Lancer Insurance
Saturday, March 02, 2024
By Christina Fiorenza and Stephanie Carnes

Q1 Blues Are you suffering from the January blues? You know what I’m talking about: Your annual holiday party at the beginning of December was all the rage last year! You had a jazz band and an amazing spread, including prime rib and risotto. Everyone was dressed to the nines, in a festive spirit, and had a wonderful time together wrapping up the year and kicking off the holiday season. Schedules were in place, and you had coverage for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Maybe you were even able to take some well-deserved time off.

And then ... January rolled around. The weather was gray and cold, there were no parties, holidays, or days off to look forward to, and everyone seemed to be dragging a bit. It’s time to breathe some life back into your team and set yourself up for a successful year with your people and your human resources procedures.
"Now is a good time for a team meeting in each department to set the vision for the year; why not add in some teambuilding activities?"
Encouraging Your Team
1. Do something thoughtful for your personnel, and mix it up a little. If you always bring in donuts, switch to bringing in pizza at lunch. If you always have pizza, bring in Mexican instead.

2. Now is a good time for a team meeting in each department to set the vision for the year; why not add in some teambuilding activities?

3. Most of us think about getting back into shape after a holiday season of treats and feasts and skipping the workouts. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more sick time is taken in January and February than any other time of the year. A team wellness contest can have multiple positive effects: Healthier employees are more focused, happier, and less prone to injury and sickness. Hold 30-day challenges based on number of steps increased or times per week walking for at least 30 minutes or participating in a yoga class, for example. Make it accessible so that all levels of fitness and health can participate. Host a lunch potluck of healthy dishes or have meat-free Mondays—the sky is the limit.

4. Use your internal Facebook page to encourage camaraderie. Consider an informal photo contest—employees can post their best holiday or travel photo, and the post with the most likes wins.

Partnering With Your Team
1. Go old school and set up a suggestion box. Ask employees to recommend changes or updates to an SOP or policy. To make it more likely they will participate, announce that if you implement any of the suggestions, those employees will get a lunch out with you, transported in a luxury vehicle.

Q1 Blues 2. Spend one-on-one time with as many employees as possible. The beginning of the year is a great time to check in with your team members and discuss plans and goals for the year, offer feedback, and listen to their questions and ideas. Let them know that you’re planning on doing this so that they have time to gather their thoughts and that the meetings are as productive as possible and not filled with anxiety. Virgin Group founder Richard Branson famously said, “Put your staff first, your customers second, and your shareholders third.” Most business owners live and die by their customers, but investing in your employees will naturally benefit your customers and your bottom line.

3. Brian Scudamore writing in Forbes repeats what should now be conventional wisdom: “Effective team building means more engaged employees, which is good for company culture and boosting the bottom line.” Find ways to bring your team together throughout the year, not just during the holidays, and you will have greater engagement and higher revenue.

Your Q1 Human Resources Checklist
In addition to investing in your employees, use the first three months of the year to review your HR compliance. If you break out tasks during each quarter, you won’t find yourself scrambling. Here are some HR tasks uniquely suited to Q1:

• Review your employee files to ensure all forms are complete, up to date, and in the right location.
• State and federal guidelines for minimum wage continue to change, so be sure you are in compliance for all of your employees. If you have multiple locations, this is especially important to review.
• Do you have new compliance posters piling up on your desk? Post them in the breakroom.
• Review your employee handbook to confirm it is compliant.
• Distribute W-2s, 1099s, and 1095-C forms for ACA reporting.
• Evaluate any staffing needs you anticipate for the upcoming year

Depending on your climate and level of activity in the office, January through March will probably never be most people’s favorite season, but with some creativity and effort you can make sure that the rest of the year starts on the right track.   [CD0219]
Christina Fiorenza is the HR Director for the LMC Group. She can be reached at Stephanie Carnes is a certified MBTI consultant and the client solutions provider for The LMC Group. She can be reached at