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SWK HR Advisor: Productivity Tips for the New Year

By February 4, 2013No Comments

HR Advisor

Human Resource Insights from Kathleen Weiss

Dear Kathleen:

Our company seems to have gotten in a rut in the last few years and although we are doing well, I think we can do a better job of being a cohesive and productive company. Do you have any tips to start the New Year with a fresh outlook?

Kindest regards,
Ron G.

Dear Ron:

This is a great question. The first of each year is a great time to start over, shake bad habits and set new goals for the coming year. The process needs to include everyone for you to get the full benefits that will really make a difference. The beginning of the year is often the time when people set new resolutions for the year and reflect on what was productive or disappointing in the past year. It’s the perfect time to get the company and employees in sync so that all are striving for the same thing and moving in the same direction. Below are my top tips if you really want a productive and prosperous year.


  • Communicate the vision and the goals. There is nothing more ineffective than a company – that has a vision, and short and long term goals – and doesn’t communicate that vision to management and staff. How can those that work for the Company help the Company meet those goals if no one knows what they are?
  • Train your Managers – As companies grow and hire management staff there is often a disconnect with management styles and the company culture – or the culture the company wants to have. Make sure your managers are on board, trained to be effective managers and what they should and should not communicate to the troops. As the saying goes, “Employees don’t quit their jobs, they quit their managers.”
  • Seek Innovation from within. There’s an old saying that says, “He who knows everything, knows nothings. Look from within your organization and develop a culture of sharing and innovation. You never know where a great idea will come from. Reward those for their contributions.


  • Give praise and do it publicly. Too often managers get into a mode of putting out fires that it seems there is no time for anything except emergencies. Take time to give praise to those that stand out and sometimes to those that may need encouragement. It pays off ten-fold.
  • Communicate – Nothing is more important than a manager that effectively communicates with his/her staff. Spend time on goal setting, make sure expectations and procedures are in writing. Managers should understand that communication also includes listening.
  • Facilitate Teamwork – The easiest way to get things done and done right is to have a willing and motivated staff. Get buy-in with new projects and ask for feedback. Where appropriate, allow staff to contribute to the decisions in the process.


  • Make sure you understand your job. If you are new, or have been at your company for a while, make sure you know what the priorities are for your position. If you don’t know, ask!
  • Show up on time. There is nothing that sends a stronger message that you don’t care or appreciate your job, than an employee that shows up late. Work the hours you are paid for. In this time in history where we are bombarded with media from multiple sources, it can be difficult to focus on the task at hand. If you want to keep your job, stop texting, surfing the web, get off Facebook during working hours and get focused on your work. No employer wants to pay you to text with your friends.
  • Work with passion. If you are going to work, then work as if it’s your own company. Do you very best each day to exceed expectations and look for ways to share ideas for improvement. Don’t be afraid to point out your accomplishments.

In the end, company-wide changes and a new fresh outlook is more effective if it comes from the top down. That being said, not all companies have forward thinking upper management but if you are a manager or employee this should not deter you from doing your best and making a difference. In the end, you only have control over your own actions and make sure those actions are for the best of the company, your department and your job. Have a great new year!

SWK’s HR Advisor services provide cost-effective human resource solutions to small businesses. If you want more information on how to change your current vacation and sick policy to a PTO policy – or you have an outdated employee handbook that needs to be revised – please contact Kathleen Weiss, SPHR, at 973-758-6122, e-mail or visit Kathleen’s HR blog can be found at

Our services include:

  • Employee Handbooks (English and Spanish)
  • HR Audits
  • HR Hotline
  • Performance Management and goal setting to increase productivity
  • Job Descriptions
  • Staffing
  • Employee Relations

Disclaimer: Information provided is not intended to be and should not be considered legal advice. As always, please consult your attorney regarding your company’s legal matters.

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