Tuesday, January 25 2022

By Jamy Sullivan, Executive Director of Robert Half Legal Practice

The end of the year comes with a lot of commotion, but through it all, I hope you also manage to let yourself be enveloped and enchanted by the holiday spirit. There may be some critical projects that need to be completed before you can make time to spend time with friends and family. Many employees have year-end exams to take (and administer, if you’re a manager). Growth strategies for the coming year (for your career or business) may need to be changed.

I would like to give you some tips on how to make the most of this hectic but happy time of the year. Whether it’s preparing for your performance review, giving back to your community, and celebrating the holidays with your team, remotely or in person, you can end another year with promise and a goal.

For employees: Get the most out of your performance review

Your year-end review should be a two-way street, which means you and your manager should be active participants. Take the time to organize the points you want to discuss and do the following to prepare:

1. Examine your performance over the past year and find ways to improve it.

a. Be prepared to discuss your accomplishments and significant contributions to your team and the business as a whole. Be very specific in your examples.

b. Express the areas of opportunity for your career. Highlight any training you have taken, search for and request new training that would contribute to continued development.

2. Solicit feedback from your colleagues. It can be very impactful for your manager to see that you have not only prepared your thoughts, but have also gotten direct feedback from your team members.

3. Examine all of the changes that have affected you over the past year, for the better, and those that have challenged you. Areas to focus on include:

a. Your work-life balance

b. Remote or hybrid working conditions

vs. New skills you have learned in the past year

4. Be prepared to discuss goals and aspirations. What are you looking for next in your career? Maybe a promotion and / or a raise? What can your manager do to help you achieve this? Prepare some ideas to facilitate a productive conversation.

5. Speaking of salary, research the market data on salary and bonus trends, as well as the skills in demand. Robert Half’s 2020 Salary Guide is a good resource for this. At a minimum, you will be prepared to negotiate if compensation is discussed. You can also discover new avenues to the next step in your career.

For managers: Combine employee recognition and paid leave

It’s critical for managers to recognize employees throughout the year to maintain morale and retain valued employees – and that’s even more important at the end of the year. Health and safety are top priorities for employers, so face-to-face vacation meetings are unlikely at many businesses. Frankly, this might not be how employees look to be rewarded at the end of the year, but other ways of recognizing your team can help you compensate until you can celebrate in person. :

1. Give back to your community – It’s one of my personal favorites. Getting your team to vote for a local charity they’d like to donate to over the holidays is a great team-building factor, whether everyone is participating in person or virtually. You can create virtual wishlists of items your local charity needs or create an online donation portal. One thing Robert Half does that many enjoy is the “Happy Hours of Walk,” where employees promote wellness while earning a donation to a qualifying charity for every hour they walk.

2. Fun virtual team events – Host an ugly holiday sweater contest, gingerbread house decorating and virtual cooking events to learn about traditional holiday foods for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. These are some ideas that I have seen bring teams together in rewarding ways.

3. Early closure – Close operations early for a statutory holiday. This is the one that almost everyone loves.

The latter resonates in me like the “gift of time”. Many employees suffer from burnout and have not been able to take time off work to spend time with family or focus on their well-being. If you can really take steps to give your employees time off – and encourage them to turn off the computer and not check their email or be on call – you’ll show how much you appreciate all the effort you put in. they have deployed this year.

For all: the future is bright

Year-end goals should include scheduling kickoff meetings with your team to start the new year. For managers and staff alike, these meetings are a great opportunity to set the tone in the first quarter. What do you plan to accomplish? How do you plan to accomplish it?

Whether you’re hosting the meeting or being a participant, scheduling it now helps you reflect on what you and your team have accomplished together over the past year – and will allow you to take a complete break from work for the holidays to recharge without think about work. Regardless of your role in your organization, recharging is something none of us can take for granted. Everyone is better off when you come back to work refreshed with a renewed focus, helping the whole team start the New Year on a high note.

I wish you all a happy New Year’s Eve and hope you can relax and rejuvenate for what the New Year will bring you.

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