‘New Year New Career’ is a term well used by employers and recruiters alike in job ads during the lead up to, and aftermath of, the Christmas and New Year period. And there is a simple reason for this – it works. Many employees who have become disengaged in their workplace, roles, and careers during the year find themselves taking stock of what really matters and what they really want to achieve in the year ahead – and they do all of this whilst on their Christmas break.
At the end of the day, staff will always leave organisations, and in some cases there is nothing you can do to prevent this, but you can ensure you manage the process to minimise the impact it has on the rest of the team.
As they sit with family and friends, and start discussing New Year’s resolutions, and the achievements of the year just gone, it dawns on many people that they are unhappy in some aspect of their lives, and the quickest fix seems to be to get a new job! They return from their Christmas leave and one of three things will generally happen:
- They stay put, waiting for a ‘sign’, some motivation, inspiration or for something to change. These people generally remain disengaged from their responsibilities and do just what’s needed to get through the day flying under the radar.
- They promptly hand in their resignation on their first day back and commence job hunting.
- They start searching for that great new role, giving little if any focus and commitment to their current workplace until they inevitably resign.
None of these are ideal situations for a business of any size to face at the beginning of the calendar year, but what, if anything, can you do to avoid these times and minimise the impact they have on the operations and profitability of the organisation?
- Look for the signs of staff who have began to disengage from their roles or the organisation. These signs generally involve a shift in behaviour and some classics include taking more than the usual amount of sick leave; leaving work right on time every day, when they used to be the sort of person to work back whenever needed; not putting their hands up for those special projects they previously have been dead keen to be involved in; withdrawing from groups within the workplace; taking long lunches and in general being a different person in the office.
- Don’t wait until after the New Year to start re-engaging these employees. By having regular reviews and appraisal systems in place, you will more easily be able to identify and manage these employees. Also coordinate more casual and off-the-record catch ups with staff to encourage open communication.
- Keep employees engaged in the vision through regular team and company meetings – sharing with them goals and visions and allowing them the ability to provide ideas as to how they can contribute to the success and achievement of company goals.
- Reward staff who are doing a great job! It doesn’t have to be grand or expensive, nor does a big fuss have to be made – a small gesture goes a long way.
- Know what motivates your people – when you understand this you have the best possible chance of keeping them engaged and committed.
At the end of the day, staff will always leave organisations, and in some cases there is nothing you can do to prevent this, but you can ensure you manage the process to minimise the impact it has on the rest of the team. If you have open and honest communication channels with your staff, and they feel they can come to you with honest feedback, you will be in the drivers seat when these situations arise. If they come to you indicating they are seeking alternate work, and there is nothing more you can do to keep them should you want to, give them your blessings, help them to find something new and start he replacement process yourself internally straight away. The longer an unhappy employee stays with you, then more detriment it will have on your team and ultimately your business. Don’t try and delay the inevitable, nip it in the bud and move on.