The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect on your business and assess what’s been successful and what has room for improvement. Employee engagement is one area that should be reevaluated year after year, as team members’ priorities shift due to life changes, economic demands and other reasons. While The Great Resignation is well behind us, the start of the new year always sees a spike in job applications, as many workers seek fresh opportunities. Now is the time to be proactive instead of reactive, when it’s essentially too late.
Here are three things to do right now to keep company morale positive and make employees feel valued — without necessarily offering a 10% raise, though if that’s in your budget, then do it! — before they consider looking elsewhere.
- Be transparent.
Each employee only sees what’s happening in their company through the lens of what they do every day, which can lead to them being limited within their silos. Give them an opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of your organization. Show how their work benefits the group as a whole and share individual successes with the team. This approach to transparency can help employees see how their work affects the bigger picture and can help them recognize their own value to the organization.
- Actively engage.
Being present is key to any successful relationship. As a leader, you need to be in the weeds just as much as your team members. That can range from engaging in occasional small talk at the water cooler to chiming in on random pop culture conversations in Slack and attending team meetings. If you’re throwing a happy hour for the team to celebrate a successful quarter, then be there. Ask each person real questions about their life inside and outside of work. This is your opportunity to know everyone on a deeper level, and it shows you see your employees as real people and not just, well, employees.
- Ask them!
Don’t be afraid to ask your employees what matters to them. Be open to honest feedback and suggestions. You can invite them to a one-on-one meeting or distribute a company-wide survey. Ask them about what motivates them to do well, their goals for their role and frequent challenges that derail everyday processes. While you may not be able to accommodate every request, for instance that 10% pay raise, you should actively listen to your team and provide other solutions that show you’re meeting them in the middle.
The root of positive company morale is value. By being transparent, engaging and approachable to your employees, they are more likely to enjoy their work, perform better and become ambassadors for your organization.