Top Tips from Personnel Surveys

8 Ways to Help With Your Employees' Finances

8 Ways to Ensure Your Employees Maintain a Work/Life Balance

8 Ways to Maintain Health and Well-Being in the Workplace

8 Ways to Beat the January Blues

8 Ways to Approach the New Year

8 Ways to End 2009 on a High

8 Ways to Engage Your Employees

8 Ways to Create a Positive Atmosphere in the Workplace

8 Ways to Improve Motivation during the Winter Months


8 Ways to Help With Your Employees' Finances

Financial problems are one of the main contributors to stress within our society. High stress levels within an organisation can lead to less productivity and increased absence rates. It is essential that employees are given some assistance with financial issues:


1. Send out a weekly email with deals at local shops and superstores

Superstores are constantly running different deals, but remembering which store is offering which deal can be difficult. Assign the task to a member of the HR team each week to research deals for that week at different stores and email this to your employees. Similarly, local shops may be happy to provide a small discount for your employees.


2. Reassure of job security

When money issues are weighing on people’s mind, the last thing they need to be worried about is losing their income. Reassure employees, as much as is possible, that their role is safe. Communicate with them throughout the year as to how the organisation is coping and the strategies in place to ensure it won’t be affected. Constant communication will reassure your employees as well as increasing their organisational commitment and engagement.


3. Provide debt counselling

Debt can quickly spiral out of control and with it brings high tension and stress levels. Employ an external debt counsellor to be available to your employees. Make your employees aware that they can request to see this counsellor and that the conversations held will be completely anonymous. The longer debt is ignored, the larger the debt becomes, help your employees deal with the situation before this happens.


4. Run money saving schemes

As an added benefit for your employees, consider running saving schemes. This includes withholding a proportion of your employees’ salary and offering a percentage interest on this. Agree with your employees when this money will be released, e.g. Christmas, Birthdays, and Holidays. This will relax the financial burden on employees, during expensive periods.


5. Have benefits with local banks

Speak to banks in your area about what benefits they can give to your employees, such as high interest savings, low interest mortgages, etc.


6. Set up a company loan scheme

Many people find themselves in serious debt due to large amounts of interest paid on loans or credit cards. Consider offering a loan facility within the organisation whereby you loan employees’ money at an arrange interest rate with the bank.


7. Run ‘money matters’ training courses

As well as dealing with individual cases, employees can be educated in groups as to the best methods of personal financial management; ‘out of the box’ money saving ideas will give your employees renewed confidence and security. Your employees will come away inspired to work consistently towards financial stability.


8. Have 1:1 meetings with a financial advisor

Organising a meeting for each employee with a financial advisor will seek out individual problems. The financial advisor can deal with each case individually and advise your employees on their best options for their situation.


Assisting your employees with personal monetary issues will work in two ways for you the employer:

(A) it will show your commitment to assisting your employees on personal as well as organisational issues,

(B) It will reduce levels of tension and stress within the organisation.


8 Ways to Ensure Your Employees Maintain a Work/Life Balance

“I arise in the morning torn between the desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day”, E.B. White.

We all face the personal predicament of how to maintain a full and interesting life while also raising funds to achieve this. Over-working quickly leads to high stress levels and burnout, resulting in lower productivity and performance despite the long hours worked. It is, therefore, important that employers promote a work/life balance for all employees, for both the employees’ sake and that of the organisation.

So, how can employers promote a work/life balance?


1. Stick to contractual hours

When the requirement for a new employee becomes apparent, contractual hours are set to ensure the work is completed but that a balance is maintained. When an employee works over and above these hours, particularly in the case where no overtime is paid, this contract is breached. The wind down at home or in a social setting away from the workplace is as important for productivity as time in the workplace. Therefore, ensure that all employees are working only their contractual hours and that if the work is not completed within this time that a recruitment campaign is held or a temporary employee is used to deal with the high workload.


2. Encourage employees to take on hobbies

Your employees are less likely to leave work on time if they have no plans for that evening. Encourage your employees to have activities out of the workplace. Send out a weekly email with local events that may be of interest. If you have a large number of employees, consider setting up organisational clubs, such as a pub quiz team or pool competitions.


