While many people make resolutions for the new year, one group that doesn’t do this enough is bosses.
Employees make career-related resolutions much more often than bosses. However, the top resolution that workers make each year is to find a new job.
Retaining talented employees has become a higher priority in an improving job market; 78 percent of employers are worried about losing key employees.
Following are career-related resolutions for all employees:
1. Put your career at the top of the “to-do” list each day. Too many people make check lists for the new year, and then quickly forget them. Your career is a major part of building a fulfilling life.
2. Compile short-term, intermediate and long-term career goals, and focus first on those that are most achievable. Evaluate where you are, visualize where you want to be, and take steps each day.
3. Be prepared for more alternative employment opportunities in a rebounded economy. There is increased demand for contract, freelance, and part-time work. Position yourself to take advantage of these employment options.
4. Upgrade your skills and capabilities. Learn new technology, take courses, read books and stay relevant.
5. Find a mentor or job-search board of advisors. Enlist a mentor with whom you can strategize career options and ideas, and whose experience can serve as a guide and resource of support. If unemployed, assemble personal advisors equal to or above your organizational level.
6. Enhance your communications skills. The ability to communicate effectively consistently places at the top of the list of necessary skill improvements for all management levels.
7. Update your résumé, network and online presence. In addition to regularly refreshing your résumé, continually add new networking contacts and update job-search and social networking websites.
Following are some of the top resolutions that managers can make to help retain talent:
1. Coach workers in how to become more influential and persuasive. Explain the implications of their actions and decisions on internal politics and help them become savvier. Provide training and guidance in how to craft their messages to meet the needs of others. Managers are too often frustrated by employees’ inability to work effectively through others. Teach them how to win over people.
2. Develop employees’ leadership skills. Use challenging “stretch assignments” that motivate workers, require them to learn new skills and build coalitions. Look for opportunities where members of your team can step into leadership roles.
3. Improve your feedback and increase their accountability. Most managers are inconsistent in communicating expectations and holding people accountable. Be clear about your expectations and give timely feedback to your team when they do a good job or miss the mark.
4. Tap into employees’ wealth of knowledge and experience. Encourage employees at all levels to suggest, create and communicate new ideas based on the direct experience of those on the line. Personally ask people for their input to get the best recommendations.
5. Demonstrate continued interest in employees’ careers. Reassure employees that they are appreciated for the work they’re doing. Increase the frequency of discussions about their careers.
6. Recognize and reward contributions. Managers should be certain they recognize employee contributions, both big and small. A compliment from the boss can be as effective as a monetary reward. Many employees feel managers do not spend enough time thanking them but are too quick to criticize them for mistakes.
7. Build teamwork and provide developmental coaching to workers. Look for ways to partner employees on projects and concentrate on assembling compatible teams. Include ground rules on how they should work together and check in with them periodically. Developmental coaching sharpens employees’ leadership skills and helps retain the most talented workers.
Susan Ruhl is president and CFO of Innovative Career Consulting Inc., an OI Partner and certified woman-owned talent management firm with offices in Colorado Springs, Denver and Cincinnati.