It’s not just the advertisers who are willing Christmas to come earlier year after year – your employees become distracted weeks before the big day, and it is imperative that you start to plan now for that final push to achieve end of year results for your business and smooth the way to an efficient New Year.

A 2007 survey* estimated that around one third of employees – that’s approximately 9 million people – start winding down for the holidays from the 14 December, a full week and a half before the festive season officially begins. Productivity plummets, and one in three people state that they will come in late at least once during this period while one in five say they plan to throw at least one sickie.

Ironically, now is the time you should be upping communications with employees to deliver that last burst of energy before welcoming in the New Year to ensure that everything is properly in place for the next financial term. If you’re not careful, you could lose up to four weeks of productivity over the Christmas period, meaning that nearly one twelfth of the year is frittered away on festive cheer rather than bolstering your bottom line.

The important thing to remember during this period is that you cannot afford to lose sight of what needs to be achieved in 2010. Starting to position the business a full six weeks before Christmas through messages which provide clarity and direction will drive staff motivation and accelerate the work flow into the New Year. Reviewing what has gone well for the company as well as lessons learned can illustrate how the employees’ input directly corresponds with the organisation’s overall achievement.

By now you should know how well you anticipate the company to have performed this year, and can be passing onto staff exactly how this will affect any expected bonuses and pay increases. Telling people as soon as possible – whether it’s good news or bad – will drive motivation, build trust and foster respect. People don’t like surprises (well, definitely not the bad ones), so the sooner you can inform staff of any information that impacts on them the better.

Don’t leave it until 2010 to start talking about 2010 – put some well placed communications plans in play now for a successful year ahead.

* Teletext holidays 2007

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