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As the most depressing month of the year comes to an end, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are rejoicing at the likelihood of fewer resignations among their staff, according to Sandler Training UK.

According to the survey of 2,000 SME owners, the increase in staff resignations is one of the biggest bugbears during January, with respondents claiming that resignations increase by 12%.

With the CIPD estimating that the cost of replacing each employee is £4,800, the higher rate of workers leaving their jobs equates to tens of thousands of pounds and a feeling of starting the year on the back-foot.

Other key factors that are affecting the bad mood of UK small business owners are the cold weather (68%), frustration at returning to work after the holidays (23%) and annoyances over the daily commute (9%). These factors leave business owners believing that morale in January is 14% lower when compared to the rest of the year.

Shaun Thomson, CEO of Sandler Training UK, said: “January is notorious for being bad news for business, but it needn’t be the case. The New Year should signal a new start. To ensure that 2016 targets are hit and staff retention is boosted small businesses should also focus on setting goals that they can track throughout the year. Having a good annual plan is key – and delivering this via a day offsite gives the whole company an opportunity to buy in and re-energise.

“Small business owners should also consider coupling this planning with taking some time off to relax and reflect; less than a quarter of our survey respondents (22%) took annual leave in January and having this additional time is hugely beneficial and motivating."