HR Managers' New Year's Resolutions for Employee Satisfaction

March 08, 2019

Employees gather to discuss new wellness options
Kip Soteres

The New Year offers opportunities to improve employee satisfaction through an enhanced work experience. People traditionally make New Year's resolutions, why not do something similar for your HR manager's 2019 plan?

The suggestions below offer ideas on how to re-engage your workforce or build on the momentum you established in 2018.

Ask, Listen, Hear, Confirm

Before you go too far along your journey, make sure to use existing forums to ask employees what they want. Their ideas will often overlap your own. Make those areas priorities so that you can visibly connect their input to your activity.

Ask questions that are focused on areas where you can make a difference. Questions like, "What could the company do to most improve your satisfaction?" will get answers like "More pay," or "More time off." A better question might be, "Which program or service would best support your positive work experience at the company?" A short list of examples can encourage responses that are similar to options that you are prepared and able to implement.

Consider Work Experience From Multiple Perspectives

As you talk with employees, help them shift gears to think about the different areas that affect their overall satisfaction. An excellent HR manager's 2019 plan will account for their workspaces, their sense of connectedness and their physical and mental well-being.

Encourage feedback and input from employees across those different dimensions, which can lead to affordable options ranging from ergonomic furniture and office exercise equipment to new social activities and nutritional support programs.

Prioritize, Implement, Assess

Too many programs at once will overwhelm employees, even when the offerings are well-designed and relevant. A good HR manager's 2019 plan will schedule programs in ways that space out offerings across the year. Look especially for times that are traditionally slow-paced. Create focused, sustained communications to promote the new offerings, measure uptake and actively solicit feedback on what's working and what could be improved.

Messaging is important for acceptance; reinforce that changes are in response to employee feedback. Don't assume that employees know it. Enlist the front-line managers' support for your new offerings. Managers should understand the program and metrics for its success in simple language that they can share with their teams.

Themes for the Year

Some organizations have success focusing on themes that help employees associate multiple efforts with bigger desired outcomes. Winter brings bad weather and is often a good time to focus on indoor activities, whether that be diversity network groups, healthy recipe swaps or industry education events.

Other winter options could include a focus on employee workspaces. If employee feedback demonstrates interest, ergonomic assessments can improve employee satisfaction and productivity simultaneously. Something as simple as improved lighting, a standing desk or rearranging the location of a phone can reduce physical and mental stresses. Over time, those factors can add up to lower productivity including worker injuries and associated costs.

As winter turns to spring, it is natural to start promoting outdoor activities or other themes as appropriate to your industry and workforce demographics.

Start Fast, Stay Flexible

Make sure you have a program or two that you can launch quickly. Avoid long lag times between getting employee feedback and some visible implementation of their ideas. As you introduce new programs, be willing to prune those that don't catch on and replace them with new offerings. Doing so will give employees a sense of dynamism and will also convey that they must make use of company programs to sustain them. If something is discontinued and employees can effectively petition to bring it back, you can leverage that into one more example of how you are listening and responding to good feedback.

Taken together, these suggestions will help you develop a strong plan to support employee satisfaction in 2019 and beyond.

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