Will your name come up at your employees’ Thanksgiving this year?

Hey, boss. If your employees talk about you at their Thanksgiving table, will they express gratitude for your leadership, your generosity… your care of them?

Unsurprisingly, studies show employees are particularly hungry for connection and meaning at work given our tumultuous 2020. Nurturing these can bring great ROI at a time when costly turnover is less palatable than ever.

Here are a few practical tips to ensure they’re toasting to your good health by New Year’s Eve. 

Connect personally

McKinsey points out that “Changes are hitting your people in widely diverging (and sometimes unexpected) ways. Some are struggling, and some are thriving. Use a combination of science, technology, data, and analytics to segment your employees like you would your customers and tailor interventions to support them in personalized and meaningful ways.” 

Since most Georgia businesses are SMBs, it’s likely you can individually personalize care rather than rely on technology. Touch base personally to ensure each employee feels recognized and supported in the ways they value most. Provide flexibility as one manages kids’ online schooling. Renew another’s professional development and coaching. By reducing their frictions and helping them tackle barriers, you will likely see invaluable productivity and retention.

Now is an ideal time to celebrate your employees with personal recognition. Make surprise appearances at team Zoom calls to say thanks. Be specific in praising how employee efforts helped pivot the company through pandemic shifts this year. Share pride in their unprecedented innovation and tenacity. 

Overpower uncertainty with vision

It’s the perfect opportunity for you to define your vision of success for employees to savor over the year-end holidays. Set a clear picture of the – certainly uncertain — future. In his Organizational Leadership blog, CEO Andy Stanley explains, “People crave certainty, but as a leader, certainty is beyond your control. The next best thing is clarity.”

A common theme to the myriad learned articles discussing “leading through uncertainty”is the value of expressing decisiveness and vision while acknowledging the unknowns. Be clear on immediate next steps and long-term goals … and acknowledge that the middle might be an exciting path of continued adaptions and innovation the company is uniquely qualified to conquer together. 

Clarify their role in a greater purpose

June goBeyondProfit research found that 75% of Georgia employees want to feel a sense of purpose in their work. Fortune CEO Alan Murray reports Lynn Good, CEO of Duke Power saying, “(You need to) take the purpose and demonstrate it with real proof points…We back up our climate strategy with investments to prove we are making progress.”

Also on purpose, Brad Jacobs, CEO of XPO Logistics told Murray, “The pandemic actually brought a purpose to our drivers, warehouse workers, people on a cross dock…they suddenly had a big purpose in getting peoples’ toilet paper delivered, getting peoples’ Purell delivered, getting medicines delivered. That was the prime thing that lead to our employee satisfaction figures going up 5%.”

Fire them up with passion for the importance of delivering meaningful value to customers and the world

And don’t shy away from how that will lead to beneficial profits and the continued spread of your company’s positive impacts on the community and planet.