Meeting the new year head on – 5 HR actions to take in December

Business 4th December 2023

As we head into the winter and the festive break, businesses leaders tend to focus on the coming year. In the middle of all the forecasting, growth plans and resource allocations though, can we suggest that you put aside some time to look at your people plan.

Your People matter

At the time of writing this article we are reaching the end of another difficult year. Not only have we all been faced with increased costs, and inflation, some market areas have also seen real challenges with customer spending and/or supply chain. To top this off, there has been a continuing shortage of applicants in almost all roles. In short, it’s been an interesting year to say the least.

As you wave goodbye to 2023 and welcome in 2024 it really is worth giving a little extra focus to your human resource management. If the coming year is even half as turbulent as the last one, you are going to need to be on top of your game or you could be storing up problems for later.

There is a lot to think about but for now, but here are 5 areas you may want to consider reviewing:

  1. Are you clear on objectives and goals for your employees? At a top level this will be all about methods and processes that disseminate the company values and goals in a meaningful way to the workforce. At a workplace level now is a good time for you to consider the way employees understand their role and your expectations of them. Are your team clear on what metrics you will be using to measure performance for example? Clear lines of communication and HR processes are vital in ensuring your team knows where they are heading next year.


  1. Conduct a salary and benefits review with an eye on budgeting for pay rises. With the employment situation changing so rapidly at the moment, you need to be constantly aware of what the market value of your team is. It is competitive out there and there will probably be a lot of offers on the table for your team if they decide to look. If you want to retain good employees, you should be paying market rates for their talents. If the worst happens and you need to replace a key member of staff, for example someone with a specialist skillset, you will save valuable time if you know where you stand in terms of your salary and benefits package.


  1. Review your employee requirements. What we mean here is consider what types of things could affect your recruitment and staffing requirements. Assuming you meet your overall growth objectives and need more employees, what will that do to your HR processes? Can your current ones cope and if not what do you need to do? We have all learned the hard way in the last few years that things can unexpectedly change almost overnight. While you may not be able to predict wars or pandemics, it is worth looking at the possibility that next year may not go the way you expected. Do you have appropriate processes in place if you need to reduce hours or even make some team members redundant because of a planned change to your business? The more you are ready for, the less disruptive any changes will be.


  1. Focus on your employer offer. This has been a hot topic for some time now and it is likely to continue to be so. If you do lose a key member of staff, you want to be sure that what you can offer is hitting the mark. This is about more than just the salary and benefits that we mentioned in point 2, this about the overall offer that will tip a much needed candidate into applying and accepting your job offer.


  1. Revamp your training, career support, wellbeing, and inclusion efforts. HR isn’t just about hiring and firing. It’s called human ‘resources’ for a reason. One of the main reasons businesses ask for our help is about maximising the resource that your employees bring and making sure your staff churn is minimal. Now is a great time to sit down with us and look at how your workplace is supporting the team. Do you need to consider more wellbeing focused processes such as mental health awareness? Is your onboarding and employer offer inclusive and welcoming to a diverse range of candidates? What about your training and career development, are you promoting from within and creating advancement opportunities? The list of areas to consider will need to be adjusted to focus on where you are strong and perhaps identify where you need a little boost for the coming year.

When it comes down to it, continuously evaluating and adapting your HR practices is key to staying relevant and effective in the ever-evolving business world. The start of a new year is the obvious place to focus on what could, and what should be happening with your HR. I think we can all agree that staying agile and evolving with the changes are vital in the current challenging business climate. If you don’t review your HR and plan for next year, you could well be missing an important piece of the overall picture … and that could come back to haunt you during the coming months.

If anything in this article resonated with you, call us on 01604 763494 and let’s book a chat to see how we can help.

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