It’s no secret that January is one of the most loathed work months of the year. Many of us are feeling the pinch after spending too much at Christmas, struggling to get back into the 6AM alarm routine after two blissful weeks without one, and in many cases punishing ourselves with new year’s resolutions and “Dry January”. If you are a company Director, or a Manager of a team you may have spotted the sadness on people’s faces and in some instances might come to find your least engaged employees are even having their heads turned by career opportunities with your competitors! Employee engagement often doesn’t come naturally, so if you are looking to improve engagement levels (and overall atmosphere and productivity) then why not take a look at these 8 simple suggestions:

8 Tips to Boost Employee Engagement in January

Employee Engagement: Catch up with Senior Leaders

A new year is a great time to review processes and roll out fresh initiatives in line with your overall company strategies, so make sure that employee engagement is a part of this. It could be that you had a really solid employee engagement plan in place in 2018 that has fallen by the wayside a bit, or perhaps this is the first time you are formally looking at employee engagement in your organisation altogether. Either way January is a really good time to get started because you’ll be able to review any initiatives / data from 2018 engagement efforts, devise a plan to help track and improve in 2019 and ensure everyone knows what is expected of them and their individual teams. For example you may be asking your Senior Leaders to collect employee satisfaction surveys, or even to roll out a new incentive to help boost engagement within their department. These leaders will be instrumental for delivering new processes and tracking their success, so get them on board ASAP.

Employee Engagement: Encourage Feedback

Large scale employee engagement surveys are one of the most effective ways to track engagement levels and pin-point areas to improve, however January isn’t always the best time to deliver such a big piece of work. Instead why not look at ways that you can collect instant feedback, so you can have your finger on the pulse RIGHT NOW and identify areas where you could improve employee engagement. This could be something as simple as a “Feedback Letter Box” that you put in your office. Employees can anonymously leave feedback on anything from their working environment, employee benefits and culture to let you know what is working, and what you might want to consider changing. Remember, this isn’t to say you will bow to every single suggestion, but if 30% of your employees are complaining about something small like “what radio station you have on in the office” then you might spot an opportunity to make a positive difference to employee engagement in a really simple way!

Employee Engagement: Set New Goals

For the employees who are stuck in the post-Christmas January slump you will need to find a way to inject a big dose of motivation into their roles! Whether the employee in question works in sales or customer services, chances are they will have some long-term goals in mind. It could be that they want to hit a certain sales bonus, progress in their role or even gain award recognition for their work. Sit down with your employees on a one-to-one basis now and help identify what those goals are. If you can give your employees advice and a bit of a guide of how they can achieve these goals now, it’s going to help get them more engaged and motivated to really achieve them.

Employee Engagement: Recognise the "Mini-Wins"

A little encouragement goes a long way, but it’s important to look at ways to implement this on a more frequent basis, rather than just congratulating those obvious victories. For example, our sister company Searchability specialises in recruitment and when a consultant places a candidate they are literally celebrated walking up to the board with music, applause and whooping for their victory. It’s great to really celebrate these achievements but there is SO much more happening every day that the managers recognise through positive encouragement (and sometimes just a big thank you) that goes a long way to keeping the team engaged. Mini-wins can be anything from an employee going out of their way to help someone else, pulling new business for a colleague or staying late to meet a deadline. If you can reward these efforts with conscious appreciation it will go a long way to getting your employees more engaged.

Employee Engagement: Try and Flex a Little

Your employees are returning from the Christmas break where they weren’t bound by early alarm calls, rush hour traffic jams and instead had the freedom to spend time with loved ones. While it’s true that January has to be a bit of a reality check for your employees, you might find that they would be more engaged and happy in work if they could claw back a bit of this feeling of freedom with flexible working options. You could look at introducing flexible start times, meaning employees clock the same amount of hours a day but decide what time they start the day, which helps people manage the kids school run or make an early dart for their favourite gym class. Another option is to consider condensed working weeks, where you work 4 x 10 hour days instead of 5 x 8 hour days so that employees can enjoy an extra day off in the week. One of the most favoured options is the ability to work from home, whether it’s something that happens every week or just on the odd occasion where it helps your employee balance work and life. A little flexibility goes a long way to improving job satisfaction.

Support their Resolutions

If your employees are committing to some new year’s resolutions this January then why not find a way to support and encourage them to make it happen (even if it is just for this month). For example if you have a lot of employees trying to do “Dry January” then you might want to swerve your usual Friday beers in solidarity of the team, or if your employees have new fitness goals you could consider making a group target to help spur each other on! You could even come up with your own company resolution for January such as cutting your use of single-use plastic in the office or cycling a set distance as a team on an in-office fitness bike to encourage everyone to get involved.

Do Something Fun

Let’s face it, we’re on a Christmas come-down this month. We miss the decorations, we want to eat chocolate for breakfast and we’re sad that it’s no longer acceptable to have an afternoon tipple on a Tuesday. We need some fun back in our work lives! We’re not suggesting you should be partying the same way you did back in December but think of ways you could inject some fun into the office environment to help boost employee engagement. Perhaps it’s booking a fun team-building activity day or just treating your employees to a tasty breakfast on a Friday. If you can get a dose of fun back into the office it could help you boost employee engagement in a big way.

We’d love to hear how you are working to improve employee engagement in your organisation, tweet us at @JobHoller to let us know!

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