With the beginning of a new year comes a chance to align your team with your business goals and strategy. As a leader, you’re likely excited about what they can accomplish in the upcoming 12 months.
But it’s best not to assume that everyone you employ feels as ready to tackle another calendar year as you do. To ensure they meet your expectations of productivity, you may need to transfer some of your own enthusiasm in ways that make sense for each department or role.
Below, find ten suggestions for inspiring your professional services team to start the new year off with as much productive energy as possible.
While your team understands the quarterly and annual goals they’re aiming to achieve, they may need a refresher on your business’s overall purpose. If you haven’t done so before or in a while, use the new year as a time to share your company’s mission. Tell the stories of your business’s origin. Be honest about the non-monetary elements of your own drive and that of your leadership team.
How? A great way to get everyone behind your mission is to let them get involved in developing business New Year’s resolutions.
Chances are, a lot has changed about your business in the past year. Conducting an annual review of training materials and methods is a good way to ensure your team has everything they need to perform at their best and keep them invested in their jobs. And training isn’t just for new hires — no matter how long a staff member has worked for you, there may be new procedures or services they want to better understand.
How? Meet with your managers to develop a plan for reviewing training protocol for each team, then use the first quarter of the year to make improvements.
Been putting off getting clear on processes? January is the perfect time to check this off your list. It doesn’t take much to turn existing steps into developed workflows: Have your managers identify core processes and start documenting them in a few minutes each day. A little effort can result in huge returns by helping you catch and correct inefficiencies, ultimately improving billable utilization.
How? Educate your team on common workflow types, then allow individual contributors to be hands-on about setting them up, as they are most familiar with their day-to-day tasks.
Once you’ve recorded existing workflows in detail, it’s time to see how they all fit together. While this is something you can perfect throughout the year, now is an ideal time to get your business started on an automation journey. Once automated workflows are in place, your team will appreciate spending less time on redundant tasks and feel like they can contribute to more meaningful work.
How? Choose a tech platform that can handle complex automation sequences, and get advice from experts to help you set them up.
Your managers may already do a great job of individually acknowledging employee performance, but it can still make a big difference in company culture and retention to have a set program. A report by Workhuman and Gallup found that employees who receive regular recognition are five times as likely to see themselves growing with an organization. Whether you offer small monetary rewards, office perks or any other form of recognition for time or superior effort, this approach can motivate unlike anything else.
How? Recognition doesn’t have to be complex or expensive. Determine a budget and assign a point person, perhaps in HR, who can create a simple system to acknowledge employees.
Just as your team wants to feel part of a larger purpose, they need to know you’ll hear them when there’s a problem or they have an idea. Gathering and responding to employee feedback is as important as recognition. However, it’s not enough to simply say you care about how people feel. In addition to the more formal HR processes they might use for resolving issues, create a psychologically safe method for them to communicate general feedback or ask questions.
How? Set up an easy means to submit feedback, and offer the option to do so anonymously. This can happen with a simple Google Form or an old-fashioned suggestion box.
If you have an in-person team, why not start the year out with an office refresh? You don’t have to invest in a complete redo to make the office feel new and fun. When you create an environment people want to be in with spaces supportive of different types of workers and roles, it builds a calm culture and therefore encourages productivity and creativity.
How? Ask your employees what they need. Even seemingly small changes like better lighting, more plants or a new coffee machine could offer comfort and demonstrate care.
A new project, client or idea might need more creative attention than a small team or department can offer. Take advantage of the spirit of the new year to test out getting more people involved. Sticking with the old methods may result in stagnation and leave your staff feeling bored or frustrated. When you’re consistently serving new clients who have new requests, it’s helpful to change up your internal approach to match.
How? Instead of requiring additional meetings or emails, provide easy ways for new people to review and collaborate on a document about the challenge at hand.
For your team to be their most effective, they’ll need to be able to see everything that’s pertinent to their roles at all times. This can be tough to achieve when you’re trying to provide essential visibility for radically different contexts, from sales to project management to billing. Disjointed platforms don’t display your clients’ complete history, whereas a single tech solution with multiple client work functions can house all of the vital information your entire team needs.
How? Consider a platform that provides maximum visibility for everyone on your team. You may want to start with overcoming your fears about new software.
The people who work for you are presumably there because they enjoy the nature of client work in a service business context. Help them remember why their efforts are so important: Connect them with clients more often. Seeing firsthand the impact of your deliverables or guidance on a client’s business and life will make you want to keep producing results, even on tough days.
How? Use supportive tech! With Accelo, everyone can see client communication history via the Activity Stream, and your customer support or account management team can simplify request intake via the client portal.
The above ideas are much easier to implement when you have a centralized platform to communicate and accomplish client work. Accelo can be your profitability-boosting sidekick as you maximize efficiency, free up time for innovation and make better decisions in the new year.
Start your free trial now or schedule a demo to learn more.