Don’t be caught out by your staff resigning in the New Year and then wondering why.

Over the years I have been working in the recruitment industry, I have seen all too many times an employer who is unprepared for resignation in the New Year and is often puzzled about the reasons why.

Being a happy employee leading up to this period will make or break the decision of, “Is it time for a new role?” At Harvest we often see the repercussions of this with many employees turning into candidates due to unnecessary stresses inflicted on them by their employer just before Christmas. There’s no need to be a Scrooge over this festive period, you can still maintain a happy and productive workforce that will be back and ready to go come the New Year without micromanagement.

The festive period can be madness for businesses, but the key to keeping the worst of the stresses at bay is to think ahead and be proactive. If you want your team to be happy and productive, it’s your responsibility to plan and smooth out potential roadblocks in advance.

How to encourage productivity of your staff this Christmas, and retain them for the New Year ahead.

1. Break down goals

‘Tis the season for feeling overwhelmed, so help your team fight calendar panic by putting in place systems that help turn big to-do items or challenging targets into more easily accomplished interim goals.

Establish rituals, like a weekly team meeting focusing on goals and positive reinforcement, or a quick daily rundown to serve as a real-time reminder that what your employees are doing is making an impact. Whatever way you go about it, just make sure that you don’t leave your team swamped in a sea of tasks and struggling to stay afloat without assistance.

2. Coordinate calendars

The festive season, is also the height of summer, which means long school holidays and a peak period for taking a long holiday to travel and people to visit family and take care of festive responsibilities. Openness about when people will need to be out of the office at the start can save a lot of headaches later on. Before festivities are in full swing, make it clear that you expect a certain number of team members to be present each day that your office is open. A shared calendar can be a great way to manage this, send an email and ask your staff to mark on a shared calendar the hours and days they’ll be gone during the Christmas break.

3. Don’t obsess about hours

Once you’ve communicated your expectations and got a plan in place to make sure staffing is there to meet them, back off and don’t be too obsessed about exact hours worked. Does it really matter if an employee comes in a little later one day or takes a long lunch if she’s getting her work done? If you’re not getting it done it’s going to be apparent, as long as they are getting it done it doesn’t matter what they are doing.

4. Relax! Enjoy the festivities, and come back in the New Year fresh and ready for the year ahead.

You’ll pay for cracking the whip (or simply allowing your dedicated team to work themselves silly) with resentment now and a burnt out staff in the New Year. So make sure you offer them plenty of opportunities to celebrate and unwind. This is the time of year to reflect on how hard your team has worked, and reward them for that.  Offer one and one reviews – if possible, or arrange them for early in the New Year. If you have some workaholics on your team, you may notice that they are getting a little overwrought. Encourage them to take breaks and organise an office-wide morning/ afternoon tea on Friday’s, or provide an afternoon off to make a dent in Christmas shopping.

When interviewing, I’m often faced with the same reason for leaving time and time again, and that is feeling undervalued and unappreciated – it doesn’t take a lot to turn this around.

Make sure when an employee is noticeably working hard for you it is recognized and rewarded.  A valued, long term employee is often a target for recruitment agencies if that person is content and working in a positive environment, they would be less likely to take notice of a direct approach via Linked In or over the phone. Just saying!



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