The one New Year’s resolution business leaders should make, according to this famed former CEO

Broede Carmody /


Business leaders should make improving employee engagement their number one priority during the New Year, according to one management expert.

Instead of promising to hit the gym more regularly, Jack Welch, executive chairman of the Jack Welch Management Institute and retired chief executive of General Electric, writes on LinkedIn that managers should instead focus on celebrating work milestones and giving their staff regular, constructive feedback.

This view is backed up by research by Deloitte, which found low employee engagement could be costing mid-sized companies a total of $10 million a year.

Read more: Five ways to improve team engagement

“Going through this exercise, not just in January but monthly for the first quarter and then quarterly, should really help get everybody on the same page,” says Welch.

“Sometime during the year, you’ll do whatever blind survey you do to measure employee engagement. I always thought, and still do believe, that the best question in an employee engagement survey was: Do you experience in your ‘everyday work’ the message that management is preaching in meetings, speeches, and annual reports?”

“That question gets at the issue of whether management is walking the talk or just blowing smoke.”

Welch says people are all too eager to create New Year’s resolutions in their personal lives, so it makes sense to create goals in the world of business.

“Resolutions in business may seem corny, but what’s corny about getting your people all fired up about their work lives and the rewards that come with success?” he says. 

Broede Carmody

Broede Carmody is a former senior SmartCompany reporter. Before this, he was a co-editor of RMIT University's student magazine Catalyst.