On the 1st January 2017, writes Beth Leslie, two-thirds of your staff are going to make personal pledges to better themselves in the coming year. They should be applauded: all good businesses know the importance of consistently setting (and hitting!) goals.

When it comes to formalising company plans for the New Year, revenue and profit targets are the norm. But including these four morale-boosting measures will ensure a more productive, less disrupted, happier and healthier business year.

  1. Implement Flexible Working
It consistently and repeatedly tops every poll of employee-want lists, yet only half of companies offer it. This is a mistake. Employees don’t clamour for flexitime because they want to work less. They clamour for flexitime because they already live in a world where work consistently spills over into their personal life, and they want to claw back some balance.

More than half of all workers check their work messages over the weekend, after work and when home sick. More than 26 million hours of potential productivity are lost in London alone due to public transport congestion. Employers encourage the former and understand the inevitability of the latter. Considering this, why not give your employees the right to manage their time in the most effective, and productive way possible?

  1. Improve Employee Engagement
Disengaged employees are both exceedingly common and exceedingly damaging. According to a survey by Gallup on the American workplace, 70% of employees are disengaged, costing the US around $500 billion in lost productivity.

To ensure your own workforce isn’t laden down by such dead weights, put time and effort into making staff feel valued. Ask for feedback on company policies. Give staff regular appraisals and mentoring. Be transparent and fair.

All offices are rocked by staff issues from time to time, but too many managers respond by attempting to bury it from sight. Staff talk. Moreover, thanks to Twitter and employer review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, they talk to the world. Being upfront about negative situations stops rumours flying and morale swooning.

  1. Actively Encourage Diversity
If variety is the spice of life, diversity is the spice of the workplace. Combining different personalities, ideas, and perspectives boosts creativity and encourages novel approaches to problem solving. But a shocking 41% of employers claim they are “too busy” to focus on improving diversity in the workplace.

With a plethora of research indicating that women and ethnic minorities are less likely to be interviewed, hired and promoted, employers who preside over a homogenous workforce should be actively investigating the impartibility of their hiring process. The moral impetus for change is unquestionable, but diverse teams offer economic boons too. Gender diverse teams earn 41% more revenue. Racially diverse teams outperform non-diverse ones by 35%. Moreover, without visible role models and overt support, the chance that talented female and ethnic minority workers will get disheartened and quit is high.

  1. Show Appreciation for Hard Work
When polled, 65% of employees say they don’t feel appreciated at work. That’s a problem for employers, because when staff don’t feel valued their morale and productivity hits the floor. Luckily, showing appreciation is easy, even for companies who don’t have the revenue for flashy bonuses and promotions. Generally, simply thanking an employee (preferably in public) does the job. Small tokens – a bottle of wine, a gift card, an afternoon off – for an employee that has gone above and beyond is also appropriate, and has the additional benefit of motivating other members of staff to follow suit.

Of course, appreciation should be genuine. There is no point praising an employee for bad or mediocre work, as they’ll just continue in these habits. If you find yourself with a staff member who genuinely does nothing praiseworthy then you should seriously consider why they’re working for your organisation at all.

By Beth Leslie, graduate jobs writer for Inspiring Interns”.