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The Guide for New HR managers, Part 2: The Annual HR Cycle

Just like organisations, annual HR cycles are all different. If you are the very first HR manager in your organisation, it’s likely that you’ll need to design and implement the processes. But where should you start?


“The salary review and the appraisal are processes that every organisation usually already has in place, in one way or another. “Start with these,” recommends CatalystOne’s VP People & Culture Camilla Hydén Karlsson.

When the essentials are in place, you can introduce other processes that support the organisation’s ambitions and needs. If appraisal has been the only regular follow-up of individual employees, it is recommended to consider a shift towards continuous performance follow-up. “Status reviews“, or “one-on-ones, or “check-ins”, it has many names, are important touchpoints between managers and employees, and the main purpose of these dialogues is to evaluate development goals and objectives that are currently active. “Since we live in a fast changing environment, the need to update both objectives and personal development activities are often needed to ensure high engagement and impact throughout the year. Other levels of follow-up are more informal coffee talks, and feedback from colleagues.

The work balance survey is another process that most organisations have as part of their annual HR cycle. It’s a great way to gain valuable insights about possible challenges in your organisation and management strategies and routines. When considering where to place the employee survey in your annual cycle, consider that the results of the survey require work, and the conclusions should be translated into actionable development goals. Therefore it makes sense to run the employee survey at a reasonable time before appraisals, for example 2-3 months before. However, a yearly employee survey is usually never enough to understand employee engagement on a daily basis. “Therefore it is recommended to consider more frequent pulse surveys throughout the year.”

To ensure your organisation has the skills you need tomorrow, you will also need a process for competence development. What development processes and offerings can the organisation provide and what should the employee take responsibility to initiate?

Developing an annual HR cycle is the first stage of your annual plan: don’t forget you will also need to implement these processes and provide the organisation with the necessary tools. It’s key you prioritise, but Camilla also has a piece of advice if you feel like your ‘to do’ list keeps getting longer: “Set your ambitions at a reasonable level. You don’t need to have everything in place at once.”

Are you considering going digital? “You need to have your annual HR cycle in place first. Only then can you digitalise it,” says Camilla.

The next chapter in our guide for new HR managers will focus on CULTURE. It’s already live, so hop right onto the next blog here.

Did you miss out on the first chapter in this blog series? It covers “The Must Haves”, so go check it out – you will find it here.

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Micaela Tärnhamn

Micaela Tärnhamn, 14 December 2017

Micaela Tärnhamn har en stor nyfikenhet och intresse av frågor relaterade till modernt ledarskap och är genom sin roll som marknadschef i CatalystOne Sverige väl insatt i frågor kring Talent & Performance management, strategisk HR och HR system.