3. Hold family fun days

Encourage family time by running family fun days. These could be at the weekend to avoid work disruption. All proceeds could be charity based and a range of activities could be included to appeal to all the family. This will also increase organisational commitment and give the organisation publicity in the local community.


4. Understand why people are working longer hours

If the same person is always the first to arrive and the last to leave, try and understand why this is the case. Is their role too demanding for them or are they too quick to accept added responsibility? Is there something at home that they are escaping from? Get to the root of the problem. If the problem is an organisational one, look to why this is occurring and how you can make changes to ensure the problem does not persist. If the problem is a personal one, assist the employee in finding external help.


5. Set achievable targets

Targets are set to challenge and stretch employees, encouraging them to increase their productivity and performance. However, if targets are beyond a challenge and are actually impossible to reach, the opposite will be the case. The employee will work longer hours in an effort to reach that target, resulting in a work/life imbalance and eventually burn out. Ensure when targets are set that they are specific to the individual and, while challenging, are attainable with effort. Ensure when these targets are reached that a praise and reward is given.


6. Consider flexible working

Regardless of personal circumstances, we have all come across the situation of needing to be somewhere else while in work hours or having to rush home at the end of the day for a prior engagement. Providing the option of flexible working hours ensures that employees are still completing their contractual hours, but at the times they decide. This could be arriving and leaving work earlier or later, or having a longer or shorter lunch break. Giving employees this freedom will enable them to gain some balance with their personal life and help increase their commitment to you their employer, while still getting their work completed.


7. Run ‘Time Management’ courses

Time Management courses are very popular within organisations, and it is easy to see why. An employee who manages their time effectively is more likely to avoid overtime and burn out, and maintain a balance with their personal life, as well as increasing their own productivity. If your organisation has not yet run these courses, consider doing so. If you have, there may be certain individuals you can identify as needing a refresher or a more intense course.


8. Be fair to all

We all have differing personal situations. Some employees will be married with a large family, while others may be single with no children. Regardless of personal circumstance, it is essential that the same rules apply to all. It is unfair to allow flexible working for those with children and not for those without, or allowing time off to a single parent when their child is ill but not a married parent. Further, do not expect those who do not have a family to work longer hours in the belief they have ‘nothing to rush home for’. A fair employer will gain much more respect from their employees, with the results being evident in their work.


Helping your employees maintain a work/life balance will not only benefit them, but also the organisation. For assistance in getting to the route of organisation-wide issues, contact the Personnel Surveys team now.


8 Ways to Maintain Health and Well-Being in the Workplace

January is the month that we all think about starting a healthy eating and living regime. However, these great intentions often fall by the wayside, particularly when we go to work and have less control over our environment. Employers should encourage a healthy lifestyle because a healthy employee has an active mind, which will be more productive and effective, not to mention the reduced absence levels.

So how can you, the employer, ensure that your employees maintain a healthy and productive lifestyle?


1. Provide healthier alternatives in the staff canteen

Food available in the staff canteen should always have a healthier alternative. Chips and pies may seem appealing, but encourage the catering staff to produce a healthier menu. Healthy food is cheap and there are so many options. Your employees are likely to go for the most convenient option at lunchtime, so make sure this is a healthy option. This will also help improve their afternoon performance and reduce the ‘after lunch slump’. Ask your employees for healthier alternatives that they would like to see on the menu.


2. Reduce allergens in the workplace

Many, if not all of us, are allergic to something. Sensitivity to a perfume, cream or lotion is usually the first indicator of an allergy to fragrance. This can make the working environment very uncomfortable for those experiencing the allergy. Consider making your workplace a fragrance free zone, as is the norm in other countries, such as Canada. Make sure dust is kept to a minimum with an effective cleaning schedule and if your employees do report any allergies, make sure you act to make their working environment as comfortable as possible.


3. Encourage staff exercise

Factory workers who are in cold warehouses, or office workers who sit at desks all day, need extra motivation to keep the muscles warm and limbs mobile. Team leaders could conduct a unified stretching session for two minutes to help increase the blood flow, warm muscles, and stretch limbs. Fun staff events can also encourage more exercise and sociability. Examples include an organisation-wide charity walk or run.


