Christmas is a distant memory and January is renowned for being the most depressing month of the year. Your employees had so much to look forward to in December, ranging from Christmas parties and bonuses to precious time off with their families over Christmas and the New Year. And so, it’s no wonder that with the dark evenings still imposing upon us and summer holidays seeming so far off, your staff will need extra care and attention to maintain motivation and engagement. Remember as well that the festive period tends to signify reflection from the year gone by and if your staff aren’t entirely happy in their roles, you could risk losing them. So, the following article aims to tackle how you can beat the January blues in your SME.


As mentioned, December would have been a busy month, celebrating successes from 2019 and spending some of your profits on this in terms of employee gatherings, bonuses and suchlike. As a result, you, as a business owner or manager may feel slightly complacent in January because you may feel like you’ve done a lot in the previous month in terms of engagement. However, it’s important to maintain this momentum and concentrate on motivating your employees and implementing a positive company culture.

You and your business leaders will need to think about your team and how to keep them motivated. And of course, all of your employees are different and so a ‘one size fits all’ approach probably won’t satisfy. You will need to consider your overall team but also the individual needs within that team.

Make sure your employees understand your vision for 2020 – We all need goals and so it’s important that they understand the overall business strategic direction and what needs to happen to achieve this. Make them feel part of it and link this to their ongoing performance management.


Closely linked to the above, what do your staff need to advance their career and help you achieve your goals for next year? Do you have, in place, a learning and development framework? If not, it’s worth making this a priority for 2020. As we’ve discussed, all of your employees are different. Some will want to carry on as they are and are happy in their roles and like their current tasks and work/life balance. Every organisation needs this type of employee. But, what about those who get bored easily and want a new challenge or want to know there is space for them to advance within their department or the wider business?

Make sure you know your people so that you can tailor their Learning and Development journey to their needs, wants and desires. It’s much better to invest in a high performer, than risk losing them to another business because they don’t feel that there’s room for growth within their current role. The cost of recruitment for a single employee amounts to, on average £3000 and this is purely recruitment costs, not taking into account the time it will take to induct this person into your business – And so, it’s vital you invest in your current employees and give them multiple reasons to stay.


You may well have given some sort of Christmas bonus in December based on either a flat rate, percentage of salary or percentage of profits for example. However, what do your employees now have to look forward to and how will their efforts be effectively rewarded? Take a look at some of our previous articles which concentrated on employee recognition – How to define it and how to celebrate it, which gives a great insight on this subject. Our blog on the 10 most sought after work perks will also be useful here too.


We’ve written a few articles on wellbeing and mental health and this is particularly salient in January with the fun of Christmas gone, dreary weather, dark nights and what appears to be, very little to look forward to and wallets running extremely dry. As a result, this can have huge repercussions on employee wellbeing and can leave your staff feeling depressed, anxious and stressed.

Ensure your business leaders and managers are trained in this area so that they can recognise the signs and take action where needed. It may be that you have a wellbeing or mental health advisor but if not, your managers should be equipped to tackle these issues. Ensure your managers are approachable and your employees know they can seek help and their needs will be taken seriously. And if it’s the managers who are feeling the effects, the same applies to your leadership team. Wellbeing should always be a business priority, now and throughout the remainder of the year.

Promote exercise and healthy eating to help boost the mood and energy levels of your employees. Yes, there will be rain and even snow, but when you can get your employees away from their desks and outside as it can do wonders for the mind and body and as a result motivation levels.


The winter months often see heightened cases of coughs, colds, the flu and sickness bugs – In fact, it’s renowned for it. Make sure your sickness policy is in place and ensure employees don’t feel the pressure to come into work if they do have a bug. The last thing you want is for them to spread this around the office and end up with multiple people off at the same time, purely because someone felt they couldn’t call in sick.

Unfortunately, all businesses will feel the effects of the January blues in some way shape or form. However, it should never be seen as an inevitable aspect of the New Year. As you can see, there are some simple steps you can take to tackle this and ensure your staff remain focused and motivated to take you through the year on a high. With your Leadership and Management teams on board, you can make for a fruitful and January and create a strong foundation for the year ahead.

If you require additional support with any of these areas, please do not hesitate to contact us on: 01453 297557 or send an email to