Fighting The Post Holiday Blues: How To Keep Staff Motivated
Shaun Simmons, MD of Cordant Technical Recruitment, shares his tips for keeping staff motivated at the end of the summer holidays
As we reach the middle of August we have to start to prepare for the end of the summer. Children are going back to school in a few weeks, our summer holidays in the sun are coming to an end and soon the world is going to start to transform from green to amber. Part and parcel of this time of year is fighting off the holiday blues. Despite the joy a two week break from our jobs can bring, once it is over we have to face returning to work.
This time of year is also a crucial one for business owners and team leaders. Ensuring employees don’t suffer from the holiday blues is a crucial part of ensuring the final quarter of the year is a successful one. Through my years at Cordant Technical Recruitment I have learnt and implemented four very simple, yet effective ways of ensuring my staff remain motivated through the end of summer and into autumn.
Though it may vary from company to company I have found these four tips a strong base to build strategies which will improve team motivation after the summer holiday period.
Giving your staff an incentive to do better at their job other than their monthly pay cheque is a fantastic way of motivating. Take on board the spirit of the Olympics and bring out your staff’s competitive side. Offering prizes and awards for in-house competitions is a great way to encourage your staff to stay motivated.
Involving every one of your employees in these schemes is important. Running competitions quarterly rather than yearly means you can include new starters, contractors and temporary staff in competitions.
Focusing on the best quarterly performer or best newcomer ensures everyone can be engaged in the competition regardless of how long they have been at your company. It also adds as a friendly reminder to the long-standing employees, that they should continue to do their best so newer team members don’t out perform them.
One of the best forms of competitions is against putting us up against ourselves. By asking staff to beat or match their targets from the previous quarter is a great way to drive performance and boost motivation. I would also advise choosing a prize that appeals to everyone. Letting the winner choose a prize within a budget rather than giving them something predetermined means the reward appeals to them personally and they are more likely to try harder to win it.
2. Keep Calm
One of the most daunting prospects of returning to work after a lovely relaxing holiday is the number of emails in our inboxes and the seemingly endless to do list. One of the best ways to avoid this negative mind-set is by introducing the option for staff to share their commission with another team member who is covering for them whilst they are away. It means work won’t be covered half-heartedly and staff won’t return to a backlog of emails and outstanding actions.
3. Make it fun
Whoever said work had to be boring? If your staff enjoy their work they are more likely to perform better. Fundraising is a fantastic way of keeping spirits high in the office. Working as a team to raise money for a charity not only improves team morale but also increases an employees dedication to a company based on their ethical values.
Sporting events such as the Olympic games or the football, even if someone isn’t particularly sporty, can be used to instigate some fun into the workplace by holding a sweepstake. Allowing staff to watch major sporting events that take place during the working day stops staff resenting being at work and feeling as though they are missing out on something potentially special.
Similarly you can get into the spirit of programmes such as the Great British Bake Off by encouraging staff to bake and bring their own and vote on a winner. The overall aim is to do something completely unrelated to work that makes the staff involved feel more valued by the company.
4. Training is key
There is never a better time to encourage your staff to take part in a training course to develop their skills than over the summer break. Maintaining training opportunities can not only break up their daily routine but it makes employees eager to go into Autumn putting their new skills into practice. Staff who are consistently adding to their skills and knowledge all year round will be more engaged and happy whatever the season.
So whether your staff are about to go on holiday or are just returning after their break it is important that they have constant motivation to continue to work to the best of their ability.
Shaun Simmons is managing director of Cordant Technical Recruitment