There's always a sense of starting new on January 1st. Employees are going to naturally want to be better in 2017, so now is the time to take advantage of that and make sure you're doing everything to motivate them. Here's a Checklist to follow.

Annual Appraisal

Make sure this is done. Employees like to know how they performed last year so they can act accordingly for next year. Knowing what they did well and where they need to improve is critical for motivation.

Annual Goals

Don't procrastinate this another day if you haven't done it already. You need

  • Company-wide goals
  • Department goals
  • Individual goals

Every employee needs to know all three of these, and how her individual goals fit into the company and department goals. Knowing what you are working towards is very motivating.

Market Rate Salaries

If you do annual increases at year end, that's awesome, as you've already looked at everyone's salary and adjusted accordingly. If that's not how your company operates, you still need to do a check to make sure that everyone is paid a market rate. While many companies give a certain percentage across the board, divided by performance, remember that some jobs increase in value faster than others. Make sure everyone is paid what they deserve.

Ask What Your Employees Need

You can do this as part of the appraisal process, or separately, but it's a critical step. Ask every employee the following question: "What would make it easier for you to succeed at your job?" Then listen to the answers. Some things are actually going to be easy to provide. Others won't, or will be completely impractical, but pay attention and try your best to give them what they need.

Ask What Your Employees Want

Wants and needs are two very different things. Your employees may come up with things regarding flexibility, benefits, or simply "please back off and let me do my job." Again, take the time to listen to what they have to say. If your company is large, this is often best accomplished by a survey of the entire company. A caution, though: Don't ask this question if you have no intention of fulfilling any of these wants.Employees understand that you can't provide all wants, but if you provide none, they will be de-motivated.

Do an Office Check

Is your work space what it should be? This doesn't mean you need to do costly redecorating, but you do need to take a look at how things are set up. Is this the best way for your business? Is there a different configuration that would be better.

Say Thank You

This is actually the most important item on the checklist. Make sure you thank your employees for their hard work. Be sincere. Money is good--bonuses are great--but the thanks is even more important for motivating employees. While direct managers should thank each person individually, higher level managers directly thank as many people as possible--by name.

Go down this checklist and make sure everything is ready to make 2017 a great year.