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BizReport : Research : January 16, 2017

Expert: How to keep employees motivated

During the holiday season, it can be hard to keep employees focused and happy, but the workday blues don't disappear after New Year's Day.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: Why is employee morale a big problem during the holidays?

Mackenzie Kyle, Managing Partner, BC Advisory Services, MNP: Traditionally, the holidays are viewed as a time to be nice to your fellow humans, a time to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year, and to look forward to the excitement that the New Year brings. Love it or hate it, it's not a season we can afford to ignore. Extending from American Thanksgiving until the hangover subsides around January 3, we're talking about a little more than 6 weeks or a little more than 10% of the working year.

Kristina: Looking ahead to next year, what can businesses do to promote morale?

Mackenzie: Talk to your team about how they would like to celebrate, and be prepared to go against tradition. Some groups like to take every Friday in December to go for drinks after work. Some teams want to play paintball. And yes, some teams will want to do a more traditional holiday party. There is no right and wrong here; only right or wrong for your team. And the only way to know is to engage the team in the discussion.

And here's another angle to consider: the common perception of the December holiday period is that it is a time to rest, recharge, and to plan for the upcoming year. Although this may not apply to your entire team, many great team members work hard throughout the year with the expectation that they WILL get a bit of downtime during the holiday period. Any attempt to take that away by expecting productivity to be maintained at the level you might see in March or October, is unlikely to be met, and is likely to create resentment among the team.

Tags: employee happiness, employee morale, MNP, SMB tips

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