The holiday season is officially over, and there is no longer any excuse for putting off implementing New Year’s resolutions.
And if one of your resolutions is to utter those liberating words, ‘I quit’, you are not alone. The first quarter of the year has the highest movement in the job market.
If you are a manager, however, this means you may have a challenge on your hands if you want to retain your best employees.
Steve Shepherd, employment market analyst from recruitment firm Randstad, says the holiday season gives us the time to reflect on our work life and question our future and happiness.
“We tend to see increased movement in the workforce in the first quarter of each year. In fact, just under a third of Aussie workers will be considering changing jobs according to our latest Workmonitor report.
“It’s important for employers to identify any negative feelings after the break and develop plans to inspire their workforce. Employers can go a long way to making the work year exciting; particularly in the area of flexibility.”
Another report, Hudson’s 2015 The Hiring Report, which surveyed more than 3,000 professionals, found that work-life balance has taken precedence over income as the top priority for Australian workers. Seventy percent of respondents named it as their number one priority. Flexibility is a key part of this balance.
“Flexibility means something different for each individual,” says the report. “One person may want a day off a month, while another wants an afternoon off a week to spend with children. The challenge for corporations is to provide solutions that are workable while still running a business.”
Clinical and organisational psychologist Dr Peter Cotton says the holiday season is a time when people stand back and get into a different mode away from the daily grind. Often they come back to work with a clearer sense of their own aspirations.
“This time of year is when people often reflect and look at changing jobs. Then they will weigh up things and try to re-engage. Sometimes there are no other options and they have to get back into it. Workplaces are continually evolving and some individuals will struggle to adjust to new changes, such as implementation of new technology.”
He reminds us that employers are often caught up with the economy and financial pressures which means their focus is not always on their employees. However, Australia has strong workplace occupational health and safety laws.
“If an employer is pushing someone too hard and the wellbeing imperative of the individual goes downhill, they can end up in compensation claims and incident reports. This is counter-productive to any organisation. It’s in the employer’s interest to provide a great work environment.”
Randstad offers the following advice to fire up your workforce:
Energise your team
Encourage brainstorming and sharing of ideas for how you can take the business forward and improve on what you did last year. If the first meeting grabs people’s attention, is fun and creative while also setting clear expectations and getting people revved up, it’s a job well done.
Focus on individuals
Everyone is different, so treat them as such. One person’s motivation can be another’s nightmare. Sit down with each employee and discuss their goals for the year and what they want to achieve. Do they want to expand their knowledge, upskill in key areas or receive a promotion?
Work hard but remember to have fun
Some of us will take a bit longer to get back into the swing of things at work and many will be longing to be outside in the sun. So while the weather is warm and the sun is shining, go out for lunch or a coffee break with the team to reconnect with each other as you head into a busy year.