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5 ways to take the ‘back to school’ spirit and bring it ‘back to work’

Back to schoolFor children and teenagers, the first day of a new school year is always a bittersweet experience. On one hand, it represents the end of their freedom. They had the whole summer to enjoy their vacation and have fun with their friends in the sunny weather outdoors – once September rolls around, the fun stops and it’s time to hit the books again. That can be a rude awakening.

On the other hand, there’s something exciting about the start of a new year.

Walking into school on the first day of the year represents a new beginning. It’s a fresh start, in every respect – academically, socially, developmentally. No matter how much your grades slipped last year, you have a chance to wipe the slate clean and be a new, better self. In a way, the start of a new year is invigorating. Inspiring, even.

The same can be said in human capital management.

While your place of business probably doesn’t have a traditional “first day of school” on the schedule, the same way many school systems use the Tuesday after Labor Day, you still have to settle into a rhythm at your office, year in and year out. Each time you begin a new year of work, you have a new opportunity. You get to reacquaint yourself with the people in your office, the way your company does work and the strategies you use for HCM logistics. HR laws, tax codes, health care regulations – they’re changing every year. So should your business.

It’s time to begin thinking about the new year. While 2015 is still in full force, time is moving fast, and it’ll be 2016 before you know it. Don’t fear it – embrace it. Bottle up the same positive energy that kids take “back to school” and take your own positive energy “back to work.”

Here are five possible ways how.

Always be planning
It’s not wise to put off planning for the new year until the last minute. Instead, your office should always be thinking ahead and planning for the future on a continual basis.

Get to know people, and skills
At school, kids use the first day to get reacquainted with their classmates. You can do something similar at work – observe your employees, get to know their tendencies and figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your staff.

Keep up with compliance
Tax codes, health care laws and other matters of HR logistics are always changing. Part of adjusting to a new year is learning all the new rules. Keep yourself up to date whenever possible.

Manage the archives
Every business has lots of past records relating to human capital management – compensation, benefits, time and attendance data, and so on. Make sure your archives are kept in good working order.

Relax when you can
Don’t work yourself (or your staff) too hard. A lot of teachers have class parties or other fun events during the first week of school. See if you can extend your employees that same courtesy.

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