By Aliya Vigor-Robertson, co-founder of JourneyHR
January can be a challenging time for staff.
The excitement of Christmas is over, the New Year has been rung in, and people are back to work. For some businesses it can be an especially critical time to keep their people on board and motivated. Departures can in some cases have an impact on a business, as they can have the potential to demotivate others in the team, put additional pressure on projects and damage relationships with clients.
Finding the cause
Before you begin thinking about how to keep your people engaged, you first need to know why they may be feeling demotivated. This can be hard to do though; while the business may be proud of its company culture, research from Sodexo Engage reveals that only 12 per cent feel that their job makes them happy. As a result, there’s a real likelihood that some of your people may be feeling less than positive about their role.
The reasons are different for every business, so to truly understand what’s at the heart of the problem, you need to listen to your people. Knowing how engaged your employees are will help find some of the pressure points that may be causing them to feel unhappy. Focus groups can help provide a good overview of the employee experience, with a representative from each department and level sharing their experience. Companies can also go one step further, measuring employee sentiment with surveys that provide an opportunity for staff to share their thoughts in a confidential space.
However, sometimes it’s not about work. People put a lot of pressure on themselves at the start of the year – whether it’s losing that Christmas gut or learning a new skill. Sometimes it can feel that the daily challenges of work make these New Year commitments even harder. Recognising the external demands that employees are facing is just as important as knowing how they are coping with work.
Keeping the energy up
The way in which managers and leaders behave has a huge impact on the employee experience, so they need to set the right tone for the business and lead by example. Behaviour is contagious so leaders need to remember to be role models for the business and demonstrate the behaviours that they want to see in the rest of the team.
There are a number of ways that employers can keep staff motivated and engaged. First and foremost, business leaders need to share their strategic vision with the team, so that everyone feels involved and understands what part they play in the company’s success. Showing people what’s in store for 2019 can get people excited about being part of the organisation and encourage collaboration to achieve the company’s goals.
And don’t forget the fundamentals as well. Making sure that managers get regular catch-ups in the diary is a must. Doing so will not only make it easier for them to set meaningful developmental goals for the New Year but can also help to identify anyone that may be feeling a bit disengaged. This way, managers can take action and work out if there is anything within their power to change things.
Even with all the effort in the world, however, some people will still decide to leave. It’s part of running a business and something that shouldn’t be seen as the end of the world. It can be tempting to do whatever is necessary to keep them, but that’s usually just a short-term solution. More often than not, those same people will just move on a few months later. Instead, leaders need to manage departures positively by learning from any feedback they receive and making practical changes that will help the business in future.
New Year the perfect opportunity to create a more positive work environment, set objectives for the team, and get your people feeling enthusiastic for the year ahead. Having these strategies in place will not only reduce the impact that New Year departures can have on the company but will also make sure you start the year on the best possible foot.