I am just now getting out of my holiday funk. It seems that the time between Dec 22nd and Jan 2nd are a blur of celebrations, family gatherings, shopping, and some general laziness. Whatever is on a to-do list can wait until next year.
Now it is next year and it is time to get in gear. One of the most popular resolutions for the new year is “professional development” but, like many resolutions, this one is forgotten or excused away by March. (If they last that long -- Jan 17th is National Ditch Your Resolutions Day.)
Professional development shouldn’t just be a resolution; it should be a way of life. And if you are a business owner or entrepreneur, you won’t be successful without this attitude.
If you want to grow your business in 2018 while maintaining happy and productive employees, there are three main things you need to have in place.
Something they can rally behind: Employees need to know why they are there.
This could be your company purpose or mission. The majority of the working force needs to know WHY they are coming to work everyday. This will be the rallying cry that gets them excited at monthly meetings and the common theme that unites every employee.
Check out a few of the most inspiring mission statements here.
If you don’t have this statement already, now is the perfect time to create it. If you have one, ask your employees how much it inspires them. If you get a tepid response, it is time to rethink it.
A goal to work toward. Employees need to know what they are working on.
What is your company trying to achieve? And no, this isn’t the same as your purpose or mission statement. This is an overarching goal that they can see come to fruition. Do you want to reach a certain number of customers by year-end? Become one of your state’s best places to work? Or do you want to become the largest firm/practice/company in your area or industry? Don’t forget that these need to be SMART goals.
Whatever it is, figure out a way to track it and then display it so your employees can see how their contributions move the needle.
Specific metrics they can track. Employees need to know how they are contributing and how they know if they are successful.
I cannot stress this enough. If employees do not know how their job and hard work moves the needle and contributes to the mission, they will lose interest. Give them three main areas they can focus on to know they are successful (or not) and make it easy for them to understand.
Then, again, display it. Give them a cheat sheet that they can reference every day, and check in with them on their progress on those metrics at least once a month. Celebrate victories, discuss needed changes, and enjoy the benefits of a well-rounded, appreciated team.