01/10/2017 05:25 EST | Updated 01/10/2017 05:25 EST

How Employers Can Combat The January Job Hunt

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We've likely all heard the term "new year, new you". The new year is often a time to resolve, to reset, to set goals and to plan ahead. And with an eye on the future, this might mean considering a career change.

January is one of the most popular times of the year to look for a job. At, we see a surge in job-seekers take place each January, lasting well into February.

The good news for job-seekers is that it's also a month that tends to see a spike in job ads being posted. Many companies are working with fresh budgets to kick off the calendar year and, as a result, receive approval to hire for new positions. But while this might be good news for job-seekers, this might mean employers are starting out the year with reduced retention levels.

In January, employers should avoid resting on their laurels; now is the time to step up retention efforts. If you manage staff, here are some tips to consider as the year kicks into full swing.

Acknowledge if annual goals were met

If you haven't already, you might want to consider showing appreciation to employees who met or exceeded goals in the previous year. This might encompass targets ranging from sales or lead-generation, to client or customer satisfaction, to productivity and project completion.

Employees who put in a lot of effort and care to close out the previous year may feel a renewed sense of commitment to your company if you genuinely demonstrate your appreciation for their hard work. The method by which you show appreciation may vary, but the thought will certainly count.

Recognize employees individually

If your company has a rewards program in place, you may be tempted to think the rewards and recognition that are doled out through the program will appease employees. But it might go a long way if you show some thanks beyond what might be expected, such as a hand-written "thank-you" card. This can help to personalize the appreciation and reiterate your company's commitment to the individual as a valued member of staff.

It's always important to keep in mind that a one-size-fits-all approach to appreciation is not always the best strategy. Every employee is different - and this goes beyond generation gaps.

Offer opportunities for growth

One key way to keep staff engaged is to allow them to take on new challenges. Some employees may be particularly driven when presented with a growth opportunity. If possible, think about enabling your employees to learn a new skill, work with different colleagues or with different practice groups. Consider what might be a welcome challenge on an individual level, but be sure to provide the guidance and support needed to help them succeed.

Don't forget the fun

When employees head into work in January after the holidays, many facing sub-zero winter temperatures for months on end, they might end up feeling disengaged from their job. The dreary and cold weather in January might motivate an employee to consider greener pastures elsewhere.

Think about counteracting this by infusing some fun into the workplace. Engage your social committee, if you have one - and if you don't, now's a great time to formally put one together. This doesn't need to be "formal" fun, either. Maybe it's a surprise breakfast treat for your staff, or an impromptu gathering in an office on a Friday afternoon. Think about what's appropriate and might be valued that can add a smile during a stressful week.

Ensure your company is attractive to applicants

Ultimately, if you have an employee who has made the firm decision to find a new role, these steps might not diffuse their urge to exit. But for those employees considering a move, or those on the fence, these techniques could help combat their desire to hop jobs and convince them to stick with your company.

Your company might also reap the benefits of attracting professionals from other companies who have decided to look for a new job. The steps you take to retain your staff may also serve to entice applicants to join your team this year.

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