New year, new start: how to get the most out of your team in the year ahead
From team building activities to reward schemes and regular communication. There are simple steps you can take to help boost the performance of your workforce.
The start of a new year is a great opportunity for planning and reflection. After the Christmas break you tend to have a clearer perspective on your business, where you want it to be and how you’re going to get there.
Whatever your plans for your company, it’s important to have a strong team behind you to help you reach those objectives, and there are some simple steps you can take to galvanise your team and ensure they are performing at their very best, ready for the year ahead.
You might be clear on the direction you want the business to head in, but it’s important to also include your employees and keep them informed and engaged. Start off the year with a ‘kick-off’ meeting where you explain your aims and objectives for the year ahead and set targets for the team to help you achieve this. This is also a great opportunity to ask for input and suggestions from your employees - they may have some great ideas that you haven’t yet thought of. Going forward, it’s important to keep those lines of communication open with regular update meetings that assess progress, highlight any issues and communicate key changes.
Reward good performance
People perform better when they feel their contribution is valued so, while it’s vital to address poor performance, it’s equally as important to recognise and reward good performance. A great way to do this is to introduce company awards or additional incentives
. This doesn’t have to mean paying out large bonuses - something as simple as introducing an early finish on Fridays, or giving people their birthday as an extra leave day can really go a long way. Equally, awards such as ‘employee of the month’ give people something to strive for and introduce an element of healthy competition.
The team that plays together stays together, so encourage some team bonding and add an element of fun with collaborative team building activities
. The words ‘team building’ may conjure up unpleasant memories of falling backwards with your eyes closed while hoping Janet from Accounts is as trustworthy as she seems, but the industry has moved on a lot. There are now some great activities around that are really effective at building camaraderie and encouraging collaborative working. And with options as diverse as recording a song, murder mystery evenings, treasure hunts and physical challenges, there is something for every team.
Understand your team
Team building activities will help your employees get to know each other, but it’s also important that you know and understand your team. Taking the time to understand your employees - their strengths and weaknesses, what makes them tick, how they like to work - can really pay dividends in terms of staff satisfaction and performance. You might also want to consider whether you have adequate support structures in place for staff, such as a mentoring scheme or access to a health and wellbeing service. Taking steps such as these can result in a happier, more motivated and more productive workforce.
You know your business and employees best, and some of these suggestions may work better than others. But investing time and resources into staff engagement and staff satisfaction (however you choose to do it) can only have a positive impact on your employees’ performance and your business’ bottom line.