4. Educate your employees

We often fail to realise the secret evils in our everyday food, such as high salt and sugar levels. A nutritionist could educate your staff about healthy eating and how to do this without breaking the bank. There are so many positive outcomes from healthy eating, such as more energy, improved immune system, the ability to think and act faster, improved sleep patterns, and a better quality of life. Investing in a short lesson in nutrition could lead to increased levels of productivity for you.


5. Run a staff medical service

Sickness in the workplace costs the employer time and money. A healthy workforce is a productive workforce. Investing in your employees’ health is an investment in your company’s future. A medical identifies early stages of any potential health problem. Getting employee’s treatment early can seriously reduce time off with major illness. You could set up an annual medical for each member of staff. Private healthcare could also be provided as a benefit.


6. Have schemes in place for flu and bug outbreaks

The current global epidemic of Swine Flu has been an employer’s nightmare. Pandemic precaution practises and contingency plans should be in place. The potential employee hours lost through contamination of the workplace is exponential, and employers have a responsibility to the healthy employees not to put them at risk. Anyone with an illness that could put other work colleagues at risk should not be allowed to enter the workplace unless given management approval. Educate all employees on the methods used to avoid cross-contamination.


7. Provide gym membership as a benefit

Approach local gyms, and agree special rates and terms for anyone working for your organisation. This way, you the employer are benefiting your employees and the local community. This added benefit will increase your employees’ loyalty as well as encouraging them to go to the gym, leading to an active and healthy workforce.


8. Have fruit delivered

Eating the recommended 5 a day is easier said than done. Having fresh, appealing fruit in the workplace encourages staff to eat healthier. Your organisation could start an opt-in scheme where employees can have a small amount of money taken from their wages every week in order to supply them with fresh fruit daily. If employees paid 50p per week for the best fresh fruit available and it had flavour and taste they would feel that it was money well spent.


Personnel Surveys promote a healthy living lifestyle, and believe that a healthy mind and body leads to a positive and productive employee.

Encourage a healthy lifestyle within the workplace and start 2010 with a positive outlook towards food, exercise and most importantly the future.


8 Ways to Beat the January Blues

January has been found to be the most depressing month of the year, with people suffering from the Christmas overindulgence. Money is low and summer seems so far away. With low moods comes low productivity. It is, therefore, of vital importance that we approach this month more positively.

So, how can we and our employees avoid the January blues?


1. Organise your workspace

You may think that Feng Shui and creating karma through organisation is a load of you know what! However, there is definite evidence that an organised workspace will raise your mood and encourage you to work more effectively. Put aside half an hour this week to organise your workspace and then ensure at the end of every working day you spend 2 minutes setting it back to this level of organisation.


2. Continue positive themes from December

December can be a very positive month with the joy of Christmas and the thought of the new start the New Year brings. Focus on positive areas of the business and keep employees continually aware of them. Display pictures around the workplace of the Christmas party or festivities within the organisation. Remind employees of the fun times had in December.


3. Start up internal events

Christmas doesn’t have to be the only fun time of year in the workplace. Set up internal events within the organisation. These could be charity based, such as cake sales or fancy dress days. Alternatively, you could set up internal exercise classes, such as dance or aerobics. Being more sociable has been shown to decrease depression levels, therefore creating a sociable working environment will go some why to help combat those January blues.


4. Involve employees in the business plan for 2010

To ensure your employees don’t feel the January blues, involve them at every opportunity you can. Set aside time to come up with a team business plan for the year. Give each team member a focus and time for them to achieve their own areas. Team members can also be encouraged to partake in the overall organisational business plan. Ensure all team members are aware of the plan and their position in achieving it. Again, having a focus will ensure the January blues are the last thing on anybody’s mind.


5. Prepare for the most common day off of the year

The third Monday in January (18th) is the most popular sick day of the year, mainly due to the January blues. Make this day different by possibly using the above idea of charity fancy dress or other fun ideas. Communicate this early to all employees so they have it to look forward to.


6. Lower your expectations

Many people expect a lot from the New Year. They believe the New Year will bring with it new beginnings, such as the end of the recession, a more stable working environment, or even the underperformer within the organisation to suddenly step up to the mark. Expectations are often so high that, when these aspirations are not met, moods can very quickly be lowered. Do not go into the New Year with high expectations, unless you are committed to ensuring change does actually occur. Change lies with you, not with the New Year.


