The end of the year is swiftly approaching and everyone is starting to look forward to some time off with their loved ones, or to a string of epic parties, or both.
Unfortunately, some people tend to start switching off a little early during the festive season.
It’s a big problem for companies.
We’ve seen it a lot at Coburg Banks over the years.
Speaking from personal experience we see performance tail off normally around the 17th/18th December.
That’s only just over 50% of the month, yet we still have 100% of the overheads to cover.
The main issue is that your staff probably won’t get that – and why should they (unless they’re in accounts of course)?
So, how do you keep your employees motivated on that last leg of the year and keep all that momentum going right through to the finish line?
Well, we’ve got some ideas for you that have worked really well for us over the years…
#1. Give extra holiday for hitting targets.
During the festive period there is so much going on, everyone just wants to get out of the office as soon as possible.
So why not use that to your advantage?
Offer your employees the opportunity to have the occasional early finish, in return for hitting a daily target.
That might be all it takes for them to summon one last big burst of energy to get through the finish line.
Some of the things we’ve incentivised like this are key KPI targets that we know are vital to their performance and success.
You can mix it up – finish an hour early, have the afternoon off, or even give them a whole day in return.
It’s up to you – and kind of depends what kind of company you work at.
But it’s a brilliant short-term tactic, and a great good-will gesture that your staff will really appreciate, which is bound to boost productivity this December.
#2. Try a bit of healthy Christmas competition.
Never underestimate the power of competition, especially if your employees have a competitive edge to their personalities.
In a sales environment, or target-driven workplace, then you can put up a prize for the best performers.
What you offer is up to you, but a cash prize is a safe bet. Christmas is expensive and a little extra money can go a long way.
If you don’t like the concept of a cash prize, then a Christmas hamper is a great alternative.
#3. Take your employees out.
Christmas parties (and events) can be a nightmare to organise, so it’s easy to see why some companies ditch them altogether – but you shouldn’t!
Even something as simple as taking your team out for a meal at a local restaurant or a few jars down the local pub will make your employees feel festive (and loved).
It’s important to say “thank you” for their hard work.
#4. Set totally new targets.
Time to get creative.
This concept is closely aligned to the tactic in #1 listed above, but takes it to a new level.
Whilst you’re probably too late to implement 100% of this tactic for this year, the key to making this work is to think backwards and start planning your targets in September.
Let me explain…
At Coburg Banks we work on a monthly targeting schedule.
However, we know from bitter experience that December is a painfully short month activity wise. In truth, if we get 3 weeks of good work out of the team we’re very happy.
Which means that the quarter October – December is really 11 weeks rather than 13.
So, for this quarter only, we use a quarterly targeting scheme.
And the incentive is big.
I mean, really big.
If the team hit 120% of target, they can finish a week early (so around 18th December depending on what day Christmas falls).
And given that they already have the week off between Christmas and New Year, well frankly, that’s a huge carrot to dangle.
We first introduced this scheme in 2011 and have done so ever since.
For any target driven environment, it’s a surefire winner and I strongly encourage you to do it.
If not for this year, then do it for next.
And if your business doesn’t allow you to implement this kind of scheme, there are a few targeting tactics you can use just in the month of December itself.
At the start of the month, you can call your employees together and create a special Christmas target.
Come up with a new set of targets, complete with incentives.
You can even create an advent calendar of targets that keep your people pushing for the limit.
There will be winners and losers, because not everybody can smash it out the park each and every day.
But if you make it fun it can do wonders for you and your employees’ morale.
#5. Where possible, allow employees to work remotely.
Family gatherings, shopping and other prep can turn Christmas into a nightmare.
If you can, ease the burden on your employees by allowing them to work remotely.
This won’t work for everybody, but ditching the commute for a day or two might make a huge difference to your workers.
Personally speaking I’m not a huge fan of people working from home.
But if you go out of your way for your staff, they are more likely to go out of their way for you.
And despite my cynicism, we have seen this tactic work pretty well for us over the years.
There are lots of ways to keep your staff pushing until the last day.
Don’t simply embrace the fact that December is a dead zone.
Get creative and you’ll be amazed how well you can motivate your staff.
If you can turn a disaster of a month into a triumph, then you can spend your Christmas holiday reflecting on a job well done. Then, you can start planning for next year.
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