New Year Resolutions

Small business owner managers have lots to juggle, whether it’s money coming in, money going out, new laws and regulations or managing people!

To help provide some focus and momentum to the people bit, I’ve put together a list of my recommended top 5 New Year HR Resolutions, to kick-start the year – I hope they help!

 1. Prioritise Pensions

OK, not the most glamorous topic, but a very important one. Those staging dates for pension auto-enrolment that seemed oh so long away, are edging closer. This year will see businesses with between 58 and 30 employees all hitting their staging dates.

Recommended Action: research your options now – book an appointment with your accountant or financial adviser and visit the Pensions Regulator website to create your own automatic enrolment action plan:

 2. Focus on Flexible

Last year saw a change in the Flexible Working regulations that extended the statutory right to request a change to work flexibly to all employees. No longer will it be possible to just pay lip service to requests, they all need to be considered thoroughly and fairly.

Recommended Action: Make sure any business planning you do looks at how future flexible work requirements can meet your business needs. Check that you have a practical Flexible Working Policy in place to help you and your managers process all requests consistently and in a timely manner. Request a FREE Small Business Flexible Working Policy, by leaving a comment below. Find out more about the new regulations in the ACAS guide: .

 3. Hone in on Health

In Britain, even though days lost to ill health have been on the gradual decline, 23.5 million days were lost in 2013/14 and 11.3 million of those were due to stress (source: HSE/Labour Force Survey). According to one recent research project, employees feel stressed for 35% of the time, yet only 6% tell managers about their stress and anxiety issues!

Recommended Action: Look at ways to encourage wellness in the workplace and use appropriate mechanisms to proactively manage ill health. Keep the new Fit For Work occupational health advice telephone number to hand (Tel: 0800 032 6235), bookmark their website ( and consider introducing a healthcare cash plan to assist people with medical and dental costs (they don’t have to be expensive).

 4. Fit in with Family Friendly

Yes, there has been a flurry of ‘family friendly’ legislation yet no dispensations for the small business owner! This year’s introduction of Shared Parental Leave for people expecting babies in April (including adopting parents) is the latest addition to the family friendly fold, aimed at encouraging fathers to take a more active role in the first year of their baby’s life. Family focused legislation is here to stay, so bite the bullet and take time to understand your responsibilities.

Recommended Action: Encourage open and early discussion with employees about pregnancy and adoption, as this will help ensure appropriate leave is planned smoothly and positively. Bookmark the ACAS Guide on Shared Parental Leave – which includes useful checklists – .

 5. Polish your own Professional Development

When did you last invest in yourself – your attitudes, behaviours and energy levels are integral to your business and the engagement of your people, so make this the year that you concentrate on your own professional development.

Recommended Action: you can prioritise and invest in your own development in many different ways. One suggestion would be to access the government’s Growth Voucher scheme and check your eligibility via If you receive a voucher you can use matched funding to access different types of strategic business advice. If you would like to develop your management and leadership skills, check out my listing:


Have a great year!


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