February 2019 – New Year, New Career?

‘New Year New Career’ is a term well used by employers and recruiters alike in job ads during the lead up to, and the 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 roles and careers during the year find themselves taking stock of what really matters over Christmas and what they really want to achieve in the year ahead.

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 Christmas 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 just fly 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 any business, but what can you do to avoid these and/or minimise the impact they have on the operations and profitability of your business?

Look for the signs of staff who have begun to disengage from their roles or the business. 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; 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 to achieve those 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.

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 driver’s 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 the replacement process straight away.

The longer an unhappy employee stays with you, the 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.

January is traditionally a quiet month all round. Lots of people are away, not least of all those that hold senior management roles, who will be the ones people need to speak to, in order to resign! Previous experience shows that come to the end of February, resignations are going to start hitting desks and job ads are going to noticeably increase!

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