Eliminating the end-of-year productivity decline

BY SUPPLIED - OCTOBER 22, 2015

2015 is swiftly coming to a close, bringing with it warm summer days and the holiday season. Around this time of year, many employees are either stressed out by the rush and pressure to wrap up the year, or are simply already in ‘holiday mode’.

This is according to Quest Staffing Solutions CEO, Kay Vittee who notes that both of these scenarios can have a negative impact on productivity.

“It is therefore important for employers to play a role in keeping their employees motivated,” she says.

According to a survey conducted by the American Management Association, 44% of employers reported a decline in productivity around the festive season. 

Vittee says, “Things are made even worse in Southern Africa due to the ‘silly season’ coinciding with summer. A Captivate Network 2012 study showed that employees note a 20% drop in overall productivity during this time with 45% stating that they are more distracted.”

Vittee suggests business management consider the below factors over this time.

 

Not Letting History Repeat Itself

Did productivity suffer last year at this time?  Identify what went wrong and come up with viable solutions, seeking input from staff whenever possible.

 
Leading by Example

Leadership is crucial to maintaining productivity during the holiday season. If employees see their leaders staying motivated and working hard towards achieving goals, they will immediately feel more motivated to do the same.

 
Setting Pre-Festive Season Goals

Did your company set financial-focused, product-focused, or other goals for 2015? Remind your employees of what these goals were and assess whether or not you’ve achieved them. Rally your employees and discuss what they can do to meet or exceed their goals for the rest of the year.  You can also set new challenges and/or goals for the last few months of 2015 that are realistic and enjoyable for the employee, along with objectives for 2016.  Make sure goals are clearly communicated and in writing, so that employees can refer back to the list as and when necessary.

Rewarding your employees for reaching goals keeps both motivation and morale high, so why not try to implement specific incentives for achieving particular business goals over the next few months. You can acknowledge the achievement of goals with awards to encourage employees to continue to work hard and motivate them to go to the office to see if they are a winner.

 
Creating a Positive Atmosphere

Establishing a positive environment is an important factor in keeping employees motivated. This may involve allowing the team to get into the spirit of the season by decorating their work space. While the way in which creating an atmosphere of acceptance, camaraderie and unity will differ from organisation to organisation, based on the organisational environment, a positive and enjoyable working environment will encourage employees to focus on the tasks at hand and remain productive.

 
Offering Flexible Hours

Flexible scheduling makes employees more focused on their work when they are in the office and – in turn – is likely to increase productivity. This is especially important ahead of the holidays, when staff are busy, not only with their work, but also at home with planning holidays away and buying gifts. 

 
Showing Appreciation

Globoforce’s 2014 Workforce Mood Tracker Report shows that there is a demonstrable link between acknowledgement and motivation, with 86% of employees saying that being recognised motivates them in their job. Take a moment to thank your employees for all their hard work throughout the year. This will make them feel appreciated and empowered - motivating them to finish the year on a good note.

“As long as you keep the workplace as enjoyable as possible for employees coming in, your company will continue making great strides forward, even ahead of the holiday season,” concludes Vittee.