Keeping your employees engaged in their work can be a challenge…especially during the holiday season. The holiday season lasts roughly from the week of Thanksgiving until after New Year's, and managers who can't find ways to keep their team motivated risk losing a lot of money during the fall and winter months.
Below are 9 ways to keep your employees engaged this holiday season.
- Celebrate success — This is important all year round, but is especially helpful in keeping employees focused on finishing out the year strong. It can be as simple as using positive reinforcement, such as thank-you cards, phone calls or a congratulatory email when you see an employee performing well. If the accomplishment is much larger, you can treat the individual or entire team to an impromptu get together. This could include lunch, pizza or drinks at a local pub. You can also celebrate the holidays by taking the team to a seasonal, festive movie.
- Give them the tools for success —Take the time this holiday season to ask employees what needs replacing and what other problems you might help them solve. They'll appreciate your efforts and will likely stay a little more engaged in their work this holiday season.
- Organize gift exchanges – A popular Christmas tradition is the Secret Santa gift exchange. Colleagues randomly choose names out of a hat and must anonymously buy a present for whomever they wind up picking. Be sure to set a small spending limit.
- Have each employee send out one handwritten thank you note a day to someone who has helped them. You’ll be surprised to find that you never run out of people to thank and you’ll boost the feeling of gratitude and joy within the office personnel.
- Holiday Parties – These do not have to be a glamorous event. They can be a gathering after work at the office or a favorite restaurant. Most employers don’t have the budget for the latter, and it is not important that the event be a high dollar expense. What is important is that you plan it, and invite the employees with enough time to adequately make plans to attend and get excited for it. The pre-party excitement is part of the fun – and is part of employee “engagement” process.
- Holiday Gifts - These can come in a variety of forms. It is best to choose a gift that will be remembered or appreciated for the long term by the employees. While cash gifts are desirable and easy, they are typically three times more expensive than non-cash gifts. They also do not have a lasting emotional effect. This means that there is less opportunity for an emotional connection with the gift. If the goal is to motivate and inspire performance, a gift with a high emotional effect is essential.
- Promote charity work – The holidays are a particularly popular time when it comes to charity. There’s nothing like giving back to the community to raise employee morale.
- Decorations – Be culturally aware – If you’re going to be organizing office parties and gift exchanges, decorations are a must. But keep in mind the other religions around the office. In this day and age, it’s extremely important to be ethnically sensitive
- Time off – Since things slow down considerably during the holidays, it is the perfect opportunity for bosses to show their appreciation by allowing for some extra time off if possible. Everyone appreciates a day off, especially during Christmas