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As we settle into the new year, all the Christmas decorations boxed up for another year, and the daily routine back to normal after the madness of the festive period – it can be easy to feel those January blues creeping in. This can transcend into how people feel about going back to work after Christmas – which is why it is key for management teams to recognise the important steps that should be taken to motivate their employees at this time of year.
A recent survey by Investors in People states that 44% of employees feel more motivated when welcomed back by their management team after the break. This type of interaction between management and employees is not only a key driver for motivation and employee engagement but also ensures that the best employee retention rate is achieved.
Whilst salary can also be an important factor in motivating staff, and it’s advisable to continuously benchmark the salaries of competitors in your industry, employee engagement and motivation can arise from many other aspects of the role. If you want to get the best out of your employees in January and ensure they stay motivated, here are 5 points to consider:
Motivating your staff is hugely important to the success of the wider business. Keeping employees updated with plans for the year ahead keeps them bought into the company’s wider vision and helps them to feel included. This could be carried out through an AGM at the beginning of the year, or if this isn’t feasible then communicating this through a staff newsletter or through an intranet system is a good way to ensure all staff are kept up to date with future plans. Transparency and open communication are key to maintaining a level of trust between employees and management, as well as ensuring motivation is high for the year ahead.
This could also extend into one-to-one meetings between managers and employees to set goals for the year ahead, so they can see how their role fits into the business’ wider plans, and ultimately how they can contribute to these.
In order for your employees to feel involved in the wider business, it is a good idea to get their feedback through polls and surveys, showing them that they are a valued member of the team. To make this a positive experience, ensure the survey is not too long, and importantly communicate the key findings after the survey has been carried out, along with actions that will be implemented as a result. Demonstrating to your employees what the business is doing to support them is key and making changes where necessary, based on the feedback, will ensure they feel their views are being heard. Company benefits, such as flexible working and the opportunity for career progression, are valued aspects of an employee’s role. Therefore, meeting these expectations, if feasible, is important to show your employees their needs are being taken into consideration. Managing the expectations of your employees from the outset is important, whilst still gearing them up for an exciting year ahead.
Part of making your employees feel valued is giving them the positive recognition and rewards that they deserve. The lead up to Christmas sees companies splashing out on Christmas parties, and festive celebrations, but there tends to be little engagement after the festive period. To ensure employees are gaining the credit they deserve, awards ceremony could be held to reward people who have had great success in the previous year, or even a small gesture from a line manager to employees who have gone above and beyond. Whether this can be done in person or remotely, it's a great idea to facilate this at the start of the year to not only recognise efforts from the previous year but to share plans for the year ahead and involve all employees in this to motivate at the start of the year.
There are multiple factors that can affect employee health and wellbeing at the start of the year – the weather, the dreaded back-to-work routine, possibly lengthy commutes to name a few or challenges with remote working and lack of social interaction. That’s why incorporating some form of health and wellbeing initiatives at the start of the year is a great way of motivating your employees and determining if they need further support. Having a focus on exercise and nutrition with a wellbeing week, for example, could be a great way to start the year off right. Whether you focus on short-term initiatives or plan to implement a long-term strategy, it’s a good way to demonstrate to your employees that they really matter, which in turn will contribute to their motivation to strive for success.
Introducing inspirational talks by industry thought-leaders throughout the beginning of the year can help your business to start the year off on a high, as well as helping employees visualise how their role can support the company to achieve its goals in the year ahead. Similarly, asking successful employees within your company to discuss their best practice and tips for success is also a useful technique to motivate your staff.
The management team should also consider how they motivate their employees themselves. This could involve them speaking passionately about the organisation, the significance of each of the employees’ roles and what this means for the wider business/purpose.
Although it is incredibly important to motivate your employees through the dreaded January blues, you should continue to engage with your employees through the rest of the year as well. There are many different initiatives that your business can take in order to keep employee engagement and retention high throughout the year. If this is not currently part of your wider talent strategy, it might be time to start thinking about how to incorporate the above ideas into your business.