Lists are great! Never go into a supermarket or a new year without one. Absolutely necessary. Saves you a lot of time wandering around, wondering what you need. With a list you know, it’s spelled out right in front of you.
A list can even tell you in what sequence to tackle each item. Just prioritize it. But do the list first in whatever order the items come to you. Even if the list seems to be getting too long, keep going. You can delete and prioritize later.
Get the staff involved. Chances are good they have some suggestions. (You can bet on it!) But they should be involved. It is their livelihood and their physical and psychological working environment. Each item selected can probably improve, and everyone will benefit.
Also, January, February and March are usually good months for this type of work. The high-speed retail, fulfillment, hospitality, delivery, and other seasonal jobs slow down, so the opportunity is now. You have time. So, look around and see what resolutions may be in order.
To help the process, here are 5 general categories to consider, and within them 20 specific suggestions for possible resolutions. Because they are suggestions, I will discuss them very briefly. You can determine very quickly which are relevant to your situation.
So, here are the 5 categories followed by a few suggestions within each.
1. Updating the Business plan
2. Improving the Company Website
3. Improving the Physical Environment
4. Improving the Psychological Environment
5. Staffing Software – Getting More from Present Investment
1. Updating your business plan
If you do not have a business plan already, writing one is a good resolution to make. There are lots of books at any library or bookstore. Choose a simple one. My experience has been that if the book was written for an MBA graduate, it may intimidate and not get done. The important thing is to have a plan
So, forget the book (for this year) and just start writing down what your goals are for the coming year. Divide them into discrete areas like sales and profitability with some detail after each on what resources you may need, and the specific activities you believe will get you there. Add some benchmarks on where you should be at different dates.
If you don’t make it complicated, the plan will get done and you have fulfilled your first resolution.
If you already have a plan, update it. The most important areas are generally are sales and profitability, but you will have other important goals like quality control or increased staff training in regulatory compliance, or increased client retention.
The most important thing is to have an updated plan for the new year.
(Note: for further discussion read my previous blog articles “Organizing for Profit etc.“)
And/or, “Developing a Growth Plan etc.“)
2. Improving the Company Website
A good website is invaluable. With core staff, clients, and contract employees needing to be sold, or pre-sold, or retained, every day, your website is, whether correct or not, a reflection on you, your company, your professionalism.
If your primary constituencies are comfortable at your website, they may, very well, move closer.
Certainly you have other methods to sell and retain clients and employees (referrals, wages, loyalty, friendships, etc.) but your website is most always one of the best and the least expensive of all your promotional activities to attract, hire, sell, and retain.
A website is always a work in progress, never finished, complete, or unchanging. Neither is the market, your business, your clients, and employees.
A very basic new year’s resolution would certainly be to fix whatever is broken, or whatever is in error, grammatically or technically. So, review the site and make notes. Test every form and every link. Look at every page, every sentence, every word, every picture caption.
A beautiful website with misspelled words, broken links, or grammatical errors, is not one that should represent your company.
Another basic resolution might be to do a technical audit. There is software both free or for a modest price that will tell you what may be technically wrong on your site and how important it is. It will locate the errors and give them a name (for example: 404 error – page not found etc.)
Making specific enhancements to your website would also be a good resolution. First, you might look at those enhancements that will be helpful to your clients and contract employees but will also save you time and money.
An Online Application or Client and Employee Portals would be great. Many staffing software companies (including our own) have them built right into their software and ready to seamlessly integrate with your website.
If you have bilingual or multi-lingual employees add a free Google Translation tool. They will appreciate it.
If you have a large site add a free Search Tool to make it easier for your visitors to find whatever content they may be looking for.
Add a 30 or 60 sec Animated Video to give an overview of your company and its services. You don’t need to spend a lot of money. American production would cost $300 (30 sec) or $600 (60 sec).
You can do better on price with some of the Cloud-Based worldwide Gig platforms like UpWork, Fiver, or Freelancer, but, be careful, quality varies. Just sign up, post your project (in detail), and wait a day for offers together with the technician’s profile.
