The holiday season brings with it so much joy, merriment, and goodwill. From gift-getting to gift-giving to spending extra time with loved ones to taking more time to relax, there are so many good things about the holidays. For so many, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
For businesses? Maybe not so much. Keeping employees fully engaged and committed during the holiday season can be challenging, to say the least. With heavier workloads due to coworkers taking time off, distracted employees, unpredictable customer demands, and increased pressure to meet year-end goals, keeping employees engaged towards the end of the year can seem nearly impossible. Truly, it’s no wonder productivity tends to start slumping in mid-November.
However, keeping your employees engaged during the holiday months is crucial for your bottom line and overall staff satisfaction. Here are a few tips to help keep your employees motivated and finish out the year strong.
1. Reward and recognize great work
Show your employees how much you value their hard work and dedication this holiday season. Writing them a thank-you note or going out of your way to offer words of appreciation and encouragement will help keep them motivated to continue delivering great work, even when it’s difficult to stay focused.
Though verbal recognition is powerful, putting a structured rewards-based employee engagement program in place year-round can also help extend engagement into the holiday season. Be sure to highlight employee accomplishments regularly and consistently reward stellar work.
2. Be festive
Make sure some of that holiday cheer makes it to the office. Add some holiday- or winter-themed decorations. Hold a small secret Santa or white elephant gift exchange. Have an ugly sweater contest. Host a company-wide Christmas bake-off. Don’t ignore the holidays in an attempt to minimize distraction – embrace them to avoid employee resentment and invite a more lighthearted, stress-free atmosphere. It’ll help make your employees happier, more motivated, and more productive.
3. Offer a flexible schedule
During the holiday season, it can be difficult to fill schedules and make sure there are enough employees in the office every day. Offering your employees the extra personal time they need to visit family, plan for the holidays, and just take a break shows them that they are appreciated and gives them the chance to recharge. Your employees will likely be more productive before and after their time off. As for those employees that help fill in gaps while their coworkers are away on vacation, be sure to show gratitude and encourage other employees to do so as well.
4. Communicate year-end goals and holiday plans clearly
Whatever your goals and policies, make sure your employees are aware of them. Inform your employees of expectations early on. Reiterate your holiday scheduling guidelines. Be transparent about company-wide goals, progress, and needs. It’ll help your employees feel more valued and see how their role fits into the big picture. They’ll make better decisions and focus their work on contributing to those goals — just like you want them to!
5. Look Forward to the Future
Don’t wait until the new year starts to set goals — start setting new goals before the year ends. Encourage employees to get involved by suggesting areas that could be improved company-wide, and encourage them to set personal goals as well. Be specific and optimistic when looking forward to the future, and help employees see their individual roles and responsibilities in making the company’s vision a reality. It’ll help your employees get right back into the swing of things once they come back from taking time off.
6. Volunteer at a charity
Embrace what the holiday season is really about. As you give back to the community as a company, your employees will feel a sense of goodness and unity, sure to extend to the workplace. Whether you hold a toy/clothing drive, collect cans for a food drive, or volunteer at your local soup kitchen as a team, giving back is sure to boost morale collectively and individually. Plus, it’ll help put any struggles or stresses into proper perspective.
During these holiday months, think about your employees’ needs and capabilities. Help them feel that their work is meaningful, appreciated, and valued. As leaders, we have a responsibility to inspire our employees to action and productivity — understanding their needs is crucial to be able to do so. Your employees will be grateful for it, and it will show in their overall productivity and engagement!