For many employees, the holidays invoke a myriad of emotions. Some relish in the memories shared with close friends and families. Others are overwhelmed and stressed by gift lists. Meanwhile, a small few may be dealing with heartache and loss that comes to light this time of year.
Beyond the potluck meals and holiday celebrations, there are many ways we can engage employees in a meaningful way during this season.
The only thing worse than working on a holiday is unexpectedly working on a holiday. Set the stageahead of time for any additional hours employees may be expected to work beyond the norm. And if they are having to work during the season, ensure you are providing recognition and post-holiday recovery time. If your company is not particularly busy this time of year, make sure you communicate office closures with plenty of time for employees to make their travel plans. Take this opportunity to highlight your workplace flexibility to ensure employees use this time wisely to recharge and come back re-energized in the new year.
As you wrap up the year, it can be tempting to squeeze in those last-minute projects to reach your year-end goals. But often it’s better to wait until the new year to start new projects to ensure they receive the quality attention they deserve. The holidays are fraught with distraction and can be a difficult time to accomplish even everyday tasks. Make sure any extras you’re piling on their plates are 100% necessary. You want to enable employees to complete these tasks to the best of their abilities. By prioritizing only the necessary, you’ll be doing your employees, and yourself, a major favor.
The most obvious struggle for human resources, office managers or just workplace party-planners is finding the balance between festive and offensive. From the office decor to the tunes playing in the background, it can be difficult to please everyone. Remember to keep an open mind and listen to what employees want and how they want to celebrate the season. Every workplace is different. Try surveying your employees to get a feel for what makes this time special to them.
While we generally think of this season as a “jolly” time, for some people this year may be the toughest. Remember to navigate the holidays with sensitivity for those who may be dealing with a hard situation. Maybe it’s highlighting in-house grief counseling or sending a small note to someone to let them know you’re thinking of them. Each situation is different and every relationship unique. Let them know you recognize what they’re going through and provide a safe space to talk about it.
Year-end celebrations are a wonderful time to reconnect with your employees and revel in all you’ve accomplished this year; just remember to treat this time with sensitivity, respect and, of course, have fun!