Blue Monday: Six ways the CMI/Glassdoor top 20 keep team morale high
This is how the UK’s top employers keep team spirits high on the most depressing day of the year
Mix darker mornings with earlier nights, add a pinch of colder temperatures, and blend together with the lingering festive hangover and already failing New Year’s Resolutions – and you get Blue Monday.
Today is said to be the most depressing day of the year. At work, the ‘winter blues’ could mean employees experience low energy levels and motivation – and this could dent productivity and wellbeing.
With this in mind, we asked experts from the CMI/Glassdoor top 20 – the highest-scoring UK companies for company culture and leadership – to share the ways that they lift their team’s mood – and you can too.
1. They say ‘thank you’ to their teams
Home care provider Helping Hands makes an effort to recognise the achievements of its employees who are working in a notoriously physically and emotionally demanding industry.
Managers reward staff with pin badges to mark their achievements and stimulate peer-to-peer recognition, and host special award presentations with the firm’s executive director on a regular basis.
Tim Lee, CEO of Helping Hands told CMI Insights: “The smallest gestures can have the biggest impact – when we introduced our set of ‘Wow – we think you are amazing!’ postcards we had to reprint them within a week!”
2. They give employees a day off with the family
A respect for family and personal time is at the core of telecoms provider Chess’s workplace culture. The company’s ‘Harvest Festival rule’ encourages people to take time off to attend key family events, from their child’s sports day to a hospital appointment with a relative. Staff make up the time later, once they are fully refreshed.
David Pollock, CEO and founder of Chess explained: “We know if people are happy at work they will be happier at home and they will also go over and above for our customers.”
3. They help them buy houses – and holidays
Goodman Masson wants its staff to feel supported so it offers unique financial benefits that improve their personal lives. In 2012, it launched a mortgage scheme to allow employees to save a deposit for their first home. Workers add 20% of their salary to the fund for a three-year period: at the end of that time the company adds 50% to its total.
In addition, the company pays for exotic holidays in advance, and employees pay back just 80% of the cost over a 12-month period.
This helps to create a happy and connected workforce. “There’s a different bond, and feel, towards Goodman Masson as an employer,” according to Andrew Michael, group managing director.
4. They think about their surroundings
Hiscox is among the firms to invest in making their offices attractive to employees. It displays a varied art collection, has a decommissioned rocket in the reception of its York office and adds finishing touches like ‘thank you’ boards to celebrate achievements. The message? The workplace is a welcoming and interesting place to be.
Amanda Brown, group HR director at Hiscox said: “We’ve always had a reputation for doing things differently – whether that’s how we treat our customers, the diverse career paths people forge with us or our unique working environments.” She described the office design as “sparking conversation”.
5. They motivate staff with professional development opportunities
Giving employees a professional focus can help them feel fulfilled on the toughest of days. At Anglian Water, the company challenges its top performers to become leaders through its ‘Transforming Our Leadership’ programme, where they learn how to boost company performance and motivate those around them.
Peter Simpson, CEO of Anglian Water said: “We enable our employees to take ownership of their business area and drive us forward.”
6. They ask questions
Through surveys, interviews and recognition schemes, business services group Rentokil Initial gathers opinions from employees at every level to ensure any issues are addressed immediately.
“I think as a team we are visible – we don't duck difficult issues – we hold our hands up when we're wrong and say sorry; we actively look to catch people doing the right things and we say thank you; and we are totally aware that our businesses are about frontline colleagues, and they are our priority,” area managing director Phill Wood explained.
Read more: Insights from the CMI/Glassdoor top 20