4 Ways to Banish Employee New Year Blues

At the beginning of every year a stream of research appears, claiming a decline in engagement levels, a lack of job satisfaction and grim tales of ever-decreasing retention rates, also known as employee New Year Blues.

For example, particular piece of research conducted by Seek Learning reveals widespread New Year Blues, after a survey of over 1200 Australian working adults. Seek Learning helps individuals who want a change of career or to retrain in a different field, therefore the survey focused on questions around the career progression, satisfaction and plans for the year ahead.



The results show a series of somewhat negative responses:

  • When asked whether they consider themselves to be “in the right job”, nearly 49% responded that they felt were not.
  • This becomes more interesting when then asked why, with a majority claiming they “fell into” their role and subsequently regretted it.
  • In addition to this around one quarter of respondents reported plans to change careers this year.
  • “Bad relationships with managers” was a key reason for making such plans.

Tony Barrett, SEEK Learning’s General Manager stated: “This really reflects that people are now willing to make changes and ask the question ‘Am I happy in this job?’ You spend a third to half your waking hours in your job, and that’s a lot of time to spend doing something you’re not that excited about.

While this is good news for Barrett, for HR Managers this is not so positive, the key takeaway from this research comes from Barrett’s statement, “… that’s a lot of time to spend doing something that you’re not excited about.”

Creating ways to make employees more excited about their work is something HR should address in the face of such a grey outlook, taking the four key points from SEEK’s research, here are four tips on how to banish employees’ New Year blues:



1. “I’m not in the right job.”
Disengagement is a catalyst for a lack of job satisfaction. Employees need to feel an emotional engagement with the work they perform and there needs to be reciprocity. If an employee feels they don’t “get anything” out of a role, they won’t put anything in. Eventually they will up and leave, in search of that reciprocity elsewhere.

2. “I fell into this job, that’s why I don’t like it.”
“Falling into” something may indicate feelings of no control or sense of purpose. Effective recognition can reintroduce purpose into a role and it can come from something as simple as a thank you for good work.

3. “I want to try something new, somewhere else.”
Retention is always an issue for HR, a lack of stimulation means a lack of engagement, rewards for learning and good performance can revive even the most disengaged of employees.

4. “I don’t have a good relationship with my manager.”
If a manager is not showing recognition to their team, this can cultivate negative relationships. As suggested by the research, people leave their jobs through a lack of emotional connection. There are limitless ways in which an effective recognition strategy can help to eliminate this possibility.

Mark is the General Manager of Power2Motivate APAC, delivering world class employee recognition and B2B loyalty programs to a wide range of clients.

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