Last week, we talked about the impact the end-of-year holiday season has on productivity as many employees slow down at work in the weeks leading up to the holidays. Perhaps even more startling, though, is what happens to employee engagement afterwards: Our recent career pathing research at CEB shows that gatherings among family and friends around the holidays can lead to a 2 percent decline in career satisfaction and a 16 percent spike in job search activity. It’s one reason why the first week of January tends to be the most popular time of year to look for a new job. (CEB HR Leadership Council for members can read more about the effect of holiday gatherings and other “career risk triggers” here.)
To address the end-of-year slump, employers can try using the final weeks of the year as a time to deliver on other aspects of the employee value proposition. If your company can afford it, use the “lighter mood” of the holiday season for team-building exercises or charity activities.
It might be too late for some organizations to rescue their employees from the grips of this special Christmas brand of idleness at work, but there are some things you can do in the New Year to make sure to keep engagement levels high year-round, and to combat all of the potential career triggers that pop up throughout the year for your employees (like birthdays, work anniversaries, or high school reunions):
- Encourage ongoing performance conversations, which will allow managers to formally reconnect with employees and assess job performance and alignment.
- Curate a workforce of engaged high-performers by emphasizing enterprise contribution.
- Train your managers to have development conversations at the right times to avoid the dangers of other career risk triggers.