The holidays can be a busy time around the office. Increasing pressure to meet year-end goals can lead to long days and a work-life imbalance for employees. Returning to work in January after enjoying time off with family and friends often results in a dip in morale in the early weeks of the new year. It can also be a time when employee engagement drops.
Engaged employees are easy to spot. They are committed to their job, focused and take pride in their work. They also partner with management and peers to achieve company goals. However, there are large swaths of the American workforce that are less engaged, and these employees can be harder to identify.
All aspects of a company’s operations, from quality control and customer relations, to innovation and teamwork, can suffer as a result of a lack of a motivated workforce. A disengaged employee may feel like an outsider at the company. They may not understand which direction the business is headed. They are often not aligned with the company culture and may be unsure as to how they fit into the overall organization’s vision and its success.
Some leaders might think that disengaged employees would want to leave their jobs, but this is not always the case. A lack of other job opportunities, a need for benefits, and fear of change are all factors that prevent unhappy employees from leaving.
Now is the perfect time to jump-start employee engagement efforts to ensure workers remain focused and efficient at the start of 2018 and beyond. Here are a few tips on where to begin.
Time for a culture change?
There are many ways a company can evolve to better engage employees. A good first step is to evaluate the organization’s culture. Leaders should ask questions such as:
- Can all employees identify how they contribute to the company’s success?
- Does leadership effectively communicate with employees?
- In instances where workers highlight issues, do they feel their concerns are addressed?
- Are everyone’s goals aligned?
Do an internal audit to answer these questions, and carefully evaluate the answers. This can guide you to make meaningful changes that boost morale and engagement within a company.
Encourage career growth and development
January is traditionally a time for resolutions, both at home and in the workplace. By encouraging employees to explore new possibilities for growth and development, leaders can show workers that they care. Workshops, seminars and training days are all great options, and by allowing time out of the office to attend, or by funding the event, leadership can help foster an atmosphere of learning and boost overall engagement.
Set realistic goals
Many employees returning to the office after the holidays will no doubt have a backlog of work. Their email inboxes may be overflowing, and some projects from the previous year may still need to be completed. If this is the case, it is important not to overload employees with new tasks in order to avoid burnout. Managers should set achievable goals in the first weeks of the year and avoid the temptation to launch several major initiatives at once.
It is the responsibility of company leaders to make employee engagement an integral part of their operations. All managers should be aware of this responsibility, and should be given the tools required to help workers become more engaged.
Engagement is a significant factor that affects a company’s profitability and growth. Business owners who take the appropriate steps to engage their employees will benefit from a higher level of employee productivity and commitment, a more favorable reputation, and, ultimately, greater success.
Eric Bonugli is a district manager and Kay Oder is a Certified Business Performance Advisor for Insperity located in the company’s Austin office. Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 31 years, provides an array of human resources and business solutions designed to help improve business performance.