Guest Author Drew McLellan, CEO at AMI
A couple of weeks ago in the newsletter, I spoke of vigilance and how difficult it is to maintain through the great holiday hibernation. I promised that we’d think through some of the most vital areas for us to stay on guard while we welcome the winter holidays.
This week, I want us to be thoughtful about how we can stay vigilant when it comes to our team members. Here are safe assumptions to, at the very least, verify with your employees this time of year
- They’re tired
- They’re pretty confident, given how hard they worked, that the company has had a fruitful year
- They’re being recruited by your competitors with promises of more money and better perks
- They feel as though they haven’t had a significant raise or bonus in awhile
- They’re important to your organization
- They know you’re having trouble recruiting or hiring talent right now
Assuming much, if not all, of that is true how do you protect your relationship with your team? During this critical juncture, especially if you’re swamped this month or they’re taking a lot of time off for the holidays, you need to make sure you’re communicating with them.
Acknowledge their efforts: I suspect most people go right to pay increases and bonuses when they read that subhead but that’s actually not what I meant. If your people deserve a raise or bonus and you can afford to give it to them, by all means, do so. They’ve earned it.
What I’m talking about is recognizing their contributions and thanking them in a significant way. It might be taking them to lunch and telling them how much you appreciate their efforts. Or you might write a handwritten thank you note. You could create awards and present them at your all team meeting. Do what fits with your culture. But your folks need some appreciation.
Give them something to be excited about in 2022: Another great way to connect and appreciate your team members is to share your vision of the future with them. Describe where the company is going, how you’re going to impact the lives of your customers and employees, and invite your team to participate.
This is your chance to let them really see what’s possible. It will cook in the back of their brains all through the holidays and don’t be surprised if they have some incredible ideas for you when 2022 rolls around.
Offer to help them grow: The number one item on any employee’s wish list is help getting even better at their job so they can contribute more and earn more as a result.
Share with your crew your plans for their professional development. It might be more mentorship with you. It could be an online course or an in-person workshop. You might consider a lunch and learn format, so that everyone benefits from a single effort. Any employee worth keeping wants to keep adding to their repertoire so why not invest in them as a sign of appreciation, a retention tool, and a way to delight your clients?
In addition to you coming up with ideas, ask them for theirs. What would make them better at their job? This is also an insightful way to see who takes you up on these opportunities versus those who avoid continuing to further their skills and knowledge.
Be sure that your team feels seen, heard, and appreciated this holiday season. Be clear that 2022 is going to be filled with opportunities that you want to share with them. But first, you want them to rest well during the holidays, so they come back refreshed and ready to take 2022 by storm!