New Year, New Team: How to Spark Motivation in Your Small Team in 2024
With 2024 looming closer by the day, it’s time to start thinking about how you can consolidate what you’ve learned this year and use it to benefit your company in the new year.
Luckily, we’ve compiled a few simple ways to check in with yourself and your employees in order to start the new year off with a bang.
Create an ongoing dialogue with employees.
While holding performance reviews once or twice a year has always been industry standard, it’s actually more effective to create an environment where consistent communication between CEO and team is customary. Whether this means regularly scheduled sit-downs or just making it clear that the pathway for communication is always open when you provide feedback throughout the year employees are less likely to feel stressed out by the prospect of performance evaluation.
Facilitate a community atmosphere in the workplace.
With so much of our lives spent working, it’s important that the office feels like a community if you want to avoid burned out and depressed employees. Some simple ways to create a more united environment at work is by encouraging personal connectivity through team bonding experiences and public recognition of individual accomplishments. You can also work to bridge the perceived gap between boss and employees by making an effort to get to know your team members on a personal level, so they feel like a valued part of the system rather than just a nameless cog in a big organization.
Reflect on the success of the previous year.
When you do your end of year check in on how your business did in 2023, make sure to consider it from your employees’ perspectives as well. By getting to know your employees as more than just the job they currently do, you’ll be able to find ways to further motivate them by assigning work that they’re interested in. You probably have some things keeping you busy that you’d love to hand off, and if you’re able to pass on marketing work to employees who want to develop in that area rather than just delegating at random, they’ll feel noticed and appreciated.
Start planning and setting goals
Setting realistic, while also growth minded goals should be the priority for your team. Knowing what you're working towards is important, whether you're a designer, marketer, account manager or product leader. Something you can track your performance against week-over-week is important, and is a way to encourage team collaboration, follow-ups and structure.
Setting goals is a team effort, which means every member should feel encouraged to bring to the table what they think is doable, but also feel like they can aim for "moon-shots" in terms of performance. The goal isn't to play it safe with goals, but rather give a range of results that are expected for the company, and team, to reach where they want to be 6 months or a year from now.
Technology integration to improve speed & efficiency
If you're leading a small, or any type of team for that matter, a portion of any members work should be find ways to improve their workflow, speed and efficiency when it comes to how they accomplish work. Spend time during weekly meetings, 1-on-1's or any other form of team meeting to determine if there is some new player in whatever industry, and if it's worth researching, reaching out, scheduling a demo and potentially integrating their tool into your team's processes.
Even small incremental improvements to a process, over time, can lead to many hundreds or thousands of hours saved, as well as better deliveries of projects.
Another example: Is your team using a cumbersome tool to create graphics that isn't required for the skill level involved? If you're a marketing team who creates ads, visuals for social, or creatives for emails, why not use a tool like Canva that is simple to use and creates great graphics with minimal skill required?
Small wins stack up, and then lead to larger wins. Make sure your team is looking at what technology is available and how it can be integrated with your workflow.
Employee Well-being and Work-Life Balance
Take your vacation! Is what team members should be told frequently. Make sure everyone on a team is preventing burnout by enabling them to disconnect from their work time-to-time. It's important to ensure that a manager is checking in with their direct reports frequently, and look at the work they're outputting, the time required to do said work, and if they are on the verge of burnout.
Having a strong work-life balance leads to better work, and it's scientifically proven! Make sure you're actively telling team members that they should take breaks, have days that aren't filled with stress, or if that's not possible at certain times of the year, give them tools to manage it, such as access to benefits, and making sure they're aware of what benefits they may be overlooking.
Strong teams can be measured by not only their output, but their consistency when it comes to taking on new challenges. The best way to do this is to encourage every team member to actively take time for themselves.
Brainstorm ideas for making 2024 your best year yet.
There’s no time like the holiday break to get your ideas flowing on how you can improve your business in the coming year. Maybe you’re noticing a need to fill out your sales team with new recruits, or you’ve recognized the outstanding work that your administrative team did these past 12 months. Celebrate your company wins and thank your staff for all their hard work, then focus on how you can keep the momentum going in 2024.