Hopefully employee engagement and morale is a year-round focus and effort for your company, but the holiday season certainly brings out an elevated level of giving thanks and celebrating those around us. For some of your employees, however, the holidays may be extra stressful. Trying to balance the demands of hosting family or traveling to see family, purchasing gifts, attending religious services, volunteering at food banks, and countless other holiday-related obligations alongside work deadlines and expectations, this season may leave people feeling overloaded.
Depending on budget, some companies can offer more perks than others, but even the little things can make a big difference in employee morale. Here are a few ideas to show your employees some extra gratitude and appreciation this holiday season:
1. Flexible Scheduling: Allow employees to come in a little early so they can leave early to get some holiday shopping done or work a longer 4 day work-week so employees can have a full day to take care of other responsibilities.
2. Gifts of Thanks: The more personalized the better! In a very small company it may be easy to buy an individual gift for each employee, larger employers may not have this much flexibility. Individual gifts show employees that you know more about them than just the work they do! For larger employers, consider items that can have individual names or photos printed on them or select a different gift for each department/work team. If physical gifts are not in the budget, consider a hand-written note or personal call to an employees home. Sure, this will take a little time, but it goes a long when an employee knows their individual contributions are acknowledged and appreciated! I can say from personal experience, I still have a few thank you cards that were written to me from my old managers!
3. Holiday Gatherings: This doesn’t have to be a full-blown party (or it can be!), but maybe provide a lunch, or host a pot-luck where everyone can bring in their favorite season dish! This is a great way to celebrate the diverse workforce you have! One article I read suggested having a Hot Cocoa/Hot Cider party! I particularly loved that idea because it can be done cost-consciously and yet would be a great surprise afternoon pop-up event in the office!
4. Give back to the community: Sponsor a canned food drive or toy drive for a local charity. If possible, take a day where employees can volunteer at a local organization. If someone in your workplace is very active in a specific organization, consider sponsoring his or her charity! These types of volunteer events can really bring teams together while giving back in a way that means a lot to your community.
5. Make Human Connections: Encourage employees to share their stories and plans for the holidays! Not every conversation has to be entirely work-related. Consider posting a map in the break room for employees to mark where they are travelling for the holidays or creating a gratitude board where employees can thank each other for their efforts! These are great conversation starters! Inquiring about individuals’ holiday traditions and plans shows that you care about the individual, not just the work they produce. Bonus points if you can remember some of the highlights to ask about after the holiday season passes!
Regardless of budgets, there’s a lot that can be done to show employees you care during this holiday season! Remember that the small things can sometimes mean the most! Take this holiday season as an opportunity to show your ‘work family’ some love as well!