Employee Engagement During the Holiday Season: A How-To Guide

Christina Boodée Leave a comment

Less than one third of U.S. workers are engaged in their job at any given time of the year, but it is significantly harder to keep employees involved and motivated from Thanksgiving until the New Year. Companies across the country struggle to maintain productivity at the end of each year as many employees take the same days off or work remotely. While in the office, employees are distracted by everything from the kids being out of school to the stress of finishing up holiday shopping—in fact, 50 percent of workers admitted to spending some time online shopping at work this holiday season.

What can you do to make sure that your employees stay focused throughout the end of the year? Here are four tips for fostering employee engagement in your workplace during this festive time of year.

1. Plan Ahead
Set expectations early for employee attendance and behavior during the holiday season. If you are in the retail, hospitality or healthcare industries, it’s very likely that you will need employees working every single day of the year—even on Christmas, Hanukkah or Mawlid. It is imperative that your employees are aware of your company’s policies from day one!

In addition to educating employees about PTO policies, encourage employees to submit time-off requests well in advance so you can coordinate schedules and approve as many requests as possible. If your company is not particularly busy between Christmas and the New Year—and you’re feeling particularly generous—consider giving your employees a holiday treat by closing the office or allowing employees to work from home during the last week of the year. After all, ’tis the season to embrace workplace flexibility!

2. Prioritize and Set Goals
Just like Santa Claus needed Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to guide his sleigh through a foggy Christmas Eve, your employees need you to guide them through the distractions of the holiday season.

Take a good look at all of the outstanding tasks on your company’s to-do list and prioritize them based on what absolutely needs to get done before the New Year. Motivate employees by setting specific goals and rewarding the employees who meet objectives. A little positive reinforcement can go a long way!

3. Give Back
What better time is there than the holidays to fulfill some of your corporate social responsibility? Give back to your community and simultaneously boost employee morale by hosting a toy drive, matching employee gifts to charities of their choice, or allowing employees to take PTO in order to volunteer. This tactic will go over especially well with your Millennial employees, as almost 70 percent consider giving back to be one of their highest priorities.

As Bill Murray’s character said in the 1988 film Scrooged, the holiday season is the one time of the year that “we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more…for a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be.” Increase employee engagement and help your employees be the people they strive to be by giving back to your community this season.

4. Make Time for Celebration
Perhaps the best way to keep employees engaged during the winter season is by allowing them to indulge in the holiday cheer! Show your employees how much they are appreciated by hosting a party or small gift exchange. HR guru Sharlyn Lauby suggests hosting a celebration in January so that your employees don’t have to choose between your company party and other holiday commitments they may have. Of course, if you choose to celebrate your employees with a party, ensure that all festivities are respectful and inclusive of all employees and adhere to all of your company’s drug, alcohol and anti-harassment policies.

Making time to celebrate the holidays and appreciate your employees is a surefire way to keep them engaged and invested your company. As a wise elf once said, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear!” Follow Buddy the Elf’s advice and spread some holiday cheer in your office this year!

Wishing everyone a cheerful and happy holiday season!!

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