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Q&A: Streamlining Year-End HR Operations

23 November 2023

QandA Streamlining End of Year

Our popular webinar tackling Streamlining Year-End HR practices was full of great advice, ideas and inspiration for HR professionals who want a smooth end to 2023 and a great start to next year.

In addition to the webinar, we fielded two other questions to our panellists, Peter Hall, Head of Customer Success at Cezanne and Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Penisula.

 

Question 1: How would you go about prioritising your time and activities at this time of year?

Kate Palmer: It is always advisable to plan your day but be wholly prepared for the fact the best planning in the world can completely go awry and be taken off piste by an in the moment, reactive need.  My last activity of each day is to review my diary for the next day and get my mind in gear for what is ahead.  If I see meetings/activities which do not work towards achieving a fundamental objective I change my plans, explaining with those involved the why. The reality is most of us could work 24/7/365 and still not complete our work to-do list so you have to consider the value of every activity you are involved in, learn to say no where it does not benefit your wider goal (do not feel guilty about that) and do not sweat the small stuff! You cannot be everything to everyone and your time has to be aligned to what the need is. Be prepared to be strict and come of meetings at the diary’s end time so they are directed and succinct, and go into evert meeting with a clear objective of what you need to achieve from it. The reality is you have to be very disciplined with time and it is not the gift that keeps on giving and you can easily find yourself wrapped in things that ultimately do not have great value.

 

Peter Hall: One simple tactic that can work well is to physically block time out in your calendar for the deeper work that can often be pushed to the side at this time of the year but is of equal (if not greater) importance. Consider this time exactly as you would a critical business meeting (if you think about it, it is, just with yourself as opposed to others!) and this should help keep it spare.

I always have a weekly tracker that plans out everything I am currently involved with and allows me to focus and reflect on key priorities for the days/week ahead, but doesn’t lose sight of the wider projects I am involved with and when they need to be completed by. This helps avoid losing sight of things that can suddenly crop up and cause us to re-prioritise at the last moment.

 

 

Question 2: What balance would you strike between planning for next year and having the capacity to respond to events as they occur?

Kate Palmer: Plan your diary and split your time but reality is we are in HR, business and ops and the best plans do always go wrong by an in the moment, reactive need but you need to be agile and respond to that and importantly don’t get stressed about it! Also, you are very likely to work in a team so know your key players and delegate where needed as sometimes you cannot and should not do everything. Delegation is the art of leadership, as they say and having a strong, autonomous team around you is a reflection of you!

 

Peter Hall: Review the period between now and Christmas, your holiday, your team’s holiday and use that to establish what time you have to balance to begin with. As Kate says, time is a fixed variable and you have to be realistic with what you can allocate before you can think about establishing an appropriate balance.

I would reiterate the point about reserving time for deep work and appreciating the importance of this. Naturally within HR we will always have new things pop up all the time, but consider the importance of what you have planned versus what those new items are. As Kate says, delegation is an important and useful tool!

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