Keeping yourself and your team energised at the end of the year can be a real challenge. Not only are people winding down from a busy year, but often the preparations for the year ahead can leave employees short of inspiration and lacking the energy needed to make the final push. In this article, we’ll share some simple but effective ways to help you and your team to refuel your energy for the final push. Before we get started, though, it’s important to recognise the natural cycle that our energy moves through, and the dangers of not respecting this process.
Understanding the Energy Cycle
As it is in nature, so it is in human life. We’re all part of a natural process of ebb and flow. This rhythm can be seen in the four seasons, or the daily progress of the sun across the sky. We’re constantly going through a cycle of preparing, executing, reflecting, and planning. We do this every day from when we wake up to when we go to sleep. It also happens monthly, quarterly, and annually.
The energy cycle presented by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz shows different energy zones – from high, positive energy to low, negative energy. These zones are performance, survival, burnout, and recovery. We will all inevitably go through each one of these zones; however staying in any of them for a long time can negatively impact the energy and the overall drive of the company over time.
Leadership Tip: Take the time to acknowledge what phase of the cycle your company is in, as well as where each individual employee is in their personal cycle. This will help you and your team set goals, considering what is expected, realistic, and healthy for everyone. Whatever your industry, learning to recognise this cycle can ensure that you and your team use, maintain, and conserve energy effectively so that you’re able to refuel your energy for the final push.
How to Refuel Your Energy for the Final Push
Here are some tips which have been based on ongoing research in the fields of Organisational and Positive Psychology. Use them to keep yourself and your team motivated to reach the end of the year energetically and satisfactorily.
1) Reflect on the Past: Celebrate Successes
When we come to the end of the year, everyone is ready for a big end-of-year party to blow off steam and celebrate achievements. While this is common practice and a fun way to end off the year, making time for smaller celebrations at this crucial time can help to uplift people’s energy and to reflect positively on what has been achieved over the year. There are many ways to celebrate, but thinking of sustainable, fun and individualised recognition of each person’s contributions to the year’s successes is a sure-fire way of boosting team morale as the energy wanes.
2) Prepare for the Future: Identify Development Areas and Receive Feedback
Most companies generally do performance reviews regularly at least once a year. Setting time aside with each individual employee to talk through their desires, needs and growth areas can help people feel supported and acknowledged. This personal attention can help to set goals for the year ahead, and make employees feel that the company is willing to support their progress and professional development. Forming a plan for the future, and receiving feedback on what has been achieved, can help people commit to the progress cycle and see the bigger picture. This, in turn, creates meaning which helps to refuel your energy for the final push.
3) Stay in the Present: Cultivate a Gratitude Practice
Gratitude is highly effective at motivating employees and building a positive workplace culture. Studies have shown the benefits it has for individuals, relationships, and the company as a whole. From improved cardiovascular health, to raised levels of customer loyalty, it is a worthwhile (and simple) strategy to keep people motivated and engaged. The end of the year is the perfect time to initiate this practice. It helps employees see the positive in their year, and feel grateful for the colleagues, leaders and personal resources that have allowed them to make progress. Having people express this gratitude to each other during team meetings or at the end of year function will help to boost energy levels, increase positive emotions, and create a greater sense of job satisfaction.
Maintaining your team’s energy at the end of the year can be a struggle. But if you know where employees are in their energy cycle and where the company is in the process, you can be realistic about what is achievable before the end of year, without compromising health and happiness at work. By celebrating your accomplishments, setting goals for the year ahead, and encouraging a culture of gratitude and appreciation, you can simply and easily keep staff morale high and help your team to refuel their energy.