10 easy wins to boost employee engagement this January

John McNamara
Last updated on 5th November 2019
3 min read

After the excesses of Christmas, the parties, the client lunches, dinners and the holidays, it can be quite difficult to get back into the work routine in January.

Couple that with potentially gloomy weather, a heavier paunch and a lighter wallet — it’s no wonder that workers feel somewhat deflated when they return to work.

So how can you energize and motivate employees who are feeling a bit sluggish?

The first thing you can do is show that you understand. Create positive experiences, shake things up a little, and get employees back into the swing of things.

Here are 10 easy wins to boost employee engagement this January.

1.Welcome people back

Place a ‘welcome back’ letter or pack on employees’ desks that covers key achievements of the past year and highlights some goals or key developments for the year ahead.

Essentially the organization’s saying: “Thank you for all your hard work last year, we know it’s tough coming back after the holidays, but together we’re going to have a fantastic year.”

Communication is vital, and often the smallest gestures can go a long way.

2. Hold a kick off meeting

Arrange a whole company meeting with the senior leadership to celebrate key achievements from the previous year and communicate the strategy for the year ahead.

Allow time for employees to ask questions and for them to talk openly with the leaders of the organization who they might not have regular contact with. Highlight how people can together, help the business achieve those goals.

This shows employees that the leadership team cares about their people.

3. Organize a social event

Organize an office get-together. This shouldn’t be as excessive as the Christmas Party. It can be a lunch or a coffee morning. It’s essentially a gentle introduction back into work, and a time for people to catch up and share stories.

By connecting with others, people won’t feel as isolated and therefore more motivated to get back into the work routine.

4. Offer well-being perks

Introduce health and fitness perks in the New Year. Chances are that most people are feeling a bit lethargic after Christmas.

If you don’t offer fitness classes all year round and don’t have the budget to do so, then consider bringing them in for January only.

Think about mental health too. It can be a daunting experience returning to a mountain of work. You can invite mental health and well-being experts in to talk about how to de-stress or cope with work at this time.

Ultimately, healthy and happy employees will be more productive.

5. Encourage managers to set realistic goals

If managers set overly ambitious goals at this time, the likelihood is that your employees won’t achieve them and will feel disappointed. So, encourage your people managers to set achievable goals.

Setting achievable milestones will break down the task, so it doesn’t seem so large. Employees will feel energized when they reach each milestone. Managers, too, will appreciate support and guidance on motivating others in the sluggish days back after the holiday period.

6. Offer financial incentives

Consider a cash incentive for hitting targets or achieving particular goals in January.

Christmas is expensive, and many employees will be feeling the pinch in the new year. If an individual knows that they have a personal target that offers a related cash bonus, they’ll probably be more motivated to hit it.

7. Offer flexible hours

Consider relaxing your hours in January, as long as workers make up their time during the week.

Think about allowing people to come in later on a Monday morning or leave a bit earlier on a Friday. Or maybe allow them to work from home one day a week. Show them that you understand that January can be tough, and you will help them through it.

8. Provide new training programs

Consider launching new training programs in the new year, and make them accessible to everyone or provide budget for teams to have bespoke training.

Letting employees know that you have their best interests at heart and are dedicated to their personal development will be a motivator in itself.

Don’t offer off the shelf training, though. Really think about your employees’ needs and desires coupled with the needs of the business to make sure the training’s mutually beneficial.

9. Acknowledge and reward performance

Create awards in January to the best teams or individuals. You can create several categories and arrange a ceremony in-house or externally depending on your budget.

This is a time to say thank you to everyone and acknowledge individuals publicly in front of their colleagues and bosses.

Put simply, if people feel recognized, they’re more likely to believe in the business and its values.

10. Give a prize

Create a prize in January for the best ideas for the year ahead.

This should be judged by the leadership and can cover all areas of work including the environment, culture, processes, communications and teamwork. It could also include fundraising ideas for a company charity or the next company social event.

The idea can be anything as long as it’s creative – and the prize needn’t be too costly. A gift voucher will suffice.

The point is that every employee has a chance to have his or her idea heard, and name put in front of the leadership whatever level they work at in the company. And, of course, the winning idea can benefit the business, too.

Ultimately, it comes down to employee experiences

Employee experiences are key. If you want to help your employees beat those January blues, the best thing to do is help them feel good about work, encourage them to be better and show them that they belong to an organization that understands them.

Employees who are happy and feel sufficiently looked after at work will be more engaged, more motivated and more productive which equals long term business success.

92% of workers said employee experiences were vital in their quest for productivity. Download our research ‘Why your workforce isn’t working’ jam-packed with stats like this, to discover more about what your employees really need to get truly motivated.


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