Six New Year’s Resolutions for the Workplace

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You, the American worker, owe it to yourself—and your employer—to have a heck of a 2018. And you can basically guarantee it by owning one or two of these New Year’s Resolutions for the Workplace.

Advance your hard skills.

Hard skills are measureable and specific to your role. For instance, if you’re an automotive assembly line worker, it’s your ability to use certain machinery and tools. If you’re a marketing manager, it’s your ability to use performance analytics software.

Whatever your role, first, figure out which hard skills you must advance. Second, determine how to advance them. Does your company pay for education? Can you find a mentor? Can you self educate during downtime? Third, show off your fresh skills. No, don’t become an in-your-face walking advertisement for yourself, but put them to good, practical use as much as possible—your boss will notice!

Advance your soft skills.

Soft skills are more subjective and less specific to your role, but just as vital as hard skills. Some important soft skills are awareness, communication, empathy, tact… and the list goes on. They can be more difficult to acquire, but are valuable for anyone in any position.

Similar to improving your hard skills, start by identifying which soft skills you might lack. (Whichever they are, it’s OK to admit it… we all lack some.) Then, learn how to advance them. Maybe you spruce up your communication skills by attending Toastmasters. Or maybe you develop empathy by repeatedly putting yourself in others’ shoes. Whatever it takes. And you don’t necessarily need to show them off; soft skills tend to display naturally. Your boss will notice these, too.

Expand your company knowledge.

Ever shocked at how little your coworkers know about your employer? Ever shocked at how little you know about your employer? If you’re cringing, don’t worry; you can start learning ASAP.

Yeah, if you work for a small business, this might be a breeze. But if you work for a global corporation, it might be a battle. Either way, let’s just acknowledge that it’s beneficial to be inquisitive and learn about your employer. The history. The growth. The customers. The goals. Because when you know these things, you have a broader perspective from which to converse, make decisions and take action. And you probably have an even greater pride and respect for the business. It’s a win-win.

Shadow your coworkers.

Lots of companies offer “neighbor days,” which are exactly as they sound: You get to spend a whole day shadowing your neighbor. Learning about his or her job, asking questions, appreciating what they do, devising ways to help them, and finding ways to apply their approach, techniques, etc. to your own role. It’s the perfect example of knowledge sharing.

As a bonus, employers love this, because it not only helps you and your neighbor grow; it also creates camaraderie, fosters relationships and improves culture. And workplace culture is immensely important for employee retention—your retention—which is exactly what businesses need to succeed. And it’s safe to say if you stick with a job long-term in today’s candidate-driven market, you must be a happy camper.

Contribute when it’s unexpected.

You have a specific job description. And with that comes unique responsibilities, ranging from daily, tactical items to annual, strategic items. You must prioritize those items, but can you contribute beyond them?

Hopefully energy and time allows, because going above and beyond your typical responsibilities can make you stand out. Now, no, you don’t want to step on others’ toes; you don’t want to interrupt meetings you know nothing about. But carefully pick and choose where you might be able to make an impact. Then tactfully loop yourself in. If you’re wanted, your coworkers will let you know. And if you’re helpful, your coworkers will let you know times 10!

Renew your focus.

Let’s be honest. We all lose focus every now and then, especially this time of year. There’s only so much mental fuel in the tank. And as enjoyable as the holidays are, they can be just as tiring.

So, what can you do? Well, for one, enjoy the holidays. If there’s ever a time for work-life balance, it’s now. And if your holidays are spent being a chef, decorator, host and planner, you might need another vacation soon. When you do get back to the grind, don’t overwhelm yourself. There’s no problem with having a lengthy to-do list, but prioritize based on importance and timelines. And do your best to focus on one major item at a time. For most, it’s much easier to maintain focus when the mind smoothly transitions from project to project, as opposed to when the mind abruptly jumps across a million projects at once.

Whether you take on one of these workplace resolutions or come up with your own, good luck! We hope you stay the course and reap the benefits.

For more workplace tips and career advice for 2018, head right here.

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