This post is on behalf of Jason Downes, MD at

The first week back to work after a long break isn’t always easy. With new targets, new expectations and sometimes new managers, employees often spend the first couple of days trying to get back into the swing of things. Not to mention that motivation levels won’t quite be where it needs to be, so here are my top tips for keeping your employees motivated in the New Year.

Try being more flexible for your New Year’s Resolution

You’d be surprised how much flexibility can affect staff motivation. If you’re encouraging a more flexible workplace, employees will naturally become more motivated to go that extra mile for their business. There are too many unforeseen obstacles like strikes, delays, or last minute issues that arise to make the office our only place of work, so by removing the restrictions of specific work hours and locations, we’ve found that staff become much more agile and adaptable to work environments when they’re not tied to their office desk.

Employees appreciate having their own autonomy, so by giving them that option to be flexible, they’ll also become more motivated to have a good work ethic in return.

Start the year together

The better employees work as a whole, the better the business will perform. Aligning teams and getting everyone on the same page is crucial for reaching targeted growth levels, and one way to kick this off is to start the year with an All Hands meeting. This could mean all employees gathering around the main area of their office or running the meeting over a web or video conference, so it gives everyone a good opportunity to catch up on what everyone did over the break as well as start the year together, so everyone is clear on what the key priorities, dates and targets are for the year and coming months.

By focussing all staff on a common goal, it gives everyone clarity – particularly on reminding them what they need to do first! Returning to work with angry managers questioning your priorities is not what anyone wants to come back to after a well-deserved break, so a company-wide meeting is a great way to make sure there’s no confusion between teams.

Try new incentives

Incentives are a great way to get people going in the New Year, particularly if they’re not the same old incentives year in and year out. By changing or introducing new incentives, employees will naturally be more motivated to challenge themselves, particularly if the reward is attainable. I find that motivating employees with new challenges and worthwhile rewards are a positive way to keep your staff around for the long haul. If there are new and exciting ways for them to push themselves, they won’t become complacent with their jobs and will therefore be motivated to perform both as an individual and a team.

Be more proactive

Employees require more than just a good salary. These days, they don’t put up with poor company culture. So rather than finding out about the issues when it’s too late – which is usually when they hand in their resignation or share it in their exit interview, being proactive will often mean that you can stop them from getting to that point of wanting to leave. And the likeliness is, is that other people also share those thoughts or frustrations.

Just because people don’t voice problems they face, it doesn’t mean that everything is smooth sailing. At a C-level, you aren’t always the first to hear about any issues, and it could be as little as staff wanting a few more perks like free fruit or drinks in the company like tea or coffee, but if you’re not proactive about discovering the frustrations, then you’re not going to be quick to resolve them.

Regular catch ups with employees and managers are a good way to be proactive. Taking them out of their normal environment and into a more casual setting, like an office break out area or a café will help encourage staff to open up and express any concerns without the worry of other colleagues overhearing.

And this can do a great deal of help for your employees. If underlying issues are being addressed, they will be much less distracted from their work and be more motivated to reach that deadline or hit that target if their staff satisfaction is being catered to.

So if you’re looking to get your company motivated in the New Year, it’s best you get these done from the beginning so you can set the standard for the year. And contrary to popular belief; more money doesn’t always help.

New and creative ways to motivate your staff will not only increase your staff satisfaction, but also reduce your employee turnover, just make sure you’re proactive about it!