5 resolutions you should make for the new year

Your personal professional development will be off to a great start with this checklist from an expert

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It's the start of a new year, a new decade even … which inevitably means our thoughts drift to resolutions to improve our health or get more organized. But how about shifting some of your resolution making toward something new, such as your professional development?

To help you get started, HR NewsWire turned to Kathy Forbush, executive director of Talent Management, for her expert advice on where to start. Here are her top five recommendations for JHU employees:

1. Set a professional development goal—and write it down. Forbush says that goal setting is the perfect place to start so that you can hold yourself accountable. "We know you have plenty of work-related goals," she says, "but it is also important to set and document specific professional development goals." If you use SuccessFactors Performance Management, you can document your professional development goals on the same form where you document your work-related goals. Then you can periodically review progress with your supervisors throughout the year. To access SuccessFactors Performance Management, log into and click on the SF myPerformance icon under the HR box on the left.

2. Try LinkedIn Learning. Have you tried one of the thousands of LinkedIn Learning videos yet? The university launched this offering in 2019, and all employees can take advantage of its high-quality professional development videos on a variety of topics. How about running better meetings, delivering smoother presentations, mastering pivot tables in Excel, or acing that internal job interview? These topics and so many more are accessible at work or on your mobile devices. Courses are being added weekly, and you will get new recommendations based on courses you've taken, so commit to learning or mastering a new skill with LinkedIn Learning. You can even set weekly goals to help you keep your resolution.

3. Discover Skillsoft's Books 24X7. In addition to the videos and courses accessible via the university's learning management system, you can access thousands of books for free to read online via Books 24X7. Want to learn the basics of project management? How to be a better coach or mentor? Or to sharpen your business writing? There are books on those topics and many more. Just search the topic of interest and hit the Books tab on your results page, and you'll find options that you can access right away. Some are even accessible as audio books. Future books will be recommended to you based on your search and reading history.

4. Take a class. "While there is some great learning you can get on your own, sometimes it helps to be learning with others, sharing experiences, and helping one another," Forbush says. There are many classroom offerings for employees looking to develop their skills. You can take courses to help you be a better supervisor or manager, enhance your knowledge of SAP and the university's financial procedures, learn a new software application that will help you be more productive, or other business skills to help you thrive professionally. In these workshops you will hear from subject matter experts from Johns Hopkins and elsewhere, and you can interact with others attempting to develop in those areas while you also build your professional network. Many of these courses are half- or all-day sessions, so you can have the opportunity to practice your new skills and get feedback on your progress.

5. Help develop someone else. "We all need a little encouragement in maintaining resolutions," Forbush says, "just like when we have a workout buddy." So how about giving a co-worker some positive feedback? SuccessFactors Performance Management has a tool that allows you to "badge" colleagues to let them know you appreciate their efforts on the job or in their development. Just type in their names at the top in the white box, and that will bring you to a page where you will see the option to badge them. There are six different badge choices and a place to write notes to the person. "Let someone else know you noticed their efforts," Forbush says, "and maybe they will reciprocate and encourage you." (To access SuccessFactors, see instructions in resolution No. 1.)

If you have questions about any of these offerings, contact Learning Solutions at

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