The ‘Spirit of Christmas’ is well known to us all. But it was almost lost last Yuletide, when restrictions forced office Christmas parties to be cancelled. Yet, even with the reports of this year’s cancellations, there is still much to celebrate in bringing colleagues together and an opportunity to strengthen team spirit in the new year.
No employer was going to be cavalier in festive arrangements this year. In November, Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan encouraged companies to cancel their Christmas Parties, saying it would be ‘a responsible decision’. The result was to see a large number of parties being cancelled, with alternative plans arranged to mark the end of what has been a very testing year.
Last year, we identified a variety of ways in which the workplace holiday celebrations could be marked without gathering together in large numbers. But whether your company chose to stick with its original party plan or decided to err on the side of caution, the significance of the end-of-year celebration remains.
That significance is its opportunity to strengthen team motivation, building unity and encouraging higher engagement when the new year begins. So, how can you boost your employees’ enthusiasm for the start of 2022?
2021 – A Testing Time
The underlying concern is employee happiness. But there is no doubt that the events of 2021 have been testing. Research points to a number of factors that highlight the mood of employees in the UK, with 84% not feeling motivated at work, and 29% feeling actively unhappy.
There are clear benefits to having a high employee engagement rate. In one study by Gallup, companies with high engagement had 81% lower absenteeism, 18% higher productivity, and 23% higher profitability.
But while much of the malaise has been caused largely by the impact of the COVID19 pandemic, but there are ways to overcome it to provide a positive start to 2022.
- Recognition & Reward
Having our efforts recognised is important to all of us. But after a year that has seen sacrifice, change, compromise and a considerable amount of unwelcome stress, employees need to know that they are valued and their hard work noticed. In fact, according to some research, 61% of UK workers agree that receiving some king of end-of-year recognition makes them feel appreciated.
Unfortunately, in a recent survey carried out by Randstad UK revealed that only 32% of employees believed they have been rewarded for their efforts during these testing times. Providing rewards to staff for their commitment is a strong step towards ensuring high motivation as 2022 begins.
- Match Staff Emotional Commitment
In fact, what we are talking about here is employee engagement. But investing in employee engagement doesn’t necessarily make employees happy. In Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace, it was discovered that a small minority of employees surveyed (just 15%) are actually engaged in the workplace.
Matching that commitment is a key part of building engagement – and of course, retaining it. How can you do this? Well, through recognition, promoting transparency, engagement with staff and upholding your company’s core values, amongst some.
- Create Stretch Goals
Providing a firm focus on progress is a good way of enhancing employee engagement. For many employees, there is a fall-off in motivation and productivity when the way forward is no longer very clear, but via a set of Stretch Goals, they are able to see where their hard work is leading them.
It’s about encouraging them to improve themselves, and push through their own perceived limitations. Be aware, however, that the Stretch Goals need to be realistic, and adequate downtime is needed to ensure burnout is avoided.
- Provide Regular Feedback
Providing employee feedback can make a world of difference to engagement. According to research from Gallup, employees who receive daily feedback from their manager are three-times more likely to be engaged that those who receive feedback once a year.
The benefits include greater confidence, greater productivity and promotes loyalty. Perhaps more importantly, it allows you to keep up with changing employee needs.
- Encourage chit chat
Promote and build interpersonal relationships through workplace chatting. It’s an easy way to encourage collaboration and creativity. A survey by Unipos surveydiscovered that for 70% of remote office workers they missed face-to-face chats with colleagues more than anything else. Some 47% suggested the lack of chatter was responsible for a drop of 25% in productivity. So why not encourage chats during coffee breaks and after-work drinks, and endorse informal channels on which staff can share their interests.
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