If you’re still getting used to writing ‘2023’ on your notepads, you’re not alone. It seems like 2022 flew past and we’re already deeply settled into the new year, even though it’s barely been a month. As yearly priorities and goals are set on an individual, team and company-wide basis, this can be a common period of limbo for your people while they await what’s coming next.
Our recent research has shown that 30% of employees are no longer going above and beyond their specific responsibilities and/or schedule.
Linked to the tired buzzword ‘quiet quitting,’ the data points to a clear shift in how employees perceive their contributions at work, and it’s taking a hit on their overall productivity. So, as leaders, how can you move your disengaged workers into what we call an ‘ambassador’ on the employee engagement quadrant? An ambassador is an employee who’s driven and motivated to show up at work (wherever ‘work’ may be!) every day, continually looking to improve and positively influence business goals – these are the stars of your organisation, the ones you want to keep around. And with 31% of employees looking to move jobs this year, it’s more important than ever to understand new methods to re-engage your people and improve your overall employee retention.
While showing your employees that they’re valued, appreciated and supported is important all year round, the beginning of the year can be the perfect opportunity to re-engage your workforce and make sure you’re setting them – and your business – up for success in the year ahead. To help grease the gears, think of these four 'R’s' to re-engage your people:
Ask your employees why they loved this job enough to accept it. We all, of course, need a paycheque. But your staff likely had a choice, and your recruiters probably greatly inspired while closing the deal. It’s worth it to pause regularly to go back to basics, to communicate your journey and mission as an organisation, and to make sure your team members know why and how they’re a critical part of that success.
This could be a good moment to send out an eNPS to get a pulse on how employees are feeling about working for your organisation, send out an inspirational look-ahead video from your CEO or other core Leadership Team members or encourage your managers to get their team together to talk about the successes of the past year.
I know your employees likely came back from an extended holiday break, and they may be feeling unencumbered.
But with over 50% of employees reporting they frequently feel stressed at work, even the coolest, calmest and most collected people in your organisation likely need to take a moment for themselves.
In every work environment, but especially in high-stress professions, lightening the atmosphere can help employees take a step back and enjoy their work life more. Relaxing enhances creativity. Think about it: how many great work-related ideas come when we’re not at work or in front of a computer? It’s important for managers to let employees carve out their creative time and to take the lead in reminding their teams that work doesn’t always have to be serious.
Set a goal as a team to put aside time for professional development, encourage employees to join or start a book club or watchlist (we have a #watchlist channel on Slack where we come together to share our favourites). Remember that all-important question at the start of every one-to-one meeting: How are you?
In the crush of everyday deadlines, it’s easy to forget what work provides. Besides reminding employees of all the benefits and supports available (which you hopefully have!) it’s also important to elevate work beyond the paycheque. Your workplace is a rich community of like-minded professionals with interesting challenges and ample opportunities for advancement – a place that will let them grow as a person, evolve as a professional and develop relationships with friends and colleagues – but only when they see it that way.
This week, we’re jumping into the year by refreshing and having an open feedback discussion for our DE&I Network Leads, which has brought many of our employees (including myself!) new opportunities for professional development and relationships outside of my core day-to-day team. When employees understand that work is offering them so much more than the (outdated model) of the 9-5, they’re likely to be more engaged – and excited – to show up every day.
We can’t forget the fourth, arguably most important ‘R’: Recognise. Our surveys have shown time and time again that thanking and rewarding employees for their hard work is absolutely fundamental to engagement.
- 72% of employees say that their work wellbeing would improve if they were simply thanked more often.
- 64% of employees list 'a manager who cares' in their top 3 'must haves'
- 89% of employees say feeling listened to by leadership is important to their wellbeing at work
Sending out recognitions to your employees that may be feeling particularly lost or have struggled to remember the 'why' of their time within your business can be all the momentum needed to re-ignite their engagement and motivation.
Use this year to put a weekly reminder on your calendar to send out at least 1-3 recognitions a week, or if you’re already a power-recogniser, make it a stretch goal to recognise and show appreciation for others in your business that may not get the spotlight as much as others do. By using the AVI method of how to write strategic recognition and showing the action, connecting it to a value and sharing the impact, your employees will better understand how their day-to-day positively impacts your organisation’s success. And what better feeling is that?