As year-end approaches, it’s common for employees to be distracted and less responsive than usual, mentally checking out as they gear up for the holidays, take time off or experience fatigue from the past year. How do you manage this seasonal slowdown and ensure that a drop in employee engagement doesn’t negatively impact work quality, productivity and brand impressions?
Here are some ways to refocus and reenergize your team for the new year.
1. Rally around common goals.
Understanding why something is important and how you impact it directly is a great motivator. When teams show signs of complacency or loss of enthusiasm, take steps to remind them about how their contributions add value to the bigger picture at the company.
Review 2022 goals and highlight what’s on the horizon, like business development plans, client projects, prospects and internal initiatives to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding objectives and timeframes — and their roles in the process. Be clear in communications and provide opportunities for questions and dialogue so people feel heard. Celebrate team and individual accomplishments and highlight how they had a positive impact on the company.
Showing employees how their efforts and achievements support company growth and success will generate positive engagement and motivate them to keep going.
2. Be flexible and supportive.
Sometimes people need a little time and space to recharge their batteries. Before introducing new projects/initiatives, consider how timely they really are or if they can wait until January instead.
That said, year-end can be a company’s busiest time of year. When you’re limited in adjusting workloads or approving vacations, look for alternative ways to be supportive. For in-office teams, offer a day to work remotely to save on commuting or allow for flex scheduling. Also, as the holiday season can be personally difficult for many people, show patience and remind staff of wellness resources (like an Employee Assistance Program). Year-end demands don’t excuse a lack of empathy; a little understanding can go a long way in conveying to employees that they are valued.
3. Make work fun again!
It’s a great time of year to incorporate some fun team building activities. In person, you have an opportunity to reintroduce people who’ve been apart for a while and introduce others who were hired remotely and may be coming onsite for the first time. Hosting virtual team events and accommodating hybrid teams is important too so that all staff feel included and a part of the organization. Keep things lighter so people can still connect as a team, but in a more informal way.
Look to build excitement for 2022! Have teams come up with one or two creative metrics and rewards for goal achievement. In doing so, endeavor to convey the company’s culture and values to remind employees why your organization is a great place to work and be a part of.
Even if people are a bit disengaged, making a few small efforts to show people that they are valued and allow for a mental recharge will set the stage for them to engage fully and focused in the new year.