It’s 2012 and New Year’s resolutions abound. We spend the holiday season hiding from the cold weather with food on lap and drink in hand. With the turning of the calendar we resolve to make this “the best year ever”. A New Year is always an opportunity to wipe the slate clean. We take the last moments of any given year to reflect – determining adjustments we need to make to learn from our failures. Some may document a plan for the year and put up goals in their cubicle, home, or tell a friend or coworker. Today we will examine why most New Year’s resolutions fall short by February 1st.
In 2009, Keith Ferrazzi wrote Who’s Got Your Back, a strategic guide to relationship management. Among the principles Ferrazzi suggests are Vulnerability, Generosity and Accountability – these principles play a direct role in keeping your New Year’s resolutions.
The question we face is how can we mirror our personal New Year’s resolutions with your professional goals? Your company maybe willing to help!
Here are 3 ways organizations can help their employees honor their New Year’s resolutions:
- Wellness Programs
- Incentive Programs
- Mentoring Programs
Get Busy Living
These are trying times, and many employees are being asked to do more work with fewer resources. To counteract this phenomenon, many companies have started to make a concerted effort to help employees balance professional production with personal development – also known as a wellness program. Popular wellness initiatives include:
- Smoking cessation
- Promoting a healthy diet
- Gym membership reimbursement
Sound familiar? The aforementioned initiatives are at the top of all of our New Year’s resolutions. In the workplace we tend to forget that we are surrounded by people with common goals. Through a great wellness program you can gain positive feedback for the behaviors you wish to reinforce, along with a built-in peer group to support you.
Like New Year’s resolutions, wellness programs fall short without a system of accountability and rewards. Companies should have a system for tracking employee’s progress to healthier living.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and author of Delivering Happiness, has been called the “guru of company culture” because of all the progress he has made in developing employee appreciation at his company. Tony admits his secret is alignment: helping employees align their personal preferences with their professional directives. As a company you have a perfect opportunity to do this by marrying your employees’ New Year’s resolutions with your wellness program. But why stop there? In the long term, wellness programs can lower health insurance premiums (thereby increasing profits), and healthier employees mean fewer sick days taken and higher productivity. New Year’s resolutions that work in accordance with company wellness objectives produce a win/win!
Employers may not realize how much their employees genuinely care about the organization’s goals. As every year comes to a close people consider how they can better achieve their professional objectives.
Incentives have been historically confused as only applicable to “revenue-producing employees”. In actuality, everyone has goals and everyone can be rewarded for achieving said goals. Employers will promote a culture of recognition if they reward business-critical behaviors, however small.
Teams have projects to complete, Managers have job vacancies to fill, new hires must be trained, and employees have an obligation to keep themselves and their co-workers safe at work. Every employee company-wide has goals for professional development. When we do well at work, we are happier. When our organization rewards behavior that is aligned with our New Year’s resolutions, we develop as people and professionals.
Incentives are not just numbers tied to production. Incentives work in recognizing critical behaviors and decision making that differentiate great companies from good companies.
Every employee is a “revenue-producing employee” because their time on the clock moves your organization closer to your revenue goals. It is always a good idea to reward actions instead of suffering the consequence of reactions.
Find Your Robin Williams
We’ve all seen movies where two people from uncommon worlds develop a friendship. There are people with whom we identify that come into our world by happenstance. You might see a person at the coffee shop every morning who shares a few stories with you that carries you through your day… someone who becomes a mentor.
Great companies ask more of their employees. A senior manager may be asked to meet with an upstart producer on a monthly basis. The upstart can learn from the senior manager’s experience, and the senior manager can in turn benefit from the young upstart’s enthusiasm.
Many years ago, as a Senior Sales Representative, I was asked to check in with one of our new hires every Friday afternoon. The mentorship started as a training exercise and over time has blossomed into a friendship. I learned as much from him as he did from me. We still talk every Friday. Because of our connection, we are twice as committed to our goals when someone we respect gives us a task. It also helps to have another perspective in our day-to-day problem solving. Through a great mentoring program we are held accountable to our resolutions and we share our success with others.
If your company does not support a formal mentoring program, you can always seek out additional advisors. Reach out to someone you respect within your company. Seek wisdom and be sure to honor that wisdom by putting it to good use. Everyone wants to cement their legacy in a company and the best way to do that is to pass it along to a capable apprentice. A good mentor will hold you accountable to your New Year’s resolutions and reward you when you succeed!
It’s the mid-point of the first month of 2012. You are most likely still committed to your New Year’s resolutions. As the year endures, sticking to your resolutions may become more difficult, but your company is a great resource to your personal development.
Points for Employers to Remember:
- Healthy workers are happy workers
- Employees are more productive when their personal and professional goals are aligned
- We all need a buddy at work that will hold us accountable
Thank You for Reading,
David J Kovacovich
See all posts on Featured