Has It Stopped Yet?

Has it stopped yet ?


You may have spent the last week or so wishing everyone you meet a “Happy New Year”.

That’s great.  You’re a nice person.  Well done.

You may also have been wished a “Happy New Year” by friends you’ve been with, acquaintances you’ve bumped into or random strangers who are getting on the same bus, in the same queue, holding a door open etc.  You get the picture.

That’s great too.  It’s nice when people you don’t know say something positive and uplifting.

But has it stopped yet ?

We all have that feeling at some point in January when we aren’t quite sure whether it’s still OK to say “Happy New Year” to people you are seeing for the first time in the  year.   There isn’t an official cut-off date. It would feel stupid in February, but how far into January can we stretch this?

Why not just change the words and keep the sentiment?

“Have an enjoyable week”

“Hope things go well for you”

“Good luck with work today”

Now it may be that you already DO say these things to your close friends and family.   But I’m willing to bet that you DON’T convey this type of thought to unknown people on the bus, in the shops or elsewhere.  Just take a moment to think about why.  Because it’s weird?  Because people don’t do that kind of thing?  But if you’re happy to wish a random person a “Happy New Year”, what’s the problem with saying something else positive and uplifting to them.  Be it next week, February, March or at any point?

So what’s this got to do with employee engagement and morale?

Well, this is the same issue that organisations face when it comes to keeping the impetus going with any kind of engagement programme or internal communications exercise.  It’s easy to start off with great intentions and say all the right things in the first few weeks.  Then you soon realise that your own (organisational) enthusiasm is diminishing quickly and people themselves are less receptive to your messages.

It’s a tough job to ensure that your employee engagement programme is a living and breathing part of your culture.  It’s way too easy to start with all good intentions and be done with it by (a metaphorical) February.

The solution is to change the words and keep the sentiment.  As long as your communications are designed with the same strategy in mind (for example, “making people feel positive about the action and changes that we are making as a result of our recent survey project”), then it’s certainly possible to ring the changes consistently throughout the whole year and keep the engagement programme alive and keep morale on a high.  We do this type of work with our clients to ensure that post-survey action planning is not a one-hit-wonder. It’s a planned, consistent approach to ensuring that your staff witness and appreciate the value of the changes that you are implementing.

Far too many organisations do the engagement equivalent of wishing their staff a “Happy New Year” and then wait another 12 months to repeat the exercise.    They are missing the point.