Finance News & Insights

Making New Year’s resolutions stick

Yes, you have your own personal resolutions for 2009. But what about ones for your department? Here’s how to make sure both types take.

Lose 10 pounds or streamline your purchase approval process. Both noble goals … and both highly likely they’ll fade by Groundhog Day.

Sad but true: Most New Year’s resolutions don’t last into February.

Doesn’t have to be that way.

There are strategies that can keep everyone on track all year through.

Step 1: Think about when your goals are made

Just like it’s easy to swear off the junk food after you’ve just consumed 4 dozen Christmas cookies, it’s probably also easy to swear this will be the year employees turn in expense reports in a timely manner.

But once you’re a little farther away from the event that drove you to the breaking point, it’s tougher to reinforce.

Try to remind staffers of the issues that drove them to set these resolutions in the first place. Holding a contest for the worst excuse for a late expense report or a missing receipt is a light but effective way to keep the problem top-of-mind and get people working toward a result.

Step 2: Look at the behaviors instead of the goal

Maybe the expense report problem isn’t random — perhaps there’s a general lack of respect for deadlines in your company. Getting at the behaviors can go a long way to meeting your goals.

Step 3: Don’t get frustrated when results don’t come fast enough

Rome wasn’t built in a day. But if 90% of employees aren’t signed up for direct deposit after your first two months of efforts, staffers may give up.

Setting some interim goals (with a reward or two for reaching them) will keep the momentum going. After all, getting from 60% participation to 80% is worth celebrating.

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