How To Beat The January Blues At Your Startup

We’re mid-January 2020 and according to most people, and some official studies, it’s the most depressing time of year. 

Even if you’ve followed our low cost & effective employee perks guide and your startup is already a great place to work, it’s around now your employees are more likely to start looking for something new. 

The excitement of the holiday build up has long since passed, as has any excitement to return to work refreshed, catch up with colleagues and start the year with a bang.

If you’re finding your office feels a bit flat, here are 5 ways to beat the January blues at your startup and reignite your employees’ passion for their work. 

Commit to a social schedule 

Teams which socialise together outside of the office work better together inside of the office.

Organised social activities are a great low cost way of improving productivity, boosting morale and reducing employee churn. 

If you’re employees see one another as friends, they’ll better support each other and will find it harder to look for something new – they’re not just leaving a job, they’re leaving their friends. 

An annual Christmas party just isn’t enough, the effects don’t last long enough. We suggest a low key social activity once per month – drinks, mini-golf, bowling – something which most people will get involved with and enjoy.

Clearly you’ll want to make this inclusive of everyone – the activity isn’t particular important, it’s the bringing people together that matters most. 

Foster friendships with shared interests 

As mentioned, ensuring employees build friendships at work is a great way of retaining your your staff. 

Company wide events are a good way of building this but so is fostering small scale interactions between individuals. 

Whether you’re a Founder, or you manage a team of any size, you should get to know who your employees are and what interests them outside of work. Use this to help forge friendships between two people with shared interests. 

If a few of your staff want to get into running to improve their fitness, why not suggest a lunchtime running club a two days per week with the aim of doing a 5k park run in a month’s time together? 

Maybe you have a couple of avid readers, why not start a book club? The beauty of this is, it doesn’t need to be big – as long as you have two employees with a shared interest it works! 

Realign targets & KPI’s

New year, new targets! It’s a great opportunity to really look at the targets you’ve been setting your team and explore what’s working and what isn’t. 

How relevant really are your teams targets based on your business goals, how regularly are they hitting them or do they consistently fall short.

There’s no need to wait until the end of the target cycle to redefine the targets. If you’re three months into your annual target, with every month missed and a miracle now needed to meet the annual goal, just take a good look at it, and redefine the target to make it more realistic. 

Working to unrealistic targets is a fast way to damage team morale. If you can align your team targets so they’re genuinely meaningful to business goals and only just out of reach, you’ll be amazed at how your team will pull together and deliver. 

Double down on training & development

We could write a whole series of posts on training & development but it’s a key way of keeping your employees happy. 

If your employees feel like they’re constantly progressing and learning something new, they’ll stay with you. 

How often have you experienced a training culture which only goes as far as a training handout on day one and a few quick pointers during the first week?

Take the time so set development goals with your employees individually, work out what’s missing and then fill the gap with training. 

Start with Why

Everyone needs to know and be part of your company’s ‘Why’. If you haven’t seen Simon Sinek’s TED talk ‘How Great Leader’s Inspire Action’ you should watch it here

It’s eye opening, but also common sense. For employees, make sure they feel they’re part of your startup’s ‘Why’. Not what your startup does, not how your startup does it but why it does it. 

If each individual employee feels their role is genuinely contributing to your company’s ‘Why’ you’ll see their engagement and productivity skyrocket. 


At Hired By Startups we’re a leading startup recruitment agency, helping high growth startups source, engage & hire the best commercial talent. So whether you need to make a single hire, recruit an entire team or hire a leadership role, we’ve got you covered.

To explore how we could help you hire, get in touch. 


About the author 

Tom Ladds

Hi, I’m Tom – Founder & CEO at Hired By Startups. You can connect with me on LinkedIn here.

Startup Recruiting