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New Year Goals & Resolutions – HR style!

(A.k.a. Avoiding Goal Hangover Syndrome – GHS)

Hard to believe it is getting to be that time of year where we are all knee deep in strategic planning and are working on our goals and objectives for 2013. Like most of you, I am not sure where 2012 went (or for that matter, 2011, 2010, etc.) We are currently finished our business planning and are now putting the final touches on our strategic HR plan and finalizing our dept. goals/objectives/initiatives for next year. Traditionally at this time of year, I always take look back to reflect on what the team accomplished vs. what we said we would do. It seems like year over year the team delivers on our commitments and provides organizational value in the face of constant change and ever changing environmental factors. Yet, when I reflect back, I always feel such a sense of pride in my team(s) but a sense of personal dissatisfaction or let down with myself. Perhaps that is part of the inherent inferiority complex that many HR professionals (myself included) tend to have?

There are always those goals and initiatives that were set a year ago that I was sure I/we would accomplish the following year. I was convinced they would add great value to our organization. They would elevate our Talent Acquisition and Retention goals. We would BE that employer of choice. Our managers would be developed into leaders. Our succession plans would be fully implemented and performance management would be a well-oiled machine. To be perfectly objective, and to a certain extent, many positive steps were taken towards achieving these end results. However, as I tend to do every year, I set these lofty goals and objectives for myself and my team and then feel melancholy at the end of the year when not everything was completed. Why do I do this every year? Why do we as HR professionals tend to do this to ourselves? We are our own worst enemies. We literally set ourselves up for failure by shooting for the moon every year and then feel let down when we “only” reached the sky!

2013 calendarNow, I am not suggesting at all that we lower the bar on our expectations of what we can and should do as HR professionals. I think that personally I tend to not account enough for all the external factors and organizational change elements that come up during the year that HR must devote its resources and time towards addressing. What comes to mind, and most notably, is the direct support we give to our managers and operations partners in the areas of employee relations, training, etc. that just happen to “crop up” because, well, we are in the people business! Reflecting back again, I think the other reason, as HR professionals, we tend to set all these lofty goals and objectives is because we are so passionate about what we do. Many of the HR professionals I have had the privilege of meeting, working with/for and leading, tend to be very passionate about their profession. We (HR) are a well-read group who keep up to date on our industry and professional trends. The best HR business partners are well skilled at identifying organizational gaps and applying HR business solutions towards solving these problems. We get very ambitious about how we want to support our businesses because we see so much opportunity to add value at every turn.

So, having said that, what is my plan to avoid that end of year goal “hangover” feeling? Simple, I am going to go back to basics and feel good that there is nothing wrong with doing that! This year, when finalizing our goals and objectives, instead of trying to address all organizational gaps, challenges and opportunities in 12 months, I am going to focus on 2-3 areas that I believe, if addressed, will add the greatest organizational value and IMPACT. (Less IS more!) The HR goals and objectives that are set will directly address these 2-3 specific areas and provide an immediate (in that year) impact to the business. The goals and objectives will (have to) align with the overall HR strategy (mid and long term) which of course aligns with the business strategy. However, by taking into consideration what needs to done along with what myself and my team can do, we will set ourselves up for a great year and deliver greater value to our clients. This way, I am convinced that at the end of 2013, when I look back on the year that was, I will NOT have goal hangover syndrome (GHS). Instead, I will genuinely feel great about all that we accomplished in the year and look forward to greater things for the following year.

The more I think about it, the more sense it makes. I mean, really, if in one year we did all those things I mentioned before (employer of choice, managers developed into leaders, succession plans fully implemented, workforce planning fully functioning and performance management is a well-oiled machine) we would not be needed anymore as HR professionals, or it would be time for me to write my first book! Now say it with me, “Less IS more,” “Less IS more,” “Less IS more.” What about you? Do you ever experience goal hangover syndrome (GHS)? How are you going to avoid it in 2013? As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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