the calendar year is a perfect time to step back and ensure your HR department is prepared for all the upcoming compliance requirements. Every year there are new conversations surrounding legislation on topics like workplace immigration and minimum wage laws, and in 2021, employers need to be mindful of regulations regarding COVID-19 as well. Here are a few key topics to help you prepare for 2021:

Minimum Wage:

In 2021, 25 states will be changing their labor laws to include a state minimum wage and remain competitive in their hiring efforts. Take some time to browse through the list of states these measures affect so that your department can prepare for any increases and adapt your hiring plan if increases do occur. This is a good opportunity to think proactively rather than reactively.

COVID-19 Regulations:

As we continue to navigate the pandemic, organizations need to stay updated on both state and federal regulations regarding COVID-19. Ensure your company is prepared to adapt whenever necessary and that your current software supports your employees in their remote work.

5. Schedule Time for Self-Examination

With the end of the year around the corner, it can often feel as though you are sprinting to the finish line. Take a moment to step back with your department and reflect on the last four quarters. Ask your team important questions that open up assessments of your current processes. What aspects are working well? What processes need a bit of a refresher for the new year? Here are a few questions to start the discussion off on the right foot:

  • Are we providing our employees with the right tools for success?
  • What are the strengths of our HR department? What are the weaknesses?
  • How can we improve upon our strengths/weaknesses to better meet our goals?
  • Do digital and collaboration tools properly support us to continue working remotely? Do these tools need to be updated?

Work as a team with your department to answer these questions and create a strategy for success in 2021.

6. Hyper-Personalize Your Leadership Strategies

A one-size-fits-all strategy for leadership is not an effective way to motivate and engage employees. Utilize performance reviews and surveys to gather information on what leadership methods work best for motivating your employees. Now that companies are managing such a diverse pool of human capital, it is imperative that hyper-personalization is implemented into HR services in order to retain skilled employees. It is important to practice flexibility and continual learning at all levels of leadership in your company; as your business evolves throughout the year, you should be evolving your leadership methods as well.

The New Year is coming up quick! Jumpstart your #HRDepartment with these 10 tips from @ClearCompany. Find out more here:

7. Concentrate on Turnover

Spend the last few weeks of 2020, touching on the roadblocks your department may have faced in the hiring process. Focus on the data and facts surrounding the decisions made in the past year. Ask yourself:

  • Who did we let go in the past 12 months, and why? Was this a result of downsizing or other measures?
  • How many people left our company voluntarily? Are they moving on to competitors?
  • What can we do to retain employees better? Do we need to update our onboarding practices?

Challenge your department to view themselves from an outside perspective. Work as a group to identify areas that could use improvement, and focus your efforts on successful hiring strategies in the new year. One way to gather answers to these questions — use ClearCompany’s pre-built surveys. With survey templates created to assist with exit interviews, managers can identify exactly what influenced past employees to move on from their role.

Bonus Material: Read more on how onboarding is essential to employee success.

8. Arrange Your Calendar Early

In 2020, many HR conferences were forced to move to a virtual format. This allowed HR professionals more opportunities to participate and learn from their peers. As we look to 2021, plan for which conferences you would most like to attend. HR conferences are great opportunities to meet peers in your industry, learn about new trends and practices, and encourage continual learning to refine your team’s skills throughout the whole year.

One recommended conference: the Talent Success Conference. Check out the speakers from this previous year, and hear from attendees on why this event is a must-attend in the HR industry. TSC is always an excellent opportunity to learn from pioneers and barrier-breakers and keep your company ahead of the pack.

9. Budget for 2021

2020 is nearly over, and it is time to lock in spending and plan for the new year’s budget. ClearCompany helps to streamline expenditures by making the hiring process and talent management processes more efficient and effective. Our recruiting, applicant tracking, and onboarding systems assist in improving your HR department in all stages of the hiring process, and all offer free demos. For assistance further down the line, utilize our performance management systems to analyze talent, track and measure success, and continuously develop and engage your team. 2020 was jam-packed with changes, adaptations, and improvements, and we’re looking forward to an even busier 2021. Carve out the budget to make sure you’re getting the tools you need most to be successful.

10. Ask The Tough Questions

Feedback is essential to improving both yourself and your department’s processes. However, you don’t always receive feedback you can act on. End 2020 by asking the tough questions — the ones that will give you the answers you need. Constructive criticism is the best way to evaluate the success of your current processes and identify areas that need improvement. Forbes calls this mentality “fearless listening.” Open yourself to honest feedback from your employees, and you will be able to transform their comments into real, effective change that improves your Human Resources processes. One great method of obtaining honest feedback is through anonymous surveys. Many employees feel more comfortable giving tough feedback when they know it is not tied to their name. Utilizing ClearCompany’s Employee Surveys, managers can customize their questions so that they receive highly specific and helpful feedback.

Preparing and improving your HR department will bring a positive start to the new year. By taking the necessary time to reflect on your current processes and identify priorities for the new year, your team can look forward to 2021 with optimism and excitement. For more information on how to reach your professional goals in the new year, reach out to one of our experts and schedule your free demo today.

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Meredith Wholley
Meredith Wholley
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As a Marketing and Event Manager, Meredith coordinates best-practice content and brand-awareness events for ClearCompany. With her career in HR tech, Meredith works closely with HR practitioners and is passionate about providing them with the tools and information they need to succeed.

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