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Jan 23, 2013  |  Vote 0    0

Besting the winter blahs

Tips to boost workplace morale during the colder, darker months

Etobicoke Guardian

The months following the holidays, with their joyful gatherings of family and friends, can be challenging for employees.

Coming off the holiday high combined with the heaviness that the winter months can bring, as a business owner, you may find your employees are returning to work not refreshed and re-energized, but suffering from a case of the winter blahs.

The New Year is the ideal time to set and meet new goals, strive for bigger and better things in your business, and you need your employees fully alert, motivated and on board as they are an integral part in making that happen.

Alfonsina Chang, a human resources professor and coordinator at the Centre for Human Resources, Seneca College, said the lack of motivation is normal for some after the holidays, but can also strike employees anytime of the year.

This is why it’s important to maintain a welcoming, family and fun type of work environment with a culture that’s dynamic and exciting regardless of the time of year.

“Employees should want to look forward to going to work, and it’s more likely they will if they know this is the type of working environment they’re going to,” she said.

Having good morale in the work place is essential so not only will your employees want to come to work, but enjoy working. As a result, you’ll garner better productivity.

“When people have low morale it means they’re not producing the best they can, people don’t want to come to work which will result in more absences and slipping in performance in general,” Chang said.

When this is occurring in your workplace, Chang said it’s easily detectable, and it could be some employees have expressed this to you or simply, you’ve been noticing the energy in the workplace is low.

Here are some tips from Chang on how to help boost the morale and motivation of your employees:

•Start the year a positive note:

Have a meeting with your staff and talk about all the accomplishments and goals you met in the past year, and outline the goals for the upcoming year. Providing a clear vision for the company will put employees at ease to know where they’re headed with the company and what to expect

• Always have a plan to celebrate (especially after the holidays):

During the holiday season, there are office parties and secret Santa’s, and that can be a tough act to follow. So make sure you have planned another event to gather and celebrate. It doesn’t have to be a calendar event, it can be something you and your team agree on, or make up a day where you get together and eat and socialize. It’s re-energizing and boosts morale

• Communication is key:

Ask your employees how they feel things have gone and what they are thinking and feeling about the upcoming year. Let them know that you’re listening to them and respect their opinions You want them to know they can communicate with you about their concerns, goals and ideas. Maybe they want to alter their responsibilities and have underutilized skills. Allowing them to communicate, and possibly be able to utilize their best skills, means they will feel challenged and excited about their job

• Switch it up:

Set up a seminar, webinar, outside courses and workshops, training and development opportunities. Show that you are invested in the long-term education and growth of your employees. It will benefit the company as well as letting your employees know you care about them as people, not just employees

• Recognition:

Find ways to recognize your employees for a job well done so they know they are appreciated. Recognition is crucial because employees need both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Bonuses and incentives are great, but a pat on the back also goes a long way. This makes them feel they are a valued and important member of the team

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