7. Don’t punish yourself

High expectations not being met can often lead to us wanting to punish ourselves for our downfalls, both on a personal and professional level. Again, be realistic with what you can achieve. Set yourself challenges but not impossibilities. If you do not manage to reach your expectations, evaluate why this is the case and how you and your team can improve next time. Focus on the positives and reward yourself for the areas you did improve in, rather than punishing yourself for those you didn’t.


8. Set personal objectives

Having a focus and something to aim for in January can be one sure fire way to push away the January blues. These could be small objectives, such as spending time chatting to each member of your team everyday, or larger objectives such as a further skill or qualification. Having a focus in January will see the month fly by!


Have a very Happy New Year!!


8 Ways to Approach the New Year

The end of the year is fast approaching and with it comes the prospect of a new year and new opportunities.  The last few weeks of 2009 give the opportunity to plan for the New Year and to start it in the right direction.

So, what can we do to ensure we are ready for the New Year?


1. Look back at the highlights of 2009

What worked well in 2009?  Focus on these areas and what it was that resulted in success.  How can success be maintained and even improved on in 2010?  Similarly, what areas didn’t work so well and how can these problems be overcome?   Running an organisational review of the year could highlight key areas for improvement and those to maintain in 2010. 


2. Look at areas for your own development

How can the HR team be improved in 2010?  Focus on the organisational strategy and how the HR function is aligned with this.  HR functions within organisations are shifting towards a more psychological approach.  More HR functions are focusing on organisational development, succession planning and improving organisational motivation and commitment.  Does your HR team have the skills to focus on these areas?  Further, how can you as a HR professional advance your knowledge and qualifications?  Continual development will further your career as well as continuing to give you new tools to bring to your organisation.


3. Look at the talent within the organisation

Talent can often fade into the background within large organisations.  Setting up a talent management system can highlight key people for progression through the organisation.  The New Year is a perfect opportunity to implement these schemes.  Fast track these people now to advance into new roles in the New Year.  Provide high challenge for these individuals in order to maintain their enthusiasm, which will also relieve pressure elsewhere.


4. Deal with the dead wood

Similar to talent not being utilised, underperformers are also often not dealt with.  Underperformers can really bring morale down within a team, with their colleagues feeling they need to put in more effort or possibly drop their effort to meet that of the underperformer.  This does not have to mean pushing the individual from the organisation.  It could be that their skills are better aligned within a different role or that they need more training and development in order to perform in their own role.  Occasionally it may be necessary to put the individual on capability.  Whatever the appropriate approach is, the New Year is a great opportunity to ensure that underperformers do not remain as such throughout 2010.


5. Re-evaluate HR procedures

HR procedures are constantly changing with the organisation.  It is important that all procedures are kept right up to date, as employees only have to comply with the procedures they have been supplied with.   Out of date procedures will not stand up in a disciplinary situation.  The New Year provides the opportunity to update all procedures with the most up-to-date information.


6. Re-evaluate the organisational structure

Did the current structure work well in 2009?  How could it be improved?  Focus on key areas that excelled within the year and how this could be achieved throughout the organisation.  If the structure is working then don’t try and fix it.  However, the start of the year can be the opportunity to develop and test new structures that could advance organisational productivity. 


7. Focus on new budgets

The current downturn has resulted in most organisations slashing budgets and departments finding they are quickly running out of resources.  But good news!  New Year means new budgets!  Now is the time to focus on how resources were utilised this year and how these can be improved on and streamlined in the New Year. 


8. The upturn is coming

This year may have seemed to focus on doom and gloom, but in 2010 companies will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  With the upturn comes new career opportunities and with this comes talent flight from your organisation.  Ensure your key employees are not tempted by new opportunities within the job market by understanding their needs and abilities and how you can meet these.  It may also be the case that your own organisation sees a surge in recruitment.  Utilise the large candidate market to ensure you are hiring the most appropriate people for you.  Look beyond skills and more towards behaviours to ensure you retain the best.     

New Year = New Opportunities.
Make sure you and your organisation make the most of them.


8 Ways to End 2009 on a High

2009 has been a difficult year for many organisations.  It is, therefore, essential that we end the year on a high, creating the atmosphere we want to work with in 2010. 

So, how can we achieve this while still maintaining productivity?


