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As your team prepares to welcome the new and wave goodbye to 2022, it's time to greet a new year with renewed optimism and build on successes while leaving failures behind. 

As a leader, your task is to motivate and energize your team to meet their goals. But successful and happy teams don't just happen by chance. It takes months–even years–of nurturing to grow into one that remains energized enough to chase aggressive targets and overcome obstacles along the way.

With 2023 right around the corner, we invite you to pause and reflect on how best to kick off the new year. Whether you closed 2022 on a high or less-than-successful note, the new year is a fresh start that deserves to be celebrated. From meetings, feedback, storytelling, and our favourite, appreciation, here are our tips on how to do it right. 

Check In With A Survey

Very few will want to kick off a new year with a survey, but you can't deny how useful they are for collecting information about employee engagement. They're fast, efficient and often deliver better insights than one-on-one meetings, especially with introverted or shy employees. 

The ultimate goal of a survey is to monitor your team's experience and make changes that increase overall happiness, productivity and retention. After all, there's nothing worse than co-workers who feel misunderstood, under-appreciated and ignored. 

To get the most out of your survey, tailor each to your specific team and business needs. Here are some great tips to help you get started in a fun and meaningful way:

  • Use fun, friendly and conversational language

  • Choose a colourful survey design

  • Include quirky and informal survey questions

  • Keep it short and sweet where possible

Of course, if you want to be in touch with your employees all year round, your survey strategy should reflect this. Your team's feedback is the compass for change, so be bold about surveying your employees at a frequency that works for your business throughout the year. 

Review Your Vision Statement

Now that you've received your team's feedback, it's time to make sense of where they stand and whether their statements align with the company's vision. Some questions that you might ask yourself include: 

  • Is your team's feedback aligned with your mission statement? 

  • Are you in line with, or moving farther away from your company values?

  • Are there any recurring positive or negative statements?

If the answers seem to diverge from your core values, it's a perfect time to establish why, and determine how you can get your team back on track, or maybe your core values need to be refined to better match the reality of your team culture. Groups that remain grounded in the company vision and values experience less workplace dissatisfaction and remain focused on their yearly targets. 

Hold A Killer Kick-off Meeting

With everyone back from the holidays and ready to hit the ground running, it's time to regroup after a hectic festive season. And while meetings often get a bad rap, a kick-off gathering helps your team reconnect and familiarize themselves with your new goals. But how exactly should that meeting unfold? Here are a few key topics to discuss: 

  • Lead with gratitude and appreciation 

  • Reflect on the previous year

  • Reiterate your company vision and values

  • Review feedback and suggestions as a team

  • Present your yearly goals 

Notifying everyone of the meeting's objectives and talking points well beforehand will give your team ample time to reflect and arrive prepared to share even more meaningful contributions. 

Re-Evaluate Your Rewards Program

We don't mind a bit of praise every now and then, and we certainly aren't the only ones! Companies with a strategic employee recognition program report 71%+ higher engagement levels when compared to companies without one. And when engagement levels rise, so do metrics like productivity, morale, teamwork and employee retention. That's why the new year is the perfect time to re-evaluate longstanding processes like your employee rewards program.

Surveying your team about this part of the business is a great starting point, but consulting experts like us is also a wonderful shortcut. With over 15 years of experience fine-tuning employee gifting programs, we can help you navigate this delicate component of team building, brand storytelling and corporate success.

Showing appreciation doesn't have to be complicated! Consider implementing some of the following suggestions to help your team feel more appreciated:

  • encourage greater peer-to-peer recognition

  • reflect on how appreciation is delivered to your team

  • recognize and appreciate your team often

Setting your team up for success involves more than just setting and hitting those golden KPIs. Quite a lot goes into teamwork that many overlook or brush aside. But if you've chosen 2023 as the year to strengthen the foundation of your powerhouse team, then consider kicking off the new year with our tips above. We promise it's all uphill from here!