2017 is starting, and most of us are thinking of what we didn’t accomplish last year or what we want to achieve this year.

I’ve got two sets of resolutions for 2017. Firstly, I want to learn to dance salsa, and for my work resolution I want to improve the way we attract and retain great talent.

Although not every company will benefit from implementing the same HR best practices (as it depends on culture, company size, the product or service you sell, and lots more), here are some ideas that I believe can make your workplace better and more successful in 2017 – whatever your work resolutions.

1. Focus on your HR department

During my career I’ve seen HR departments focusing on every single department in the company but their own. Your whole-company vision shouldn’t change, as your internal clients need you everyday.  However, if you don’t pay attention to your own department, the quality of your service to everyone else will eventually decrease. The HR department deserves some HR attention too.

Start 2017 by thinking of your colleagues. Why not going for lunch together once every week? Take that time to discuss how to improve your internal processes so they become more efficient, and share the good experiences you had with your internal clients that week. Improve your regular communication with colleagues. For example, every time you have to present a new policy or a new project to the company, make sure you start with the HR department instead of leaving it to the end, as I’ve seen so many times.

2. Improve your benefits selection

Benefits are one of the most discussed means of retaining talent, but have you reviewed your benefits recently with retention in mind? The current workforce are more focused than ever on quality of life and I’m not only talking about money. If you still have the same benefits as 10 years ago, now is the time to take a look and make a change.

The first thing to do is to question whether your company’s benefits are suitable for everyone. If you offer a company car and childcare vouchers, that’s great. But I don’t have children or need a car in central London, so those benefits don’t really appeal to me.

Get to know the people in your company, their hobbies, their needs outside of work, and try to adjust the benefits you provide to offer something that will be attractive to them (this is where bob can help!).


One benefit that most companies can offer (with little or no cost involved) is flexibility. Specifically, remote working and/or flexible hours. Nowadays candidates may have more than one offer to consider, and are choosing the place where they want to work. If your company doesn’t provide the benefits they want, they may seek them out somewhere else.

3. Promote your holiday entitlement

In the 21st century this shouldn’t even be a topic, but it is. In the UK (and many other countries with mandatory holiday allowances), there are still people not using all their holidays or those that are afraid to ask for two weeks off in a row.

Companies need to assume everyone has a life outside work, everyone needs time to relax, and this actually makes employees more productive. HR departments and management teams need to be on the same page regarding holidays. Make sure that in 2017 everyone in your company takes their holidays. With the pace of business today, burn-out is a real danger and hugely impacts productivity. As does being tired or afraid of losing their place in the company while they’re away. Everyone needs their batteries charged to bring their best to work on a daily basis. Be excited about your employees’ plans for their holidays and allow them to properly switch off from emails and calls during that time.

4. Recruitment

Recruitment is always a hot topic within HR, and I want to share a personal experience with you here. Throughout my career, whenever I wanted to change jobs, I only went for interviews in companies I believed they were going to offer me what I was looking for. This means I only apply for jobs I really want.. Sometimes, I find it hard. It’s not that I couldn’t find companies where I thought I’d be happy working, it’s just that most job adverts are terrible. Hiring the wrong person creates a lot of extra costs and time, why not spend a bit more time thinking of better adverts to help attract the right people?

So, how should we do that? Use short adverts; don’t make it too hard for candidates to apply, and don’t ask for the perfect person. I’m sure you didn’t meet all the requirements when you started your job in your present company and I’m sure your company is not perfect as well.

Why not think of other ways to attract people to work for your company? Make a video instead of writing an ad; organise meetups for the types of people you want to recruit, so you can see how people react and then approach the ones you think would fit your company, be creative!

5. Have fun!

This is the most important message I want to give. Either you’re writing New Year’s resolutions, or you’re not, but whatever you choose, be sure you leave room for fun in your professional and personal lives.

Most of us HR, talent, and people folks want to make a positive impact on our businesses, and will enjoy doing so. Most employees find it easier to ask for advice from their HRs if their HRs are happy too.

Put those two things together and you have a clear case for making sure your HR team are happy in their work. If you can do that, your clients will be happier (and better supported) too.

I wish you a happy and successful 2017!



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From Monica Ponte

Born in the magnificent city of Lisbon, the warm sun encouraged Monica to be a happy and positive person. During her frequent travels, she became a real people person, and that sent her in the direction of Human Resources – her career for the past 7 years. If you want to have a chat about HR stuff (or Portugal)