Each and every New Year we make a series of resolutions aimed at improving our life for the year ahead. As managers and leaders, this makes January 1st the perfect time for a reset. Why? Because the start of a new year is about evaluation, improvement and setting goals for the future - what worked, what didn’t, and what improvements be made? On balance, many find January a struggle- a sluggish start following the sugary comedown of the festive period. So, how do you kickstart your team set the tone for 2020?
Ask More Questions
Resolving to ask your team more questions is a great way to kick off the year on a good note. It doesn’t have to be intimidating or intrusive, just simply asking what they’re up to today, or what would make their working life easier - things like that. In return, your team will feel like they’re being listened to and feel included in the decision-making process. They’ll feel more valued and be more invested in the outcomes of the team as a result - a win all round.
Get Together More
Look, I know it can be a bit annoying to organise something outside of work hours, and chances are not all of your team will be enthusiastic about it anyway, so I have the solution to your work night out fears. Start off small, go for breakfast or lunch together once a month and hit the reset button. Find out what’s going on with Tony’s kid or how Karen is getting on with her marathon prep. It’s the little things that makes people feel like they’re part of the fabric of the business and are more likely to be engaged and remain at the company if they feel like you appreciate them as a person, not just a member of staff.
Be More Encouraging
As a manager or leader, it’s your job to rally the troops when they’re down or celebrate them when they’ve performed well. This is just how it goes. But rather than just sending a one line “thanks, good job” email or tagging it on at the end of a meeting, make more of a deal about it. You don’t have to buy Sharon a giant bouquet and a singing telegram (although if you do, we’d love to see it) but something that offers recognition in front of their peers and feels like it has thought behind it. Maybe they get to choose the next location for your work lunch, or get a bottle of something on a Friday or something like that - something that shows you publicly appreciate their efforts. This creates a positive working environment revolving around performance and rewards - everyone loves to be recognised for a job well done, it’s a great motivator and a simple way to keep your team engaged.
This one might be the most difficult resolution to get on board with. By their very nature, managers need to know what is going on with their team at all times, so loosening the reins and trusting them with a bit more freedom may seem counterintuitive. Whether this is around allowing members of your team to pursue that idea they’ve been working on, or to give them the green light to work from home on Fridays, or work remotely altogether, showing your team that you trust them is invaluable for building employee engagement. People don’t like to be monitored all the time or feel as if they’re being monitored all the time - this sense of trust will create a more upbeat workplace culture and, as a result, your team will be more engaged.
Employee engagement doesn’t require a roster of flashy tools, or a constant stream of incoming cakes each lunchtime (although these certainly help). Engagement is about showing your team that you appreciate them enough to put the effort in. You do that, and they’ll respond with enthusiasm for the year ahead. It’s an easy win.