1. Make the last week fantastic

Ensure all employees want to come into work because the energy is high, the banter is uplifting and the pressures are off till next year.  Employees will remember this enjoyable week and the experiences of bonding on a personal level with fellow employees.  This comradeship will be carried into the New Year.


2. Be energetic about Christmas

Christmas is when employees get to forget about work and spend quality time with their families.  Keep Christmas alive as much as possible.  The thought of it snowing, the idea of Santa and the kids and the joy it brings. The warmth you emit onto your fellow colleagues will lift their spirits and create an exciting atmosphere.  Be ready on the 1st December to start the Christmas countdown!


3. Make the Christmas Party about the employees

Try to ensure that it’s about employee bonding and having fun.  Some will just turn up and go through the motions as they do every year.  Try to bring people out of their comfort zones without embarrassing them.  After all, we all love dancing the conga once someone pulls us into it!!


4. New strategies

Discuss new strategies that will make employees lives easier when they return after the break. Employees with unrealistic targets this year will find no comfort in the thought of returning next year to the same pressures and problems.  Constructive guidance and strategies can help employees approach work differently and more positively. 


5. Help departments with work load issues

Hire temporary staff in the run up to Christmas to ensure that all departments’ deadlines are completed before the New Year begins.  Students in particular will be looking for work over the holiday period so utilise this resource.  This could also be a great opportunity to identify future graduates for your organisation.


6. Give departments ‘free time’ during the last week

Give them time to wander around the organisation meeting and introducing themselves to different people in different roles and capacities.  Allow them to spend time in different departments, understanding these roles and how they profit the organisation.


7.  Hand over some responsibility

December is a perfect opportunity to hand over some responsibility to those below the managers.  This will not only alleviate the pressure on management, but will also highlight key talent for future management roles.  This change in the dynamics within the organisation will uplift all employees and inspire them to move up the career ladder, encouraging them to meet all challenges head on. 


8. Have fun together as an organisation

Managers vs. employees games are always a method of uniting the managers and employees.  For example, you could have a football 5-a side, badminton, or rounders tournament involving all departments one day during the last week, or it could be at lunchtime for the last two weeks, and the final is on the last day to minimise disruption.

To ensure 2010 continues on a high, measure your employees’ perceptions with an employee survey.  This will help lead to effective organisational development so that you don’t only start the year on a high but maintain this throughout.

Navigate our website for more information on a staff survey solution that will work for you in 2010.


8 Ways to Engage Your Employees

Employers want employees who will do their best work, or ‘go the extra mile’.  What they increasingly say they are looking for is an engaged workforce.  Engagement is something the employee has to offer: it cannot be ‘required’ as part of the employment contract.  What’s more, research has proven the relationship between employee engagement and organisational success.

So, how can we ensure our employees are engaged?


1. Listen to your employees

Want to know who the best people are to consult on employee engagement?  The employees themselves!  Who better to understand what it is that can keep them engaged?  So, how can we tap into this resource?  One of the simplest ways is to run an employee engagement survey to understand what the current levels of employee engagement are and how these can be improved.  Alternative methods include employee focus groups, 1:1 interviews or an employee suggestion box.  One key concern in using any of these methods is anonymity.  How honest are your employees likely to be if they are talking to someone within the organisation?  Consider bringing in an external consultant to ensure complete anonymity and honesty of results.


2. Get leaders involved

Leaders need to understand just how important employee engagement is in determining productivity.  Leaders need to encourage any form of measurement and intervention and be involved at every stage of the process.  It is imperative that leaders maintain trust and openness with their teams to ensure employee engagement interventions are successful.  Leaders can also work to encourage a more relaxed and enjoyable work atmosphere.  They should be encouraged not to suppress their teams but to reach out to them on their level with a friendly enjoyable atmosphere to work in. 


3. Keep evaluating

It’s ok to implement new employee engagement schemes but how do you actually know they are working?  Evaluations of interventions need to take place to ensure both their effectiveness and that employee engagement levels are maintained.  This could include further surveys after a set period of time.  If schemes aren’t working do something about it.  Act instantly to either adapt the intervention or scrap it all together.  The key is to make sure interventions are well thought out before implementation to avoid continual changes to these interventions.  The running of scheme after scheme will only confuse your employees and reduce their engagement.


