New Year’s Business Resolutions

Here we are, another new year. Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions yet? Are you still going to the gym? Is it a dry January? Whatever your resolutions may be, it’s something most of us do. It’s that clean perspective with a new year. While we are making our personal resolutions, why not make some for our businesses.

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This week in the LinkedIn world, I have seen a number of posts and articles complaining about being ghosted by candidates. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the lingo, to ghost is to simply disappear without a word or message. It’s usually reserved for the dating world, but as we say, hiring is a lot like dating.

Some say this behaviour will come back to haunt the guilty. It might. But it might not. It’s an employee’s market right now and there are lots of jobs to choose from. Who’s to say how much ghosting a business now is going to affect a candidate five or ten years down the road. Seems unlikely to me.

When I see candidates behaving like this, I can’t say I am really surprised. Think about it from their perspective. For every four interviews, one, maybe two, will contact them to let them know they didn’t get the job.

I think the best way to prevent this kind of thing is to be too awesome to resist. Here are my top three resolutions to make this happen!

Be meaningful

We’re aware. We’re in a age when we have words like “carbon footprint” and “sustainability” reverberating through the news daily. We watch political and celebrity scandals develop and disappear in real time.

Many employees are grateful to be working and need only their paycheque at the end of the day. Others, many others, are looking for more. This doesn’t mean they necessarily need to board the Sea Shepherd to fight off whalers in the Antarctic, but they need something to add personal value to their work.

How does your workplace culture unite your people? Is there a common goal they can feel they are a part of? This may sound trivial, but this is much more significant than what we may think and sometimes more than what they are paid.

“Employees who believe their company has a higher purpose are 27% more likely to stay.”

I can guarantee there are programs in your community that need funding or volunteers. It doesn’t matter where you are or what your community is, there is something that needs to be done. And if there isn’t a group doing the thing you want to do, you get to be the leader in that endeavour. I’ll bet you a coffee there is at least one person in your firm that would love to spearhead that initiative.

When employees have more with you than their job, they will stay with you longer.

Be Balanced

We’ve done the math and we know how much of our lives are spent at work. For most of us, there is no separation between one hour and the next. I am not sure the human brain is wired that way, at least for most of us.

As business owners, though, we want our employees to put in long hours and leave their home life at home. The more they work, the more productive they are, right?


Long hours does not translate into more productivity. It’s actually the opposite. It translates into greater absenteeism, mistakes, and higher insurance costs for you. Even crazier, and the data is pretty clear about this, people who work shorter hours are more productive.

The reality is, people are clever and will devise ways to create the appearance of working the long hours that’s demanded, while maintaining a more reasonable schedule. You won’t know the difference.

There are plenty of companies that have devised ways to keep their people fresh and motivated. From education programs, to unlimited vacation time, to just having food and coffee on site. I know some of you may think this is radical and wildly expensive, but compare it to lost productivity of poor performance and turnover. When replacing an employee is going to cost 33% of that employee’s salary, you’re saving money by keeping them with healthy incentives.

“Employees who rate their work-life balance highly are 10% more likely to stay at their company.”

Be Grateful

If you’re not recognizing the work your people are doing, they’re going to leave. In fact, you can bet they’re already interviewing for a new position.

“…24% of employees who felt they had not received recognition from their direct supervisor in the past two weeks had recently interview for another position…”

Photo by Courtney Hedger on Unsplash

And a paycheque is not gratitude, that’s the trade you’re making for the work done. Rarely does that recognize the effort which is above the paygrade of an employee genuinely trying to make your business more successful.

In some ways, humans are simple creatures with simple drives. We are happier when we are busy. We need things to do and will pretty much do anything to justify being busy. The catch is that innate motivation to be busy can be stifled when that extra effort goes unnoticed. If the employee who does the least is recognized the same as the employee who does more, then you’ve created a disincentivized workspace. That energy which was being put into your business is going elsewhere. One way or the other.

What does being grateful look like?

Often it’s as simple as a casual, but sincere, shout-out to an employee. Just a quick, “you done good, kid” will make a difference in that person’s day. But consider formalizing a recognition system which focuses on milestones. The key is to give something for which employees can strive which helps drive your bottom line. Just watch how your employees strive to please.

Happy New Year!

Let’s raise a glass to a successful 2019!

The new year is always that clean starting point to measure our initiatives.

So, tell me, what are you doing to make your businesses better this year? What’s your experience with being meaningful,balanced, and grateful? As always, I love to hear your feedback!

Thank you,
Paul Bergsma