As we approach the end of the year and head into the holiday season, it can become difficult for employees to remain motivated and productive at work, especially when working over the December period. Lyndy van den Barselaar, MD of Manpower South Africa looks at how management and HR departments can assist in ensuring that staff members stay motivated and productive over the festive season.
“Management often doesn’t realise the impact it can have on keeping its staff motivated,” she explains. “After a long year of working hard, employees will often need the extra support from their team leaders or from senior management to assist them in staying focused and motivated during the last few months of the year.”
Van den Barselaar points out that, despite being important, this doesn’t have to be complicated.
“Assisting employees to stay focused can be as simple as hosting a December planning session, where goals are set out for each department or employee, giving them a clear vision of what needs to be achieved before the business closes, or before they take their break.” She explains that not only does this assist employees in remaining productive towards the end of the year, but also allows them to start the New Year off with renewed focus, knowing that all of 2015’s goals were achieved and tasks completed.
“Generating certainty about what will be expected once an employee returns from the holidays, ensures that everyone hits the ground running in the New Year, which is good news for business performance,” says van den Barselaar.
Another tip to assist with staff and team motivation is to plan a company or department year-end event. “Allowing staff to gather in an informal environment encourages bonding and boosts morale,” she says. “Reflecting on and sharing accomplishments at such an event is also a positive way to show appreciation to your team members or staff, which will assist in keeping them motivated and happy within the organisaton. An organisation’s most important asset is its people, and it is times like the holiday season when showing appreciation becomes increasingly important for boosting motivation and morale.”
Van den Barselaar explains that these achievements can be formal and based on statistics and figures, such as ‘best sales person’, ‘highest achiever’ or the ‘staff member who brought in the most new business within the year’; or can be fun and informal, such as ‘most outgoing personality’, ‘best smile’ or ‘office positivity booster’, for example.
It is important to remember to encourage employees to take a break to rest and refuel before the New Year starts. “If your company does not close, work together with your staff to draw up a schedule for the last few weeks of the year that allows each member to take some time off, while also ensuring the presence of enough staff for the successful day-to-day running of the organisation.
Finally, van den Barselaar notes the importance of setting an example. “As a team leader or manager, it is always important to set a positive example for your staff. However, at times when team morale or motivation is low, this role becomes even more important, as your team looks to you for guidance. A positive attitude is contagious amongst team members and will go a long way in assisting your staff to remain motivated and focused.”