How to motivate employees after the holidays

Content provided by a guest contributor.

BusinessTeam-freedigitalphotos.jpgJanuary is not known as “Janu-worry” for nothing.

Regrets over the reckless indulgences of the festive season, the overspending on gifts and parties, the prospect of having to cut corners … these are all factors that weigh heavily on the mind.

Of course January also is the time when most people return to work, which does not exactly fill them with joy either. In fact, there is a general feeling that having to go to the office merely compounds the malaise.

For business owners, it is crucial that this negativity is addressed immediately. Hitting the ground running is an integral part of any successful business strategy, so it is important that employees are properly motivated at the beginning of a new year to meet targets and goals.

By no means is it easy to do so. The fact is, business owners themselves will be feeling a little flat, lamenting that the end-of-year break will have come and gone so quickly. Be that as it may, they need to lead by example and prove to staff that with the right attitude and processes in place, the negative can quickly become positive.

There are a few guidelines that business owners might want to consider in terms of motivating staff at the start of the new working year.

Eliminate procrastination

We are all familiar with the scenario: employees scattered haphazardly around the office, regaling one another with tales of their holiday exploits, as everyone does their level best to avoid logging on to their computers.

Procrastination can wreak havoc with even the best laid plans. While it is understandable that people want to catch up with colleagues, the work still has to be done.

One of the reasons people engage in such behaviour is that they want to put off tackling the mountains of work that invariably awaits them. From a motivational point of view, it is thus better to break down tasks into more manageable units, thereby removing the perceived pressures that come with heavy workloads.

Employees will certainly be appreciative of the effort.

Procrastination can also be eliminated by introducing incentives to finish tasks faster. For example, a business owner might wish to give those staff who have completed their work the rest of the day off.    

Set long-terms goals

Although it is important not to burden employees with heavy workloads at the start of the year, they also need to be made aware that they are integral to the success of the company.

By being transparent about what the “end game” is for the coming year, they will understand and appreciate what it is they have to do in order to ensure that goal is met. If the business does well, they do well in terms of bonuses and pay raises. There are few better motivators than that.

Improve communication

People become bogged down with emails and written correspondence, to the extent that they no longer know what should be prioritised.

By establishing open and precise communication channels, the need for wordy written communiques is greatly diminished. Employees will not only appreciate the time that can be saved, but will enjoy the fact that they are engaging face-to-face with decision-makers.

Being allowed to exchange ideas openly and freely immediately makes them feel more needed.


This article is provided by Kwelanga Training, which provides coaching and mentoring to small business owners. 

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