Editors Note: This guest post by Nick Hedges originally appeared on LinkedIn. His opinions are his own.
Whether you’re in Australia nearly starting to look at your results from the first quarter, or in the USA starting to plan your budgets for 2018, much of the focus for companies is on their financials. But now is also a great time to take a closer look at the people and processes within your business to make sure everything’s on track.
1. Check wages and general salary levels
In Australia, the minimum wage was increased as part of the 2017 Annual Wage Review. The Fair Work Commission (FWC) announced a 3.3% increase to minimum wages which sets the new national minimum wage at AU$694.90 per week or AU$18.29 per hour. This rise took effect from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2017.
Those in hospitality and retail should also take note of the recent changes to some of the penalty rates in these specific awards. You can find the full document containing all the changes here.
When did you last review the current salary levels of all your staff and compare them to current market rates?
2. Review performance
A performance review provides a solid opportunity for management to take the time to meet with their employees one-on-one and have an open discussion about their role, past performance and the working environment. Managers should seek to go into the meeting with a theme or an agenda for the review and it’s worth keeping in mind what the desired ‘take-home message’ will be for each employee. Preparing questions for both the employee and manager will help set the topics for the meeting. Preparation for both parties really is key!
While it is important to go over the past working period and listen to feedback from employees, a significant part of the review should be dedicated to each employee’s future with the organisation. Managers should identify employees’ career goals and future plans, as well as any opportunities for skill enhancement and training.
For best results, at the end of the review both managers and employees should have a specific set of actions to be followed and signed off which can then be addressed at the next review whether it be in six or twelve months time.
3. Revise goals, incentives and KPIs
Previous goals and KPIs that have been set can be measured and the results then compared with the overall desired outcomes. As employees’ KPIs are reviewed, managers can evaluate how realistic the targets have been and how they are impacting the organisation as a whole. In most cases, the targets that each employee is trying to achieve should be a reflection of the company’s longer range 3-5 year plan. Managers can also review whether any KPI set for each employee is conflicting with any other employee’s KPI or the organisation’s objectives as a whole.
When consulting with clients, I am often asked about the typical KPIs for employees.
Managers should consider the following:
- What are the 2 or 3 key drivers of the business in the next 12 months?
- How will each employee be best placed to assist in fulfilling those goals? What action will be required to achieve these goals?
- What will each employee achievement look like when these goals are reached?
4. Is everyone satisfied?
When an organisation is running well, it is generally because each individual is working well. Throughout the year, managers can ask for general feedback regarding employee satisfaction at work but when a more formal approach is required, feedback can be gathered using an employee engagement survey. A good engagement survey will incorporate how valued employees feel, how often they receive recognition and how likely they’d be to refer their workplace to a friend or colleague. Now would be a great opportunity to consider distributing an engagement survey.
To assess the culture, employees can be asked how well they know the company’s values, how embedded they feel the values are in the company culture, how much fun they feel they have while at work and most importantly, how likely they’d be to refer a friend or colleague to their workplace.
5. Reconnect with potential employees
Many business owners and hiring managers meet with strong potential employees at various points in time (not necessarily as part of a formal recruitment process) but perhaps the timing wasn’t right to make a hire at the time. It’s good commercial practice to keep in touch with these people on a somewhat regular basis, such as every 6-12 months, particularly if they were deemed a great cultural fit for the organisation. By regularly keeping in touch with solid industry or referred contacts, when vacancies open up then the rapport building has already been built and hiring should be much easier. This process is all part of building a vibrant talent community for your organisation.
6. Review policies and internal communications
The flow of communication should be reviewed to ensure that it is effective and producing the right results across the organisation. This involves looking at the structures in place and ensuring that there are no bottle-necks, no double-handling and that people feel they have the necessary information to perform their role.
Now is also the perfect opportunity to review policies, particularly those that are new or were recently changed. An organisation with a solid HR framework, robust policies and strong communication should find that fewer challenges arise in day-to-day operations.
The people within any organisation are the most valuable commodity and just as the numbers can represent the profits, a thriving culture and a high level of satisfaction within a company are a representation of the employees.
With a more satisfied and engaged workforce, the productivity, effectiveness and efficiency will ideally rise and success in terms of profits should follow.