For business owners and entrepreneurs, growing the business is always at the top of our New Year’s resolution list. If you ask any entrepreneur or owner about top goals, each priority will invariably serve the main goal of business growth. Like any resolution, however, follow-through is the hard part and keeping business resolutions takes more than just one person to succeed. To achieve our goals, we need employees who understand, embrace, and strive toward the same corporate priorities. We fill spreadsheets with projects and assign specific tasks and expected delivery dates, but are our employees dialed in to what is specifically needed of them to achieve our desired growth? Do they understand the part they play?

Symbiosis: Help Me Help You

Your top executives are usually tasked with recognizing the needs of your organization and building a path to fulfilling them, but, as the proverb says, “It takes a village.” Assigning tasks and due dates is easy, but getting an entire workforce motivated is both challenging and, perhaps due to the difficulty, often ignored. If your employees don’t know or care what they’re working toward, why should they do well? You can better accomplish your corporate goals if you motivate your employees to include the company in their New Year’s resolutions. People often resolve to advance their careers or improve their position, but what are the exact actions needed to accomplish such resolutions? Your employees may not know the specifics of how they can achieve their broad career goals. Identifying your employees’ goals and desired career path only makes your business better. If your employees know where they want to be in 5 years and have a detailed path to getting there, they are more likely to engage and produce a higher quality of work on a day-to-day basis. Tend diligently to your workforce and you will cultivate a workforce that tends diligently to its work, aka symbiosis.

1. Conduct An Annual Employee Assessment With No Rewards (In addition to your annual raise review.)

One way to assist employees in reaching their career goals, and consequently helping achieve corporate goals, is to have employee reviews in January. You may already conduct an annual review that determines pay raises and/or promotions, but this is often the only kind of review a company will conduct throughout the year. A secondary annual review without promotion or pay bump provides your employees a chance to get feedback on their work between incentive-based reviews and helps them to stay on track. When you separate pay and promotion from the employee review, you gain the employee’s full attention on what is needed to improve and advance in their career. Conducting two reviews annually can be time consuming; however, keeping your greatest asset, your employees, focused on the goal is measurable. Conducting a non-pay review in January and a paid review in June reminds your employees about their expected daily performance, advises them on how they can advance in their career, and reinforces their role in the company’s achievements.

2. Have Your Employees Self-Review, Also

Providing employees with a self-review prior to the formal review encourages employees to reflect on their strengths and any areas for improvement. I have found that most people rate themselves accurately, and even those who rate themselves too low or too high generally are not surprised by the supervisor’s score. For an even more productive meeting, give employees the supervisor’s rating and comments prior to the formal review. The review may be easier when employees don’t have time to prepare questions or present documentation that might change the reviewer’s score, but the goal is to give employees specific tasks and actions needed to advance their career and the company. Keeping the review productive is the priority. Doing a January review that is non-pay related, where the employee has self-reviewed and has had time to digest their supervisor’s rating and comments sets a new year in motion where the entire workforce is focused on what is needed to improve and grow the company. As for me, I have decided to conduct a self-review of my New Year’s resolutions and establish definitive steps that will give me a greater chance of achieving all my goals:
  • Diet: put fresh batteries in the scale; buy more produce than processed; cook at home.
  • Exercise: pump up the bicycle tires; stretch morning and night; set aside at least 5 minutes per hour to move about.
  • Grow the Company: conduct self-review; conduct non-pay employee reviews; cultivate a symbiotic corporate culture.

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