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Winter Woes: Three Steps Businesses Can Take to Banish Blues

Winter: a season of shorter days, gloomy weather and hibernation. It’s therefore unsurprising that winter is often agreed to be the most depressing season of the year.

This is combined with January being the month of New Year’s resolutions – with many workers beginning to think seriously about the next steps they want to take in their careers. In fact, new research has revealed that more than half of Brits are thinking about finding a new job in the coming months. The combination of these factors makes this a crucial time of year for employers – especially considering recent ONS figures have found that employment levels remain at record highs, meaning it’s more important than ever for employers to hold onto staff.

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So, what can businesses do to keep workers engaged, happy and productive during this difficult season? Erik Fjellborg, CEO and Founder of Quinyx, the market leader in workforce management, shares his top three tips for retaining and maintaining a happy, motivated and productive workforce this year.

1.Tackle employee blues with tech

With heads down catching up after the festive period, it can be hard to know how your team is actually feeling. But tech can be a great option for busy managers and teams alike – providing a non-intrusive, accurate way to take the pulse of their workforce. Things like anonymous surveys, data analytics, and wearable tech can give employers a real-time view of how their workers are really feeling.

This information can then be analyzed and used to take steps to rectify discontentment within the workforce – actions could be as simple as awarding virtual badges to employees or introducing small perks like an early finish one day a week. The important thing is to take time to truly understand the sentiment of your staff and take the appropriate action accordingly.

2. Pursue passion and purpose

Increasing salary has long been seen as a quick – if expensive – fix for keeping staff on side. But the good news for business owners is that while ‘increased salary’ has traditionally topped workers’ wish lists, the tide is changing. In fact, the meaning is the new money – with research finding that employees who feel like they have a meaning and significance in their workplace are more likely to stay with their organization.

The onus is thus on employers to ensure workers understand their value by making it clear how their role contributes to the goals of the business. And if workers are also more likely to work for, and stay with, an organization that has values that align with theirs, it’s important for employers to make sure the businesses’ values are clearly communicated. This process takes time but is ultimately worth it in the long run.  

3. From old to young, flexibility is key  

One of the biggest workforce changes that employers have had to negotiate over the past few years is the rise of the multi-generational workforce. With increasing numbers of baby boomers either choosing to remain working or returning to the workforce after caring for their families, it’s not uncommon for four or more generations to be working alongside each other.

The good news is that there is one thing that will be appreciated by all generations of your staff and that’s flexibility. Whether it’s a second job, education or caring responsibilities, all generations have other demands stretching their time – and our research found that nearly a fifth of UK workers believe they’d be more productive if presented with flexible working opportunities. So, winter is a great time to demonstrate that flexibility is at the heart of your business – giving your staff the flexibility they desire and boosting productivity at the same time.

Erik Fjellborg comments:

“While winter can be a tough time for employees and employers alike, there are steps that can make it easier – and more enjoyable – for everyone. From using tech to keep an eye on your employees’ wellbeing to offering flexible hours, if you take the time to make sure your workforce isn’t feeling down this season, you’ll reap the rewards the rest of the year.”

About the author: Quinyx was founded in 2005 by CEO Erik Fjellborg after a summer spent working at McDonald’s. After witnessing how difficult it can be for managers to sort shifts manually, Erik built one of the world’s first fully web-based Workforce Management solutions to do the heavy lifting. McDonald’s loved Erik’s solution and became Quinyx’s first customer.

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