The end of the year is closing in quickly and employees are in search for their last ounce of motivation as end of the year project deadlines and goals are top-of-mind. Managers are challenging their employees to finish the year strong and ultimately meet goals that were set at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, the holidays at the end of the year are notorious for a lack of employee motivation resulting in a decrease of productivity. It takes effective leadership to manage employees’ waning motivation during this crucial time. This lack of motivation could have negative impacts on an organization’s bottom line; therefore, members of management must assess different methods to motivate employees to make one final push to end the year on a high note. Luckily, there are many tried and true methods of keeping employees motivated prior to the year-end.
Quite possibly the most important method of keeping employees motivated is for managers to lead their employees by example. Employees look up to their managers for guidance, either by asking questions or simply feeding off of their manager’s work ethic and motivation. Managers giving pep talks to employees about finishing the year strong during a meeting will be effective only if the manager shows the same enthusiasm outside of the room in which the meeting was held. If managers want their employees to make an effort to reach a goal by the end of the year, the manager should absolutely be the one leading the charge. The end of the year is not only a time for employees to prove their ability to do their jobs well, but also for managers to prove their ability to manage their employees successfully.
Once you have employee’s ears about finishing the year strong, managers must set realistic goals for their employees. Goals that were set in the beginning of the year, if effectively managed and communicated throughout the year, should be attainable. If the goals are not attainable, this should have already been communicated from managers and a plan should already be in place to reach the goal on an agreed upon timeframe. A rule of thumb for setting goals that employees will buy-in to, whether they be beginning of the year goals, or year-end goals should follow the S.M.A.R.T goals guidelines. S.M.A.R.T stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based (or timely). When communicated and implemented effectively, the S.M.A.R.T goal guidelines will ensure the highest level of success when it comes to setting year-end goals.
The goals are set, managers and employees alike are working harder than ever and the year-end is in sight. Some employees are likely wondering, “What’s in it for me?” As a token of gratitude from the organization for reaching said goals, managers may offer rewards, or incentives to employees when setting goals and pushing for a strong year-end finish. Remember, there are other types of rewards and gifts outside of bonuses and gift cards. For example, offering additional paid time off to the team that meets their goal is a way for managers to incentivize and motivate employees without offering something instantly redeemable like cash, or gift cards.
Finally, the year is over, goals have been met, and all managers and employees are pleased with the year-end results. It is important to recognize employees when they have gone above and beyond to meet their goals. While it is important to recognize and praise employees year-round for their hard word, it is also very important to do so when their hard work results in positive year-end results. Recognizing employees for their efforts in meeting year-end goals and deadlines and expressing the value that they bring to the organization is priceless and ironically may come with no price tag at all. A study by Make Their Day, an employee motivation firm, found that 70 percent of survey respondents reported their most meaningful recognition “had no dollar value” and that 83 percent of respondents said recognition for contributions was more fulfilling than rewards of gifts. Not only does this allow employees to feel empowered and accomplished about reaching year-end goals, this sets the tone for the beginning of the new year where employees will be motivated and ready to accomplish the tasks ahead of them. (www.prnewswire.com)
As the year-end closes in quickly, the importance on keeping employees motivated and energetic about meeting year-end goals increases ten-fold. Managers have a responsibility to assess the methods in which they keep their employees motivated to reach the goals they set for their employees to reach prior to year-end. In doing so, managers must lead by example, set realistic goals, and recognize and reward their employees for staying motivated and ultimately reaching the goals put in place to ensure a positive finish to the year and a strong start to the new year.
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Written By: Patrick McKenna, SHRM-CP