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Last month we talked about changes for employers in Illinois in 2020. How will you be ready? How will your organization be ready? 2020 is a whole new year. You get the chance to have a fresh start and so does your organization.

Let 2020 be your year. Be the person that you truly want to be. What do you want for the upcoming year? Take a few days to reflect on this before answering. This is not your list of resolutions but your list of lasting changes that you wish to foster and support throughout the year.

Ten things that your organization can do now to prepare for 2020:

1. Performance Evaluations. Have you finished your 2019 performance evaluations? Have employees been given meaningful feedback? You should be wrapping this up or getting ready to wrap it up. If your organization is evolved, you may have moved out of this process into a coaching model or a direct feedback model. Make sure that employees are getting the feedback that they not only need but deserve. Do not wait for a problem or issue to arise to coach an employee on what is going well and what can be improved upon.

2. Required Postings. Each organization has a set of postings that are required from the federal and state agencies. Other postings can be required based on the type of business that you are. Are your postings in compliance? Are you up to date? Illinois employers will certainly need to ensure that they have the timeliest postings. Also, check to make sure that you have met the requirement on where theses postings are located and how many are needed.

3. Budget. Do you have a realistic budget for 2020? A labor and an expense budget are needed. Even if you are not required to submit the budget, do one anyway. If you have no experience with this, learn the skills from a co-worker.

4. Individual and Organizational Goals. Ensure that for 2020 the organization has measurable goals, but you should also have goals. You can do this even if you are not required to do so. What do you want to get done this year? Draft annual, quarterly and monthly goals for you and your team.

5. Safety. Are your employees safe and secure? Do you have a proper exit strategy? Employees are showing more concern about safety at work. Is your organization prepared both in a physical way but also through the online presence of the organization?

6. Mental Health. Do you have a way for employees to protect their mental health? Do you have an EAP (Employee Assistance Program)? Is counseling, therapy or coaching available to employees that need or want it? Programs are available at very little cost to employers. Some medical plans include this benefit.

7. Time Off Planning. Encourage employees to utilize the time off that the organization provides. Also, for the sake of the business, make sure this time is planned whenever possible. Some organizations ask employees to schedule their time off for the entire year.

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8. Update Documents. Ensure all shared and departmental documents are up to date. This is a good activity to do at the end of or beginning of each year. This should become routine.

9. Assess Technology. Are there better tools that can be used for the work that you are doing? If the budget is not there now, check in later. Technology and efficiency improvements are ever-changing. There might be improvements you can make with the resources that you have available now.

10. Hold Better Meetings. Are the meetings at your organization efficient? Do decisions get made? Is there a standard format that gets followed? If not, maybe there should be. This item costs nothing.

As we prepare for 2020, we do not want to leave yourself out of the mix. I have listed some questions for you to answer to prepare yourself. The better you are in 2020, the better the organization you work for will be. You don’t have to be the CEO to take part in this exercise. This is for anyone and everyone.

Take a few minutes to answer the following questions. Go to the future you that has completed a successful and fulfilling 2020. Once you are mentally there, ask yourself:

When 2020 is over, what will I have accomplished?

When 2020 is over, what habits have I started?

When 2020 is over, am I more productive? Why or why not?

The key to my success in 2020 was _____________.

This exercise takes to you a future place where you were very successful in 2020. Use that feeling to bring your current self to that place throughout the year. Keep these notes in a place where you can refer to them easily when you need additional motivation. Make 2020 they year that you create the results that you want for yourself.

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Angela helps people navigate the workplace by providing advice and guidance through private coaching. Angela is a HRCI certified human resource expert, writer and public speaker with over twenty years of experience leading people and organizations. Angela is the vice president of human resources at National Railway Equipment Co (NRE) and can be contacted at angelaeholmes2@gmail.com.

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