With the New Year upon us, many people are making career-focused resolutions for 2016: earn a promotion, find a new challenge, tackle a massive project, or win a meaningful raise.
But employers often skip resolutions altogether because they still think about employer branding and experience like it's 1999. If your company is stuck in the past, consider that by 2020, half of the workforce will be Millennials. There's no time like the present to modernize your workplace and build a culture your employees love.
Here are five resolutions every company should consider in creating a workplace to attract, engage, grow, and delight remarkable employees for the long haul:
1. Re-factor employee feedback
Most employee surveys are where good ideas and feedback go to die.
Instead of a long, boring annual survey to test for a pulse in every employee, consider implementing systems that allow for more ongoing, actionable feedback across the company--doing so can help you proactively address problems versus reacting to them, and help surface ideas and issues that you might miss through existing organizational design.
At HubSpot, we do a quarterly employee happiness survey and share the aggregate results and comments with the entire company. We bolster the survey with additional mechanisms like TinyPulse to surface ideas from across the organization and identify patterns we can respond to.
Regardless of which option you choose to get more regular (and actionable) feedback and data, consider revamping your approach to employee engagement in 2016--instead of testing for a pulse, ask for specific, tangible feedback you can use to improve your employee experience.
No 140-question surveys required.
2. Capture your culture
When we first launched our Culture Code almost three years ago, there was rampant skepticism from entrepreneurs who said "culture just happens," or "we don't need a document on our culture, our employees know it."
The truth is that without a document to codify your culture, you'll never market your culture at scale. What's more, a lack of documentation can often lead to wide variance in what veteran and rookie employees define as your culture or how various teams and departments respond to culture questions as you grow.
Consider this: Can your newest and most junior employees describe to a stranger what your company culture stands for and why? What about your customers and business partners?
If you're not sure, consider even a brief document capturing what your organization stands for and why--doing so is an investment in your business and your brand.
3. Share your Mission Impossible
One of the many reasons companies like Uber and and Airbnb have been so successful is that they attract employees who want to fundamentally transform transportation and travel.
Is your mission that you share with candidates and employees lofty enough to attract the smartest engineers, marketers, IT professionals, and salespeople in the world? Does every employee understand how he or she impacts that mission every day?
If the answer to either of those questions is no, consider re-calibrating and sharing your goals with the world.
The most talented employees care deeply about the problems they will tackle daily and the people they will solve them with, so you need a mission bold and inspirational enough to attract amazing candidates and retain incredible leaders.
If your mission isn't front and center for prospective employees and current employees alike, consider sharing your big, hairy audacious goals more broadly in 2016.
4. Triple down on transparency
Ten years ago, the only tools job candidates had to evaluate a company or opportunity was the marketing material that company put out and friends or family who worked at the organization.
With the growing popularity of Glassdoor, employees and candidates can share and research up to the minute reviews about what it's like to interview or work at companies from anonymous employees and job seekers.
Companies ignoring this trend do so at their peril--a 2014 study by Software Advice estimated that half of job seekers referenced Glassdoor somewhere in their job search experience, and that number will continue to climb (particularly with Milllennials and tech talent) in 2016.
Start responding to reviews and embracing the "yelpification" of your employment brand--your ability to attract and retain top talent will increase accordingly.
5. Optimize for flexibility over friction
The number of people working from home has increased 103 percent since 2005, and 80-90 percent of people say they would be interested in telecommuting at least part-time.
Add to that the number of employers offering flexible hours and job sharing and you have a fundamentally new paradigm for how employees think about their options for employment.
Consider one variable your company could be more flexible about, be it where employees work, how they collaborate, when they log in, who they report into, or how they take time off, and consider experimenting with flexibility over unnecessary policies and friction.
The best employees in the world have options for where to work, so giving them options for how, when, and where they do their job daily makes it much more likely you can keep them at your company.
Companies can't become magnets for top talent overnight, but it's never too late to start thinking differently about employee engagement and how can create a culture that scales as your organization grows.
Getting serious about employee engagement is not just a resolution, it's an investment in your recruiting, retention, and employee growth plan that will pay off in 2016 and beyond.
Now that's something worth raising a glass to!