Or, if needed, redesign the whole website. Start with some design samples for the home page, subpages, and key landing pages.
(For a further discussion see my blog article “Having Fun Building Your Staffing Company Website”)
3. Improving Your Physical Environment
If you do not have some changes in mind for your office, look around. Make a list, get your staff’s input, prioritize.
Is the reception area in good shape? Restrooms? Break room? Office area? Individual offices?
Is the office workflow plan effective? Is the central copy machine a constant distraction to the people sitting next to it?
Is noise level a problem that can interfere with important telephone calls, or other office work? Should there be some partitioning or other noise abatement strategies?
Making improvements does not need to be expensive. A simple ceiling exhaust fan in a restroom or breakroom could be a great improvement in your physical environment.
Would an attractive picture, painting, or live plant in the reception area add to its overall attractiveness of this important area? A new piece of furniture?
Is the cleaning contract effective? Is it adequately supervised giving feedback where needed?
4. Improving the Psychological Environment
This is a difficult area but, as you know, a very important one. It may involve the firing and replacement of an important staff person(s). Often one or two people can spoil the psychological atmosphere of an entire office. If no decision is made you could lose other employees.
As I mentioned in another blog article recently: “If you have regular individual meetings with key staff, using your notes to make observations, evaluations, and directions, the difficulty of firing someone, when that decision is in order, is greatly diminished”.
The employee will have had several opportunities to change and will be expecting whatever decision you make. Do not disappoint. Resolve to create a happier new year, for everyone
A new year is also a good time for Promotions and Salary Reviews. Beside your own judgment, there is criteria within the staffing industry (ASA and SIA Association seminars and informal meetings with non- competitive colleagues) to make informed and judicious promotions, reassignments, and salary increases.
In your regular meetings with staff throughout the year these two topics would probably have come up more than once so that both you and the employee know what can be done and the requirements needed for it to be done. Resolve to get it done.
In most all situations, the psychological environment can also be improved with some effective training in conflict resolution, anger management, and/or sexual harassment.
As a professional staffing company, this is good supervisory training for those working with contract employees, other core staff, and even difficult clients. It is also good training for regulatory compliance issues.
With some well-trained staff in these areas there is also the prospect that they can be effective trainers themselves for contract employees and other regular staff members. Resolve to get started!
5. Staffing Software – Getting More from your Present Investment
In the discussion of improving your company’s website (#3 above) we had suggested adding an Online Application and Client and Employee Portals that were probably included in your staffing software package (our basic TempsPlus software includes them).
These two features would provide additional services to your clients and contract employees but will also save you time and money (a very real win-win)
But there may be other features that your software package includes that you may not be utilizing or simply underutilizing. When you consider that most staffing software features were developed in direct collaboration with staffing companies, for very specific needs, you may be overlooking some real efficiencies.
These efficiencies may not only increase your bottom line but also increase your client base via your increased ability to deliver a better service.
If software training is an issue why not resolve this new year to get additional training. Is there a person(s) on your staff already proficient in this area? Can they, or have they already, trained others? Your investment in this person could have a multiplier effect for the whole company.
This “Train the Trainer” approach has had a great track record. He or she best knows the intricacies of how your business operates daily.
They know what makes you and your clients unique. You can certainly send this person to us at any time to review some of the features that you may not using, or others that may not be used as much as they could be. (Other staffing software companies like ours could, most likely, make similar arrangements). In either case they would learn, in depth, information about the many utilities that are within these features.
Maybe you would rather have an experienced trainer or person from our office (or other software firm) come to your location to provide insight and overview on how your software can streamline some of your daily procedures.
Sometimes situations arise throughout the day that you may not even realize can be simplified or automated. With the software supplier at your office, we (or they) may be able to help identify and offer resolution to these troublesome tasks.
Another training alternative would be to simply schedule some Webinar training with some specific questions.
Whatever the method, resolve, to learn what your software can do for you!
So Happy New Year! Have fun with your resolutions, even if they are serious! If implemented, they are sure to make the new year brighter, happier, and more successful!