It’s the new year and your teams are coming back with resolutions, new gym memberships, dry January boasts and the last few drops of the seasonal cheer. It won’t be long before the reality of January sets in and the new-year-new-me mantras fade away. January can be a tricky time for people and motivating your team to get back in the swing of things can seem a difficult task. But don’t feel you have to fist bump your way around the office or recite Christmas cracker jokes ad infinitum.
Here are our top ten tips to help motivate your team through January and February.
- Take time to understand your team's wants and needs, both personally and professionally for the forthcoming year.
It’s the perfect time to do this as most like end of year performance reviews are coming up or happening. Agree on three things you will both do to help make these happen and set a target.
- It’s the perfect time to set goals together based on the above.
Make them realistic and break them down into actions.
- Involve and excite teams about future business plans, making sure they know the important role they play in achieving these.
Chat to them about this year’s business plans and explain why you are doing them, making the why human-focused.
- Celebrate successes from the previous year and continue them, especially in Jan and Feb.
Celebrate achievements, in front of other team members if appropriate. Recognition is more important than a prize.
- Encourage team collaboration.
Develop projects people can do together. Working together can help people get tasks done and promotes positive collaboration and peer learning.
- Fix the small stuff.
Does the printer keep breaking, does someone need a new keyboard? Agree to do some quick fixes as soon as possible to improve how people feel about the environment they work in.
- Motivate through gamification.
These can be fun things and/or work-related. Gamification can increase motivation to do an activity by 51.6% (research by Karl Kapp, Instructional Technology Professor at Bloomsburg University). Changes and challenges can be gamified. For example, if you are adopting a new system or process, reward every person that uses it correctly with a point or badge. You can keep track of this easily using a spreadsheet or online leader board. Add status symbols people can reach if they process so many times and a prize for the winner. Gamification is just a different way of thinking and can be applied to many different ways of working, to make them fun and engaging.
- Support workplace wellbeing by putting on activities such as a lunchtime walking club or providing a fruit bowl for January so people can eat healthier if they want to.
You could even gamify it, if everyone is up for it in your team or office you could make it a team-wide activity. Remember to give people an opt-out option, however, as there’s nothing more demotivating than enforced activities.
- Book in a social event or something the team would like to do collectively.
This will give them something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to cost anything, it could be a dress down day or a bring a pet to work day. Get creative with your ideas.
- Do something for others.
One of the most motivating things we can do is support and help others. Neuroscience tells us that helping others triggers a release of oxytocin, which has the effect of boosting our mood and counteracts the effects of the stress hormone cortisol. The higher your levels of oxytocin, the more you want to help others. When oxytocin is boosted, so are serotonin and dopamine, other feel-good chemicals in the brain. As a team or workplace why not think about what you can do in January and February to help others. This might be volunteering or fundraising. It will boost team morale and provide those positive boosting chemicals in the brain.
And as an added bonus and a last nod to Christmas, here are our top five cracker jokes
- Two snowmen were standing in a field. One said, "Can you smell carrots?"
- Why did no-one bid for Rudolph and Blitzen on eBay? Because they were two deer
- What goes "Oh, Oh, Oh"? Santa walking backwards
- Why does Donald Trump have his Christmas dinner on a plastic plate? He doesn't get on with china.
- Christmas dinner is a lot like Brexit. Half the family were told they needed to make room for Turkey, so opted to leave Brussels.