Goodbye winter blues, hello business transformation

Snow scene

With payday finally approaching and the winter weather beginning to wane, January is coming to a close at long last. It’s the month when most of us make – and break – our New Year’s resolutions, and depending on your level of willpower, you may still be going strong with your detox and ‘New Year, New Me’ mantra. For many, though, the good intentions went out the window before the first week was over.

But the benefits of ‘detoxing’ are many, and it can do more long-term good than you might imagine. Take, for example, Dry January, a month of abstinence from alcohol that aims to undo the damage of December and encourage behavioural change among drinkers. Though it may seem like a fad, a study published in November 2014 showed that participation in Dry January actually resulted in less drinking all year round, with 72% of participants still seeing a reduced level of harmful drinking six months later. Some stayed off the alcohol completely.

However, with January drawing to a close and New Year’s Resolutions now a month old,  it can be tempting to give them up entirely and revert to bad old habits – but there’s no better time to think about transforming your business for the better. As we’ve seen, the benefits may be further-reaching than you think, and could make a huge difference to your organization in the months to come. Old systems and outdated practices can slow down business and seriously harm the bottom line – so what can you do to make sure your 2016 not only starts, but stays on the right track?

  1. Get ready for the future of work

With new digital technologies like AI and robotics coming increasingly to the fore, 2016 looks likely to be another year of change in the world of HR. Though that may raise questions about how to automate processes without alienating people, digital transformation is no bad thing.

In fact, global research carried out by Accenture showed that the vast majority (82%) think digital will transform the way they work for the better.

Being adaptive to the changing needs of both your business and its people is fundamental to any organization, and this means embracing new technologies and new ideas as they emerge. Focus on automation and the mobile experience should be a top priority for any serious contender in 2016, as should flexible working, as ideas about exactly where and when the ‘office’ is continue to change.

  1. Get out of spreadsheet hell once and for all

If you haven’t already made the move away from antiquated, out of date Excel spreadsheets to store your mission-critical data, put it at the top of your list of priorities for 2016.

A comprehensive and efficient cloud HRMS can drastically improve your business practices, and solve some of the simple but excruciating issues that, incredibly, many businesses are still facing. Some organizations we’ve talked to reported employees driving 20 miles to book holiday rather than logging in remotely; payroll systems continuing to pay ex-employees but ignoring new ones; and (alarmingly) not even being sure how many employees were in the business – demonstrating quite how inadequate spreadsheet systems are in catering to modern business needs.

Ineffective HR systems are a barrier to growth, so it’s no surprise that around three quarters of organizations we’ve spoken to want to move to the cloud. An integrated, intelligent system can breathe new life into your business – without one, you risk extinction.

  1. Don’t wait until December for review and reward

Increasingly, review and reward systems are moving away from the routine as employers seek new ways to engage and motivate their workforce.

From spa days to office dogs, there are plenty of imaginative ways to encourage productivity, but bigger doesn’t always mean better. In a recent survey, 36% of workers said that just having the right tools and technology in place to do their job made them feel appreciated, and what’s important is ensuring your reward program is bespoke to the needs of your workforce. Ultimately, this means listening and responding dynamically – waiting until the annual review to address employee issues just isn’t agile enough, and risks disengaging your workforce. Say goodbye to stagnant review and reward schemes in 2016, and start considering new ways to really make your staff feel upbeat and motivated.

Detoxing old, outdated ideas will help improve not only the experience of your workforce, but the efficiency of your business. Consider the most important objectives of your business, and how as a HR function you are driving these strategies top-down. And if you know you don’t have time for this already, we would refer you back to point 1. Make transformation your target now, and ensure that 2016 is a success 2017 can build on.

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