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Top 10 people and HR priorities for 2012

Employers are urged to plan ahead now for human resources success in 2012 – and to beat the traditional wave of ‘New Year, New Career’ employee resolutions

People management and human resources is a growing challenge for Australian businesses of all sizes. Impending skills shortages are making both recruitment and staff retention increasingly difficult, with these troubles tipped to increase over several industries in 2012.

The New Year is the perfect time to begin planning for people management success in 2012, according to Recruitment Coach managing director Paula Maidens.

“Employers need to plan ahead now to beat their competition – both to recruit the right new staff and to retain current employees. Traditionally, the first few months of the year are the biggest in resignations and recruitment, as staff make a New Year’s resolution to find a new job,” she said.

Based on industry trends, research, and experiences with clients, Maidens recommends the following 10 tips for people management success in 2012:

1. Set goals, recognise results

Goal-setting is the first step to employee success and motivation for the coming year. The New Year provides a fantastic opportunity for employers to review employee goals to set the business and employees up for success in 2012. Once goals have been set, it’s also equally important to recognise staff results as goals are ticked off.

“While goal-setting is the starting point of success, the key to continued success is to recognise employee accomplishments. Show staff that you value their contributions with simple gestures,” Maidens said.

2. Look to your employees for input and ideas

Consider your staff as a source of innovation and new ideas. Employees want to feel like they are being listened to and that their input counts. Ask for their opinions and make time to listen. Great ideas come from many places, and rarely from a single person!

3. Make staff a part of your business vision

It’s increasingly important for staff to feel like their work is contributing to ‘something big’. Communicate your goals and vision, and show each staff member how they’re contributing to reaching those goals to keep them motivated, and engaged.

“Workers aren’t necessarily seeking a world-changing opportunity; however, they do want to see that their work is important to their employer’s business vision. Showing employees how they fit in to business goals is highly motivating and will result in higher performance and loyalty,” Maidens said.

4. Make management skills a training priority

Unsurprisingly, a great management team can have profound benefits for staff productivity and motivation. Taking the time to invest in management pays off, with numerous studies linking employee satisfaction and performance with the skills of their managers. Training and development programs for managers will ensure that staff are kept at their most motivated and productive.

5. Plan ahead to secure top talent

A “bums-in-seats” approach almost never works successfully, with expensive hiring mistakes often made out of desperation just to fill a position – now! With skills shortages due to impact many Australian businesses in 2012, recruitment planning is now essential to reduce hiring mistakes. Avoid reactive recruitment by creating a simple Recruitment Plan for the next 12 to 36 months, which will estimate the number of additional employees needed after analysing business and growth plans.

6. Don’t forget Generation Y

While it may seem a long way away, Generation Y are your future succession plan. Show your Gen Y staff that you value them and strive to engage them, or risk them using your business as a training ground before moving on. Most of all, young professionals are seeking inspirational work environments that accommodate recognition, social media, and flexible work options – and they’re often prepared to take a lower salary to find that opportunity.

7. Get smart with your reward strategy

Non-financial rewards and benefits are more important than ever in attracting and retaining staff. Look past a big salary figure to create a ‘smarter’ reward strategy, including what is important to your employees and what will motivate them to stay and excel.

8. Embrace the future of the workplace with flexibility

The workplace is changing – staff no longer believe that they need to be at the office to achieve results. To get the best from your staff, switch to an outcome-oriented workforce where employees are paid for performance/productivity, rather than time. To make the switch, effective performance management systems are essential to ensure consistent results, including regular reviews, monitoring of work outcomes and goal setting.

9. Transition baby boomers to retirement

As the first of the baby boomers start to retire, Australian businesses are already feeling the negative effects of their departure. To reduce the future loss of skills, consider implementing a flexible work options program to help both parties with the transition, by offering part-time positions, and mentoring or coaching programs.

10. Promote a healthy workplace for high productivity

Improving employee health and wellbeing will reduce absenteeism, in addition to increasing productivity and staff satisfaction. Encourage staff to think more about their health and wellbeing by placing more focus on health throughout the workplace. There are many simple methods to promote healthy lifestyles, such as group sport activities, free/low-cost health food, flu vaccinations, and reduced-cost gym memberships.

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Lorna Brett

Lorna Brett

Lorna was Dynamic Business’ Social Web Editor in 2011/12. She’s a social media obsessed journalist, who has a passion for small business. Outside the 9 to 5, you’re likely to find her trawling the web for online bargains, perfecting her amateur photography skills or enjoying one too many cappucinos. You can follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/dynamicbusiness">Twitter @DynamicBusiness</a>

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