Today, many businesses are presented with a rare opportunity: As a result of the recent tax cuts, nearly one million workers have received bonuses, thousands have realized pay raises and many others are receiving much needed training.

But why stop there? Ask any CEO to tell you the key to a successful organization and the response will more than likely be, “Our people.” But companies that put their people first are few and far between. According to a Gallup report, 67.5 percent of workers are disengaged with their work, co-workers and customers; according to a 2016 Spherion report, only 25 percent of workers describe their workplaces as “happy.” If these results continue, the goodwill gained from the 2018 tax cuts will vanish.

The results from various “Best Companies to Work For” surveys are notable. According to Glassdoor, companies rated highly by their team members outpaced the S&P 500 by 122 percent. Conversely, those organizations rated poorly by workers underperformed the S&P 500 by 29.5 percent.

Here is how to start to create a “Year of the Team Member” culture at your organization. First, the must-haves:

  • Baseline Satisfaction: Employees often complain about being underpaid and overworked. If your team members are not receiving a competitive wage and benefits package, they will never become fully engaged in their job.
  • Organization’s Story: Southwest Airlines is known for being a fun and friendly place to work. Disney is known for being the happiest place on earth. A strong story clarifies the organization’s culture for the team members as well as the customers.
  • Values: Roy Disney, Walt’s big brother, once said, “When values are clear, decisions are easy.” When values are internalized throughout the organization and truly used as a constitution in all decision-making, they serve to create a culture of trust and engagement.
  • Codes of Conduct: Develop codes of conduct that align team members’ actions with the organization’s story and values.
  • Feedback/Development Planning: Over 50 percent of U.S. workers do not receive any job-related feedback for more than 30 days at a time, according to Gallup. At the very least, every manager should have a weekly five-minute, stand-up meeting with each employee to discuss his or her development goals.

It takes a conscious effort to create a workplace where every team member is engaged and customer-focused. Begin by implementing these five must-haves, and experience the benefits: improved financial performance; lower turnover; and an exciting, fun place to work. Next month, I will share my list of next steps to continue creating the “Year of the Team Member” culture.