4. Be inventive

Be inventive with your engagement ideas.  Often the same engagement ideas are reeled out in each organisation, such as bonuses for reaching certain targets or casual clothes days.  Instead think of new innovative ideas that may not only increase engagement but also pull your organisation together as a team.  For example, group interactive trips are becoming very popular, where the organisation need to work together as a team for achievement, such as helping their blindfolded colleague around an assault course.  This is not only a fun social event for the whole organisation, but also a simple way of engaging your employees.


5. Understand your target audience

Your organisation is likely to be made up of a broad range of employee demographics.  Depending on your industry, you could employ more married parents than singletons, or more over the age of 40 than below it.  You may have an organisation full of ambitious graduates or have predominantly long servers looking to play out their career.  The point is you need to consider who it is that you are looking to engage.  The above point stands up well but are parents likely to want to go away for an engagement adventure weekend and have to sort out childcare.  Probably not!  You are more likely to reduce their engagement.  Therefore, more appropriate engagement events might be a family fun day.  However, the adventure weekend may be perfect for young single graduates.  Be innovative with your engagement ideas, but don’t forget who you are targeting them at. 


6. Keep the balance between work and personal life in the right direction

We already spend more time at work than any of us want to.  So the thought of working late at the end of the day, when all you want to do is get home and enjoy a glass of wine, will instantly decrease engagement.  If your employees have to work longer hours than they are contracted, something has gone amiss.  Think about recruiting more people to make up for the large workload.  If the increase in workload is only temporary then use a temporary solution!  Hiring temps is one of the simplest ways of trying out new employees before committing to them on a more permanent basis and will ensure your current employees’ engagement remains high and that absence due to burnout is not an issue.


7. Align the efforts of your employees with the organisational strategy

Employees are more likely to feel engaged in their role if they have a clear understanding of how they contribute to the organisation’s success.  When objectives and goals are set out for each employee, ensure that these are explained in terms of the overall strategy.  Make sure that organisational success is communicated to all employees and how they played their part in achieving it.  You need to pull your people together to show them how they are all working towards the same overall goal and yet each play their own part in it.  Make your people feel essential within their role and you will see an instant increase in their engagement with that role.


8. Encourage a culture of innovation, involvement and challenge

Give your employees a continual voice and involve them in the decision making process.  Feeling involved in how the organisation is moving forward will assist in increasing engagement.  Further, allow for innovation and idea generation.  Your employees are often an untapped resource when it comes to new idea formation.  You may be surprised by how many brilliant ideas they have.  Encouraging them to voice these ideas will instantly make them feel more engaged with their role and the organisation.  Finally, let your employees feel free to challenge the decisions and ideas of others.  If they don’t agree with something, listen to their opinion and work with them to generate a more appropriate solution. 

If you are interested in measuring your employees’ engagement, and implementing actions to improve on this, take a closer look at our website.


8 Ways to Create a Positive Atmosphere in the Workplace

Positivity within the workplace will naturally lead to higher levels of performance and productivity and, in turn, lower levels of turnover and absences.

So, how can we ensure that a positive environment is maintained at all times? 


1. Lead by example and display positivity at all times

Managers and decision makers are influential characters, with subordinates acknowledging and learning from their actions. Those who are happy, jolly, and positive individuals make it harder for subordinates to find negatives. Always use positive language and never negative. Even small changes, such as ‘if you finish that’ to ‘when you finish that’ can make huge differences to a person’s positivity levels. The glass is always half full!


 2. Always be honest to your workforce

 Be prepared for difficult conversations by ensuring you have all the possible answers and do not have to think on the spot. Give your employees as much information as you possibly can. Maintain levels of positivity by ensuring that all employees feel secure when dealing with you.


 3. A professional attitude to sensitive information is critical and should always be maintained

Never leak information to friends in other departments. Employees need to feel secure that their personal details and issues are kept exactly that and a culture of tale telling and back stabbing within the organisation should be avoided at all costs.


 4. Positive communication throughout the entire organisation can easily uplift the spirits

Every department should be shouting about any achievement that they make, putting up posters, sending emails, and letting the organisational family aware of their achievement. This approach will send employees home talking about their achievement and how proud they are to work at the organisation.


