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Seven Tips for Employers to Ensure a Successful New Year

As we bid goodbye to 2015, employers are turning their thoughts to 2016. How can you build on the successes of last year while taking steps to improve your team’s performance?

The end of the year is a perfect time to reevaluate management strategies and set goals for the next twelve months. Perhaps the most important predictor of success is the strength of your workforce. Here are a few tips to ensure that 2016 is your team’s most successful year yet.

Communicate consistently

Don’t wait for the year-end performance review to give feedback to employees. Feedback should be given regularly and informally.

Managers may not have a regular feedback process for various reasons, but by missing opportunities to share necessary information, a leader prevents his or her team members from capitalizing on their strengths and identifying areas for improvement.

Simple rules

Try using “smart simplicity,” a technique developed by Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman, coauthors of “Six Simple Rules: How To Manage Complexity Without Getting Complicated.”

“Smart simplicity” advises that managers know what their employees are up to and why. “The essence of smart simplicity is to understand that [people look after their own interests] and then change the conditions inside the organization so their interests align with what you need them to do,” say the authors in an April 2014 Time Magazine article.

Find the "integrators"

Integrators, say Morieux and Tollman, may be “the glue that holds cooperation together.” These team members, who tend to generate strong feelings from their coworkers, encourage them to work together to carry out the company’s mission. “Give integrators the power, incentives and authority to succeed,” the authors advise. When the integrators succeed, so does the team.

Give them technical tools

It’s a challenge to keep up with the new tools designed to help us do business. If you don’t have time to research them by yourself, put several digitally sophisticated staff members to work finding affordable, effective new tools to simplify their work lives.

For example, Intellum's Tribe Social allows employees to “share ideas, files, photos, videos and links in a way that leverages all the positive benefits of social media without distractions like friend requests, personal drama, evites or information security issues,” notes Greg Rose, Intellum's V.P. of Marketing. “I think offering employees a company-specific collaboration tool that looks and feels like the social media tools they're already using in the personal lives, is a great way to motivate them.”

Provide leadership training

There are many leadership strategies and training protocols — and new ones are being developed every day. If your company doesn’t already offer its employees opportunities for leadership training, consider doing so. If you already offer this incentive, review your training program to ensure it’s informed by the latest research.

Unsure of how to get started? Take a peek at sites like udemy or digital tutors. They offer training in a variety of areas, with reasonably priced courses to help create a meaningful learning experience.

Read for success

Along with formal leadership training programs, consider starting a quarterly book club where employees take turns reading new titles related to the industry in which they work. Be sure to give staff ample time to read and prepare a summary of the book’s concepts that will be presented to coworkers. This is a great way to make sure your team members are on top of the newest trends in your field. A few titles, hot off the presses:

Encourage employees to create their own resolutions for the new year

One of the most important ways to motivate your staff is by showing them you believe in their potential for success. As part of the year-end review process, have employees create action plans for the year ahead. These action plans should include long and short-term goals and objectives designed to lead them toward their professional aspirations.

“Becoming a great developer of employees requires managers to expand their focus from ‘How can I get excellent performance out of my team members?’ to ‘How can I get excellent performance out of my team members while helping them grow?’” writes Monique Valcour in the Harvard Business Review. “Savvy managers know that doing well on the second part of the last question helps to answer the first.”

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