Give your employees what they really want this year

December 18, 2018

As the holidays are upon us and family and friends become top of mind, don’t forget about your work family. Now is the perfect time to give them what they really want. Hint: it is not something you can easily wrap up with a shiny bow. Rather a gift to touch their spirit, reignite their imagination and refuel their sense of purpose and engagement.  

This month’s Feature Focus is filled with timely, practical ideas to help your employees feel appreciated, valued and an important part of the firm. It is all about connecting and focusing on what matters most to them so they can end the year on a positive note.   

10 Heartfelt gift ideas for your employees 

1.       Let them know you care

One of the most meaningful gifts you can give your employees is your time, attention and support. Schedule a one-on-one with them and let them know you are interested in them and their success. Talk about what has been instrumental to them this year. Go beyond business and focus on them as a person. Discuss their interests outside the workplace too.  

2.       Commit to regular communication 

Did you know that employees whose managers hold regular meetings with them are almost three times as likely to be engaged as employees whose managers do not hold regular meetings with them? This is according to Gallup. What’s more, their research found that consistent communication, whether it occurs in person, over the phone or electronically, is connected to higher engagement.1 Demonstrate your commitment with regular meetings and open communication. Identify a communication style and format that works well for you and the employee, as personal preferences differ. Commit to ‘X’ number of sessions in 2019. Go ahead and get them on the calendar.

Check out the PCPS Firm inMotion Managing Client Expectations and Relationships tools. While designed for clients, you can use the same tools to understand and adapt to preferred staff communication methods.

3.       Focus on how they fit into the firm

People want to know the work they do is important and makes a difference to others, yet they often do not understand how they fit into the firm’s bigger picture. As a result, it is difficult for them to comprehend the value they bring. Help them get clear on how their role fits into the overall practice and its impact on colleagues, the firm and its clients. Talk in terms of the projects they worked on this year and the ways they have touched others, both inside and outside the firm. Reinforce critical messages such as stakeholders who rely on them for their work and why it is critical to deliver what is expected when it is expected.  

Tap into the PCPS Balanced Scorecard to help translate strategy into action by driving the firm’s strategic initiatives down to team member’s individual goals and objectives.

4.       Discuss where they stand

Did you know that performance management can be a source of great frustration for employees who do not clearly understand their goals or what is expected of them at work according to Gallup? Yet, when performance management is done well, employees become more productive, profitable and creative contributors. Employees whose managers excel at performance management activities are more engaged than employees whose managers struggle with these same tasks.2 Talk about what they are doing well. The same goes for areas where they are struggling. Strategize on how you can assist them in overcoming these challenges so they can achieve their goals. Continue these conversations during regular meetings to help your employees be the best they can be.

5.       Chart a direction for 2019

Help employees chart a course for the New Year. Start by discussing their goals. Talk about how these align with firm goals as well as their aspirations outside the practice. Help them set work priorities and performance goals. Focus on action plans and strategies that can help them achieve success. Use these goals as benchmarks in the coming year when you meet to discuss their progress.

Check out the PCPS SMART Goal Planning Grid to help identify goals that are measurable and actionable for increased employee engagement and retention.

6.       Outline support

Today’s employees want to know how you and the firm will help them achieve success. Get clear on the type of support they are looking for. Zero in on the skills they want to develop and those that will help them advance in their careers. This may be assistance with client service, leadership, communication, technical skills, business development and technology, to name a few. Discuss in detail what this looks like. Spell out the type of support that you and the firm will provide in the upcoming year and beyond.

7.       Encourage involvement in key issues    

Let your team know how important their voices and opinions are. Get them involved in helping the firm with key projects such as how to better utilize new technology or enhance the client experience. Ask them to serve on task forces and committees of interest. Include them in brainstorming sessions to address tough issues such as how to reduce workload compression and how to build more inclusive workplaces. Be mindful that just because an employee is new to the firm doesn’t mean they can’t provide valuable insight.

8.       Inspire participation at firm gatherings

While this is a busy time of year, encourage your team to get involved in holiday and firm gatherings. The same goes for firm events and fun activities planned for tax season. Remind them of the opportunities to connect with colleagues in a casual atmosphere along with the chance to speak with those they don’t normally get to interact. Equip them with a few questions so they will feel more comfortable and can get the most out of their interactions.

  • What is new with you?
  • What are the most rewarding projects you have worked on this year?
  • What are your priorities for the New Year?
  • What new technology discoveries are you most excited about?
  • What kind of training are you considering for 2019?
  • Check out the 2019 PCPS Busy Season Fun Calendar for some ideas to bring the team together during tax time.    

9.       Reward hard work  

Naturally the holidays are a good time to reward your employees for their hard work and dedication throughout the year. When giving bonuses and other incentives, help employees understand why they are receiving them. Recognition is often more meaningful than the tangible rewards. Tell them how much their dedication means to you. Talk about their impact on the team, the firm and the community.

10.   Support downtime during the holidays

In today’s nonstop 24/7 work environment, it is essential for your team to understand the value of some well-deserved time away from the office. Encourage them to unplug from their professional responsibilities for a while. Make time for things they enjoy, whether it is catching up on sleep, watching the latest movies or participating in outside activities. Help them feel good about relaxing and refueling so they can start the New Year fresh.

Happy Holidays! May you and your employees get what you really want this year.

1, 2 - Employees Want a Lot More From Their Managers, Jim Harter and Amy Adkins, Gallup Workplace, April 8, 2015