Pre-Christmas must-dos for managers

Christmas is coming - are you slowing down or speeding up?

Staying motivated for the final push of the year can be challenging knowing the holidays are around the corner but as a manager or business owner, now is the optimal time to plan for the new year.

Ask yourself these three questions:

1. What do we want to achieve next year?
2. How are we going to achieve this?
3. Do we have the right people to achieve this?

If you could answer all three without hesitating, then congrats – you can go on your holidays early! If you couldn’t, ensure you make time for the following three steps in the run-up to Christmas.

1. Review

Although it may not be the end of the business year, it will be for your people. This is the time where they’ll be reflecting on what went well, what didn’t and looking ahead for next year.

Have you caught up with your employees at all this year? Make the time to speak to give the team feedback on what the achievements were throughout the year and what the business is hoping to achieve in 2020. Give them the opportunity to provide some feedback – good and indifferent.

Keep the conversation open to allow them to feel comfortable with raising concerns or issues – after all, you may not be hearing or seeing everything that’s happening in the workplace.

Should anything crop up, kickstart the new year with a session on motivators and drivers.

Understand what makes your people tick and what drives them. Later in the year consider an engagement survey to gauge people’s thoughts and feedback. This will allow you to respond and overcome any issues that arise. Repeat the survey in 6-9 months’ time to track progress and team engagement.

2. Workforce planning and recruitment

Consider establishing or updating a workforce plan for the new year. This is an important exercise to assess your current situation, determine what skills you’re going to need to fulfill your goals, and when you’re going to need them. Why? There is a war for talent and you need to ensure you are on the front foot when it comes to recruitment. Recruitment should be proactive, not reactive.

Use our cycle below as a guide to help you plan.

EQ Workforce plan2


Knowing where and when to find the skills you need is often the biggest challenge for businesses, particularly when the best talent is already employed.

‘Should I recruit before or after Christmas?’ is a common conundrum for managers and business owners during one of the busiest periods. With a list of to-dos as long as your arm, recruitment is often put on the back burner until the new year.

But take a moment to look at the bigger picture, your workforce plan. What projects need to be completed early in the new year? How soon will you need the skills to do this?

Allow plenty of time for your recruitment strategy, whether that’s before or after Christmas.

Consider the current skills shortage and that employed talent will need to give at least 4 weeks’ notice prior to starting. If you need to get someone on board asap, realistically you’re looking at a start date around mid/end of January.

3. HR policies and procedures

A new year is also a good time to compliance check. Are your HR policies and procedures up to date?

There have been several Government ER updates this year including set meal breaks, 90-day trial periods, family violence leave and changes to collective agreements. If you haven’t reviewed your HR documentation lately, we recommend you do it soon so that you are ready to put everything in place from the start of 2020.

Need to discuss your recruitment strategy for 2020 or want to lock-in a new year HR audit? Give us a call on (03) 366 4034 or email

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