Most companies are gearing up to shut down for the holidays. For some workers, office parties have already been scheduled, while for others, they have already received their bonuses.
guest column: Emmanuel Zvada
The festive holiday is in full swing and everyone is busier than ever.
For some businesses, there is an increase in activity during festive seasons whereas for others, sales take a dive during this period.
That’s not the issue however, the question is: Are you prepared to meet 2019 as a company and have you done what you are supposed to do this year end to prepare yourself for next year?
I have put together a checklist of items that every business should take a look at especially towards year end, and these include:
Reviewing your systems, policies and procedures
Policies and procedures are living documents that should grow and adapt with a company.
While the core elements of policy may stay the same, the details should change with time as new national policies are also amended.
During year end, carefully examine your policies and see where improvements need to be made.
Outdated policies can leave your organisation at risk and at the same time policies may fail to comply with new laws and regulations.
They may not address new systems or technology, which can result in inconsistent practices for the year to come.
Regularly reviewing policies and procedures keeps your organisation up to date with regulations, technology, and industry best practices.
Policy review ensures that your policies are consistent and effective and that should be done on year end to prepare for the year to come.
Do annual performance reviews
Performance reviews have been universally applied in many industries across the globe because they provide excellent benefits for both the employee and the employer.
They offer a platform for open communication about employee evaluation, employee coaching and development and goal setting and many others.
After doing these performance reviews, it is good to discuss with your employees what they can do to help the company run more smoothly.
Also, you can take the opportunity to find out what they feel most passionate about in their work, and ask if there is need for improvements for them to attain goals.
This is the right time to ask for feedback, let them suggest how they might improve their own performance and ask them what you can do to help them achieve this.
This might include further training, or perhaps altering some aspect of their job for the coming year.
If you treat the performance review process seriously, then your staff will also take it seriously and they will feel appreciated.
Know your best customers and appreciate them
End of year is when companies appreciate either their suppliers or their customers in various ways.
During year-end, you are to examine all your customers microscopically in terms of profitability and see who is worthy to be given a small token of appreciation.
Just because you always seem to be doing something for certain customers does not mean they are the ones who are the most profitable.
When you are fully aware who they are, be sure to tell them you appreciate their business and ask if there is anything you can improve on or do differently to help them grow their business.
This can be done even via formal letters thanking them for doing business with your company and assuring them that you still want to continue to do business.
Appreciate your internal customers (employees)
The brutally honest truth is this: It is just about impossible to have happy external customers when you have unhappy internal customers — that is, employees?
Internal customers are people who make up the other departments that work inside your business.
The best people to help you solve problems, particularly those involving customers, are the ones who deal with them on a daily basis.
Your employees are a possibly untapped source of ideas about how you can make your customers happier.
Hold an end-of-year forum designed to get them to share those ideas.
Listening to and implementing your employees’ suggestions is a great way to make them feel like valued business partners.
Your goal is to let employees know their contributions are valued and remind them that your organisation is a great place to work.
Review all your vendor contracts or suppliers
Take a closer look at how much business you’re doing with each supplier.
Are you getting the best rates based on how much you are working together? Is the relationship mutually beneficial for you and for them? If not, do not be afraid to make a change.
On the other hand, if you are happy with your suppliers, tell them. It is a good idea to review your suppliers’ performance at regular intervals.
If you have a service level agreement (SLA) this will help you to assess the business/supplier relationship in the most objective way possible.
Changing suppliers when they are not delivering according to your expectation is also a good idea in organisations.
When selecting new suppliers for the following year, make sure that it is done professionally so that there is no conniving with the internal employee.
Review your marketing campaign strategies
The end of the year is a great time to take a look at which marketing efforts are driving business. Do not hesitate to make changes if you think your current efforts are not paying off.
During this time, you can also do an overhaul on your website to include holiday messages to customers and other stakeholders whom you deal with.
Make sure all your information on the website is updated, and post any articles that have recently mentioned your work.
And be sure to set your company’s website as the homepage on your browser.
To some companies, they do strategise for the following year during the course of the year.
The aforementioned is just a few among several other things that should be done by companies towards year end.
If organisations adequately prepare themselves for the coming year, they will even be surprised at how much more smoothly their company will run next year.
Emmanuel Zvada is a human capital consultant and international recruitment expert. He writes in his personal capacity