4 August 2022

Beating The January Blues - How To Motivate Your Workforce


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Employee engagement Leadership and management


January is often perceived as an anti-climax following the Christmas period.  But perhaps it should be seen as a new beginning and a chance to set some fresh goals, motivate people and increase productivity.

How To Motivate

Motivating employees can be achieved in a number of ways from the smallest change to the grandest gesture, below are some ways to achieve a happy, motivated and efficient workforce:

Adopt an ‘open door’ policy

If your employees are aware that they can approach you openly about an issue or idea there is less chance that problems will arise without your knowledge or that ideas will go unnoticed.  Being approachable will help you to better know and understand your employees.

Understand the way your individual employees work and what motivates them

Motivating staff is not a single action that will equally affect everyone.  Different employees have different drivers and require different rewards.  Understanding this will enable you to get the most from each employee.

Understand that we are all human, the occasional mistake will happen

In the real world mistakes happen.  Knowing and allowing for this means that when a mistake is made it can be discussed openly and honestly.  This way the mistake can be turned into a positive learning experience and not repeated.

Money Talks

Offering cash incentives for hitting targets, and exceeding them is widely recognised to motivate staff.  Other incentives might include a trip away, a gift up to a certain value or a meal at a fancy restaurant.

Praise and appreciate your employee’s efforts openly

Letting your employees know when they have done a good job, or worked above and beyond the call of duty is very important.  Praising them openly will encourage further efforts from them and their colleagues.

Lead by example

If you are not doing a good job well or being seen as enthusiastic, then how can you expect your staff to be motivated to do so.  Make sure you lead by example and your workforce will follow by example.

Passion is contagious

Being seen to be passionate and constantly searching for new ideas and ways to improve is contagious.  If there is no passion seen in the office then this will spread through your employees and  have a negative effect on productivity.

Change is as good as a holiday

Mix it up a bit.  Asking employees to work on new and interesting projects, or to think of alternate ways to improve outdated processes will fuel creativity.  Even something as simple as changing the office furniture position can encourage people to think differently.  Moving people around so that they are seated next to someone different is another great way of making sure that your team bonds.

Allow your employees the freedom to do their jobs

Don’t micro manage.  Allowing your employees room to try new things or discuss ways in they can improve an area of the business will encourage independence and display that you trust your team.

Ask questions

Make sure you are asking questions about the work your employees are doing.  Avoid negative, blanket questions such as “Why are you doing that.  It’s not your job?”.  Rather, ask positive questions such as “What is the end goal of what you are doing?”.  Discuss issues openly with your employees and, if it is not something that you want them to be doing, then you can justify this during your conversation.

Ensure that your employees are aware of and understand their objectives

Knowing their goals and understanding what they have to do to achieve them will help your employees to plan and work towards a successful appraisal.


Long winded processes are both a time and morale killer.  Having to fill out 10 forms to get 1 simple process completed is not productive and won’t be appreciated by your employees.  Streamlining these processes and, improving efficiency is key.

Publicise and share success

If the business does well, this should be shouted from the rooftops and celebrated with the entire company.  Take the workforce to the pub after work because even 1 drink each will be appreciated, raising morale and motivation.

Spend your own cash

Spending the company cash is all very well.  Spending your own cash once in a while is a much grander gesture.  Taking your department out to lunch once in a while and paying yourself will be hugely appreciated.

Invest in your employees

If your employees genuinely require training in a certain area, send them on the training.  If they need a new PC, buy one.  Being seen to invest in your employees will build trust and respect.

Have fun!

A lively, fun office is a nice place to be.  No one wants to work in complete silence in a grey booth!