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Beat the blues: introduce new incentives for your employees

Christmas is well and truly in the past and the tasks of the year ahead hit us, It's 'Blue Monday.' No, not the catchy New Order song from 1983 but the peak of the winter blues; the so-called ‘most depressing day of the year’; the dreaded January slog.

Working days begin and end in darkness as cold and flu drops by on its annual rounds, and suddenly the duvet is far too cosy to part with. An overarching workplace slog can be a by-product of the January blues. Perhaps you've noticed a downwards slope in company morale.

Unfortunately the January slog isn’t great for motivation and therefore, productivity. Absenteeism costs businesses millions ever year, and a suffering workforce is a suffering company.

One way to tackle those pesky workplace blues, permanently kick out the winter slog, and pick up the pace? Draw in some new incentives and boost workplace morale.

Incentives contribute to a positive company culture 

If actions speak louder than words, then giving reward-based incentives is like enthusiastically yelling positive feedback through a megaphone. Yet occasionally chucking out the odd nonchalant compliment is like giving a half-hearted pat on the back. Everyone wants to feel valued at work.

Positive reinforcement is essential for building a positive company culture on a day to day basis. But incentives are the actions to your words. Reward systems show you're appreciative of your employees, that you truly value their work.

Essentially, incentives encourage and motivate employees to work towards a particular goal - either individually or as a collective. Incentives can range from low budget to high, from seasonal to role-integrated. Nevertheless, they prove that you're being genuine.

Introducing a new incentive freshens up your workplace culture, particularly if you're consistent with them. Incentives are one of the best ways to motivate your employees to achieve goals, and approach tasks more productively.

Incentives vary, but your business might offer things like:

  • Salary increases or bonuses

  • Professional development (further education)

  • Retirement incentives

  • Healthy competitions (smaller scale, prize-driven incentives)

  • Healthcare and wellbeing schemes

Individual or grouped, large or small, expensive or low budget - introducing a new incentive for your employees can really spark a boost of motivation when your company needs it the most.


The power of a positive workplace

Looking after your employees is important. Not only from a moral standpoint, but also a business perspective. Cambridge University's 2017 HR evaluative study explored the links between employee wellbeing and productivity. They discovered that

‘Mental and/or physical health accounted for more than 84% of direct effects on productivity loss, as well as 93% of indirect influences.’ (HR Dive, 2017).

Nurturing your employees is nurturing your business, and introducing fresh incentives is just one of the many ways you can build positive relationships. Building good relationships with employees is not only essential for efficient teamwork, but it’s the bread and butter of getting results overall.

Results don’t happen without teamwork, and teamwork doesn’t happen without good relationships. You want your employees to feel looked after, valued and appreciated. That's why creating a positive workplace is one of the most valuable things you can do for your business.

Feeling good, does good

Simon Sinek, author of 'Leaders Eat Last' has some fascinating perspectives on the psychology of morale.

He writes

‘Finding, building, and achieving are only part of the story. It is the manner in which we make progress that is core to our ability to do well in a dangerous world. It is the selfless chemicals that make us feel valued when we are in the company of those we trust, give us the feeling of belonging and inspire us to want to work for the good of the group.’

(Simon Sinek, Leaders Eat Last’ 2017)

Happy employees will work hard, because they want to work hard. And inspired, motivated employees produce the best work.

Incentives help you focus on areas of improvement

Has your January review highlighted areas to improve on? Perhaps you'd like to hit a target number of conversions by Spring, or perhaps there are some financial goals you'd like to complete by the end of the financial year.

Introducing a new incentive which focuses on these areas could be the rocket fuel your business needs to patch up any areas that could be improved on.

Click this into place, and growth will soar

Fundamentally, this all leads towards growth. Incentives are important, and they're of a key element of a productive company culture. Putting your employees at the heart of your operations will help your operations run like a well oiled machine.

Whether they're large or small scale, introducing new incentives in the workplace makes you consistent, and actively increases morale. Carrying and upholding positive workplace relationships is an everyday consistency which universally increases morale not only for your individual teams, but the business as a whole.

Oh and just because it's a great song and we mentioned it all the way back at the beginning...

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