Navigating Career Development during the Holidays: Motivators, Stressors, and Strategies
As the year begins winding down, many people have started reflecting on what has passed and contemplating what will come. One of the considerations in play is career development.
Lately, we’ve been talking with leaders seeking to improve team dynamics and individuals wanting to prepare for new opportunities. Whether reskilling or upskilling, a trend has emerged: how do you balance career aspirations and training with holiday business?
We get it.
The holiday season can amplify career-related stressors, making it essential to address and alleviate anxieties associated with career training during this time.
Employees are motivated to learn. They also experience career-related stress, especially this time of year. Therefore, it’s essential to help them balance career advancement and self-care.
Career Development Motivators
Learning is a powerful motivator; 76% of employees want training. They recognize the need to develop skills to enhance their job performance. Their reasons include:
- Personal Growth and Fulfillment: Many individuals are motivated by the desire for personal growth and fulfillment in their careers. Pursuing opportunities that align with one’s passions and values can serve as a powerful motivator, propelling individuals toward achieving their career goals.
- Recognition and Rewards: Recognition for one’s efforts and the prospect of tangible rewards, such as promotions or salary increases, can be strong motivators. Employees often seek acknowledgment for their contributions, and a clear career development path can provide the framework for such recognition.
- Learning and Skill Enhancement: A common motivator is a desire for continuous learning and skill enhancement. Employees who value professional development opportunities are more likely to engage in career training programs, viewing them as a means to acquire new skills and stay competitive.
When your employees learn is as important as what they learn. Your employees have little time for training — about 1% of the workweek. Therefore, coordinated training and self-paced options are essential to employee success and well-being. Without them, employees are more likely to experience anxiety and burnout.
Career Development Stressors
On the flip side, job training can elevate stress — at any time of the year. One-third of your employees are emotionally exhausted. Holidays often worsen stress because employees struggle to juggle work and seasonal demands:
- Uncertainty and Ambiguity: Ambiguity surrounding career paths and future opportunities can induce stress. Employees may feel anxious about needing more clarity in their professional trajectory, especially during organizational change or economic uncertainty.
- Work-Life Balance: Striking a balance between professional and personal life is a constant challenge. The pressure, especially during the holidays, to excel in one’s career may conflict with the desire for a fulfilling personal life, contributing to stress and anxiety.
- External Pressures: External factors such as economic downturns, market fluctuations, or industry changes can significantly impact career development. External pressures can create a sense of instability and insecurity, intensifying stress for individuals navigating their careers.
Reducing Career Training Anxiety
Remember that the holidays hold different expectations and emotions for each employee. Some may wish to skip festivities altogether, and others may feel guilty for taking time away from work.
You can help them reduce their anxious feelings with these strategies:
- Establish Realistic Goals: Set realistic and achievable career development goals, considering short-term and long-term objectives. Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks to make progress more tangible and less overwhelming.
- Effective Time Management: During the holiday season, time management becomes crucial. Create a realistic schedule that accommodates both career training and holiday festivities. Prioritize tasks and allocate dedicated time for career-related activities.
- Seek Support and Guidance: Reach out to mentors, colleagues, or career development professionals for support and guidance. Sharing concerns and seeking advice can provide valuable perspectives and alleviate feelings of isolation.
- Mindfulness and Self-Care: Incorporate mindfulness techniques and self-care practices into daily routines. Whether meditation, exercise, or taking breaks to recharge, these activities can help manage stress and improve overall well-being.
- Celebrate Achievements: Take time to reflect on and celebrate achievements, no matter how small. Recognizing progress and accomplishments can boost confidence and motivation, making it easier to navigate career development challenges.
Career development is a complex journey influenced by various motivators and stressors. So are the holidays. Understanding these factors and implementing effective strategies to mitigate anxiety is crucial.
Your holistic approach to employee training can empower employees to overcome challenges and foster a sense of professional fulfillment.