Take a Proactive Approach to Improve Your Outlook for 2020

Effective HR management helps you finish strong on benefits, reviews, budgets at year’s end

By Matthew W. Burr, SHRM-SCP December 12, 2019
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Take a Proactive Approach to Improve Your Outlook for 2020

​We all recognize how busy the HR department can become at this time of year. Open enrollment, performance reviews and managing budgets are part of planning and goal setting for next year. As leaders, we have a tremendous opportunity to set up our organizations for a great finish to 2019 and a successful start to 2020.

How do we accomplish this? Through strategic project management, decisive action and relentless follow-up. Here are some tips.

  • Open enrollment. Understanding and communicating changes in benefits can be overwhelming and stressful for employees and HR professionals. Be proactive and communicate the information thoroughly and through multiple channels. Provide opportunities for group meetings and one-on-one sessions as needed. Don't forget remote workers or traveling professionals.
    Utilize the SHRM competencies Communication, Relationship Management and HR Expertise to truly make a difference during open enrollment.
  • End-of-year performance reviews. Partner with employees across the organization—which includes seeking feedback from all levels—to ensure that the performance management review process is completed effectively and efficiently. Provide timely training to new managers and supervisors. Hold everyone accountable for completing his or her part of the process, including senior management.
    The Business Acumen, Relationship Management and Communication competencies will provide the tools necessary to do a good job.
  • Finance, money and budgets (oh my!). Some HR professionals love it, and others find it burdensome, but at the end of the day, truly understanding the HR budget as well as the organization's total budget is our responsibility. This can cover training, employee perks, wellness programs and more. Spend time with the finance or accounting department. Review last year's budget. Know what HR's priorities are, based on the strategic direction of the organization. If you need additional funds, make sure you have a strong reason for requesting a bigger budget.
    Critical Evaluation, Business Acumen, Relationship Management and Communication are a few competencies you will use when reviewing budgets.
  • Legislative changes. Review how changes to laws and regulations at local, state and federal levels will impact your organization.
  • Measuring outcomes. Design metrics and key performance indicators, which are necessary for all the areas mentioned above. If we are not measuring, we cannot improve!

 Matthew W. Burr, SHRM-SCP, is an HR consultant, an assistant professor at Elmira College, and an on-call mediator and fact-finder for the New York State Public Employment Relations Board.

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