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Banish January work blues! Employee engagement tips for managers

6 Jan 2016 - Blog

January doesn’t have to be blue!

Employee engagement tips for managers


How many of your team members woke up this morning to jobs they hate? After the lights and excitement of the festive break, many workers start the first January week back in the office feeling depressed. Some have fallen into roles that do not make the best of their skills or talents; others are doing jobs that they find unchallenging.

According to research, as many as 80% of employees dislike their jobs.

Everywhere we look TV adverts are selling extravagant holidays to entice people to book their next fix away from the workplace, or encouraging people to look for new jobs that promise to make their working lives brighter.

Of course, everyone needs holidays to look forward to; the exciting goal helps to reduce stress and burnout, but we can also reduce depression by making the workplace happier and more engaging. Here are some ways managers can recognise untapped talent and ease the return to work pain.

Take responsibility

Managers have a responsibility to support their teams to grow and develop. If you find your team members are not suited to their role or are underperforming, it’s your duty to find out why and to adjust roles to best suit the needs of your team.

It’s vital to talk to team members to find out what may be causing people to feel unhappy in their role. Encourage your team members to think about what they enjoy and what they dislike about their job and ask them to relay this back to you. Use this information to see if a team or job restructure might refresh their motivation.

Mix it up

What are the skills of your team members? Could you swap some of the tasks and assign them to different people in the team to ensure the best skills match? Who enjoys what most? Could you reassign some tasks to engage people in the projects that they find most interesting?

Graduates often have the opportunity to rotate their roles from one department to another but job rotation doesn’t have to be reserved for graduates. Consider the skills employees could learn or have the chance to show you given a different work situation. Moving employees into different roles can give them the opportunity to shine.

Find the sweet spot

Individual goals are shaped by personal values, interests, career aspirations and work life needs. The goals of the organisation may be different to individual goals but it is possible to find areas where these goals overlap. Expertly designed job descriptions, competency frameworks and reward structures that consider the needs of both can help people to feel their efforts contribute to the goals of the organisation and help them to feel more engaged in their work. The goal is to create maximum satisfaction for employees at the same time as gaining maximum contribution for the organisation.

Cut people some slack!

Last but by no means least, January is cold, dark and somewhat depressing, so give people time to ease back into the working weeks. Consider allowing your team members to finish some of their days early during those first few weeks and encourage people to do something fun or energetic with their time out. Be kind to people, we all take a while to feel energised again after the festivities!


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