Keeping Motivation High for the New Year
The new year is often a time when people choose to change something about themselves, and often the change they most desire is a new job. This can be great, as it creates a golden recruitment period in the early months of the year, but it can also have negative effects: employers might lose some of their best employees, and employees might find themselves itching for change even when it’s not really necessary or advisable.
This means that January is a good time for employers AND employees to work together to make sure that everyone’s getting everything they need out of the situation, though of course the practices you put into place in the first months of the year should continue throughout the other twelve!
Here are a few tips to increase employee engagement and satisfaction, and hopefully decrease employee turnover and the need to find and train new staff.
What can the company do?
Keep everyone in the loop
One effective way to keep employees motivated and feeling like they matter to the company is to hold regular meetings (if your company is relatively small) or send out regular communiqués to keep everyone in the company – no matter how large or small their role – abreast of what’s going on, both for the company and within the wider industry. Employees who are kept informed feel more involved in the success of the company as a whole.
Provide personal and professional development
If you’re not already, implement a scheme whereby your employees can improve themselves and their skills. Leadership mentoring to foster new leaders, technical courses to help close skill gaps: education and information are the currency of the future.
You can set up in-house training or subsidise external sessions/courses, but the important thing is that your employees feel that not only are you paying them, you’re investing in them.
Yes, this is a work place, and yes, these are your employees, but that doesn’t mean that fun is out of the question. Regular social events encourage social relationships and friendships, and work is always a better experience when we have friends in the office.
Remember to take care of your staff
It can be a little to easy, when things aren't going well, and sometimes even when they are, to forget the little people that make the cogs and wheels of your company turn. Without those people, your company would likely crumble, so remember to take care of your staff: give them what they need to flourish, and ask them what that is! Many companies, including Netflix, LinkedIn and Virgin, announced unlimited leave schemes last year, and others introduced paternity leave to match their maternity, or shared parental leave.
Sit down with your employees and find out what kind of benefits would really change their lives: most people only want an inch, and will be happy to give you a mile.
What can staff members do?
Ask for more responsibility – if you’re ready for it
One reason employees stagnate and feel underappreciated is that they don’t have enough responsibility: when they started the job five years ago the level of work was perfect, but now they’d like to be doing a bit more; they’d like a little more on their plate.
Bosses can’t know when you’re ready for more if you don’t tell them! And if you ask, and don’t get – then maybe it is time to move on after all.
Make sure you’re taking advantage of everything your company has to offer
Lots of companies offer training or to subsidise external training: management/leadership coaching, skills training and refresher courses, and many other personal and professional development options. If you’re not taking advantage of these benefits, then frankly you’re shooting yourself in the foot. If your company will stump up for you to learn a new skill, grab that bull by both horns and get improving!
It's also important to take advantage of whatever access your company provides to thought leaders and role-models in your field. Speaking to people in these positions can be not only inspiring and educational, but could give your career a bit of a boost too.
Feeling like you’re not going anywhere in your career can be really demoralising, but you’re unlikely to progress if you’re not putting the work in to make yourself worthy of that promotion or pay rise. At the end of the day, you are the only person responsible for your own career progression.
Take care of yourself
While working hard, it can be all too easy to forget to take care of yourself. This will lead to only one outcome: burnout.
Take the time off to which you’re entitled, stop replying to emails after a certain point in the evening and take at least the odd weekend off. Making sure to get a decent amount of exercise and eating well are both enormously important too – sitting at a desk all day can lead to a number of sedentary-lifestyle-related illnesses, and eating too much junk food or not enough fresh produce can play havoc with your body and mind.
Your work may be important, but if you push yourself too hard without consideration for the all-too-human package that delivers it, your work will suffer, and so will you.
Let’s work together, this year, to make sure that employers and employees are enjoying a truly mutually beneficial relationship.