Positive employee engagement is one of the most representative factors of an organization’s success. High levels of engagement boosts job performance because employees feel connected to their workplace, empowered by their leaders, and derive meaning from their contribution to the overall body of work. At the heart of good employee engagement is employee appreciation, which stems from responsive leadership and good working relationships. The best thing you can do as a leader to increase employee engagement is to show your staff love not only during peak season but also year round.
Here are some of the top recommended ways to boost employee appreciation during and after tax season.
Call them out
Saying thanks out loud is always welcomed recognition, but preparing a personalized email to disseminate company-wide adds that extra touch while simultaneously giving the individual a space to subtly brag about their accomplishments to the team. Even better, if you have an internal process for group communication such as a weekly email roundup or even a group text chain, call out an outstanding team member each month for their contributions. If your business is on social media, you could also make a personal statement highlighting an employee’s work and post it to your story or feed. Simple call outs like these go a long way in showing your staff love and appreciation.
Since recognition is one of the biggest contributing factors to employee engagement, calling out your appreciation for the team connects them to the company as a whole. By publicizing individual or team achievements, you can lighten the busy season mood and refocus the group’s attention when everyone might be feeling a little spread thin.
Boost their morale
Every employee wants to know that their skillset is valuable to the team. Depending on your available time and resources, try a motivational approach where you dedicate a space, either in person or virtually, for teammates to support one another by publicly commending each other’s work for everyone to see. This could be a dedicated channel on your instant messaging platform or even a separate Facebook group for your employees to praise one another’s contributions and accomplishments, no matter how small or big. This is a low-risk action that involves very little moderation on your part.
Acknowledgement comes in many forms, but when employees openly support other employees, they are more likely to identify their own strengths within the workplace and understand where they add value to the team and company overall, which allows them to find meaning in the work itself. This recognition promotes employee growth and allows team members to hone their value and take opportunities to learn more and own what they are good at.
Build their strengths
We’ve touched on recognition as a form of appreciation but what about encouragement? As a leader, encouraging individual strengths should be a top priority goal for your employee engagement strategy. The idea is to build on existing employee strengths and push each member of your team towards specific goals, such as promoting professional development and supporting your employees continuing education with incentives. For example, you can provide a subscription to an industry-related publication or website that hosts educational webinars.
Tuition assistance is a huge incentive nowadays for professionals looking to expand their career goals. If you are able to subsidize the cost of exams or contribute to continuing education tuition, this is an incredibly generous way to demonstrate your willingness to invest in your employees. Encouraging employee strengths reinforces behaviors that contribute to better job performance, ultimately increasing engagement overall.
Show your appreciation
Studies show that employer recognition is the number one thing employees look for from their managers in order to inspire them — more than a promotion, more than a raise, and more than training. It is of utmost importance to show appreciation frequently and consistently so that your employees are reinvigorated to push towards that light at the end of the tunnel.
An easy way to say thanks is by taking the team to lunch and having a few laughs before calling that one client that still hasn’t gotten you their paperwork. Take time to discuss goals as a group, whether that’s what to complete for the day, the week, or how you can support each other through the end of tax season. Treating your employees is an easy way to give back and celebrate a job well done (or almost done at least).
Another way to show your appreciation is by giving time off. Everyone knows that after Tax Day, every accounting professional is due for a much needed vacation. Offer your employees an extra day of vacation to use as they see fit. Or give your employees a few options to vote for a team activity to plan after capping off busy season. You can also gift your employees additional incentives such as a certificate to a local restaurant or a free month’s subscription to a wellness app like Headspace—something they can indulge in.
If you think your firm is too small to boast recognition and drum up employee engagement, think again! Small acts of acknowledgement can go a lot further than you think. Make sure you show your staff some love year round, but especially during the heat of busy season. It’s important to let your employees know they are valued not just when you are up to your ears in returns, but also when business is slower. Employee recognition nurtures working relationships and informalizes lines of communication from leadership. However you decide to show your staff love, make sure your cycle of praise is self-sustaining in order to cultivate receptive, engaged employees.
Interested in more tips for engaging employees?
Check out The Secret to Employee Motivation.