 5. Ensure praise is given where it is due

Employees will feel more positive if they believe they are making a valued effort towards the organisational strategy. However, make sure you consider who you are praising and how you approach this to ensure the praise is not mistaken as patronisation.


 6. Look to the future rather than dwelling on past mistakes

Employees will naturally focus on past initiatives that have failed. Approach these in the positive light by looking at how such problems can be avoided in the future and how insights have been gained as a result of that initiative.


 7. If the weather is looking positive act on this

Get the entire workforce energised and active during the lunch break. For instance, organise a basketball, football, or rounder’s match during this time. Releasing endorphins through physical exercise is a natural energy boost, giving an excellent positive lift. Even sending an email commenting on how lovely the weather is can really create a positive atmosphere.


 8. Encourage innovation and idea generation

And act on them! Ensure your employees are always looking to the positive and how the organisation can move forward. This lies mainly with department leaders so ensure they are motivating and inspiring their team to bring forward new ideas.


8 Ways to Improve Motivation during the Winter Months

Winter can be a hard cold time for everyone, getting to work before the sun comes up and going home after it has gone down. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects 7% of the UK population with symptoms including depression, sleep problems, lethargy and anxiety.

So how can we ensure that morale and motivation stay at high levels during the winter months?


1. Ensure your employees have a break outdoors during the day

It is easy to work through lunch or grab a quick bite in the staff canteen. However, this means we really are missing out on the chance of seeing any daylight hours. Even a short ten minute stroll outdoors can lift the spirits and refresh the brain. Provide incentives for those taking a break outdoors, such as staff deals with local coffee shops or cafes.


 2. Use bright colours round the workplace

Using colour therapy has been shown to significantly improve people’s moods. Offices that are grey and drab are more likely to result in employees feeling lethargic and lower their mood. This does not have to mean a total office refit. Just sending out emails in bright colours or using bright signs and notices can help. How about putting a small plant on each employee’s desk to brighten up their workstation?


 3. Make sure the office is well lit

Having low levels of lighting will only lead to increased SAD symptoms. Ensure that your workplace is well lit at all times to reduce feelings of lethargy. For those particularly affected, it may be worthwhile increasing the lighting within their area with the help of lamps. Make sure that windows are kept clean and as much natural light is entering the office as possible. Do not obstruct the windows with blinds.


 4. Make a big deal of Christmas

It might sound cheesy but a lot of people see Christmas as the only highlight of the winter months. Moods can easily be raised by focusing on Christmas. Run decorations competitions between departments. Have a Christmas fancy dress competition. Stage an organisation wide nativity. Play music in the run up to Christmas. Have an advent calendar with special treats behind each door, with the most successful employee of the day getting to open it. Moods will instantly rise when Christmas is brought into the workplace!


 5. Encourage holiday time during winter

Most employees tend to take time off during the summer. However, winter sun can really lift the spirits while the weather at home is anything but sunny! It could be worthwhile providing incentives for time off during the winter. For example, for every 4 days off between October and February, get one day off free. This will also solve problems of reduced workforces during the summer months.


 6. Get active

Exercise naturally releases endorphins, improving moods and lifting spirits. Educate all employees about the advantages of leading a healthy lifestyle through exercise. How about organising a sponsored walk for charity? This has many advantages including getting everyone up and active, team building, helping a good cause, raising organisational profile through free publicity, getting everyone out of the office during lunchtime, and focusing employees’ attentions away from their own problems.


 7. Encourage healthy eating

Eating high levels of carbohydrates, such as pies, pasties, white bread and other starchy products, can lead to high levels of lethargy. Encourage your employees to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, to improve energy levels. Have a different soup of the day every week in the canteen at reduced rates. Run free fruit days. Educate all employees about the advantages of leading a healthy lifestyle through food.


 8. Family time

With minimum daylight hours, spending active outdoor time with the family over winter can be difficult. Encourage your employees to get out with their families over winter. Advertise local outdoor events to your employees, which would keep the whole family entertained. You could run an organisation family day including outdoor activities and adventures. How about a treasure hunt? Or a ramble around a local well known historical point? Something that will involve the whole family getting them out together over the weekend.

 With improved levels of motivation and morale, productivity and performance will also increase, while turnover and absences will naturally decrease. Following the above tips can help ensure that your employees’ motivation does not dip during winter.

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