Recruiting often slows during the winter months—especially after the winter holidays. However, winter is also when many job candidates set goals and plan for the coming year. This may include searching for new jobs and opportunities. Simultaneously, employers may notice decreased workplace productivity and morale associated with the cold, dark weather and stress of the holidays and winter months. Left unaddressed, a winter slump can negatively impact employee satisfaction and retention, leading to increased turnover rates and other employment challenges. Savvy employers can use winter employment challenges as opportunities to attract talented job candidates and reenergize the workforce.

Winter Attraction Tips 

Many individuals have more free time around the holidays and in the absence of warm-weather activities. This provides an opportunity for employers to boost their recruiting efforts at a time when potential candidates have more free time and lenient schedules. Employers can consider the following strategies to improve winter attraction: 

  • Ramp up social media efforts.
  • Launch an employee referral program. 
  • Build a talent pipeline to take advantage of the reduced hiring competition. • Recruit college or university students who graduated during the 2023 fall semester or prepare for spring 2024 graduation. 
  • Use employment websites to improve branding and candidate outreach. 
  • Be quick and transparent with all candidate communications.

Winter Retention Tips

During the winter, employees are often less socially and physically active. Additionally, many individuals experience a post-holiday slump, which refers to a period of mental fatigue or depression due to the emotional, financial and physical stress of the holiday season. These factors can negatively impact employees’ mental health and workplace performance, contributing to employee burnout and high turnover. Employers can consider the following practices to boost employee engagement and retention during the winter months:

  • Recognize and reward employees for good work and accomplishments.
  • Encourage goal-setting at the team, department and individual level.
  • Train employees to ensure they’re well-equipped to handle their workplace responsibilities.
  • Host active work breaks, such as 10-minute stretching or exercise options around the office.
  • Offer employees flexibility on days of severe winter weather.
  • Check in with employees on a personal and professional level.
  • Celebrate and encourage employees’ personal successes (e.g., birthdays and weddings).
  • Encourage employees to take work breaks together.
  • Encourage employees to take paid time off. 

Employers who adopt a proactive approach to attraction and retention during the winter months can combat employment challenges that might otherwise contribute to low morale, decreased productivity and high turnover rates.