8 Tips to Keep Employee Engagement Up and the Grinch Away During the Holidays

Create an Employee Engagement Holiday Strategy

It’s now full-blown holiday mode with the accompanying end-of-the-year madness of reports, planning, scheduling, ordering, and meetings. Add personal holiday obligations, and the season of joy and thanks can turn into one of anxiety, stress, and expenses for employees. There are ways to bring out the Grinch in every employee or, on the other hand, help employees ride out the holiday madness while maintaining expected production levels.

Employee engagement inevitably takes a dip during the holidays. With these strategies, though, you can strive to keep employee engagement and spirits up during December.

Eight tips to keep employee engagement up during the holidays:

1. Follow through: If you promise an employee she can leave early to go to her sister’s Christmas concert, don’t last-minute cancel it because you need her. Now is not the time to break promises. This extra hour off will pay off in bounds later on.

2. Be Creative: The holidays can be a financial burden for many. Holiday parties and Secret Santa exchanges are tried-and-true traditions. But buying a nice shirt or getting an appointment to get hair done can be time consuming and costly. Adding pricey Secret Santa gift exchanges can be uncomfortable for some, and a time suck for any employee stuck searching for a gift for Phil in marketing. Be creative with office get-togethers: Have an in-house potluck lunch per department and save on the holiday party, instead giving each employee a gift certificate to a favorite eatery or food market. Let them choose who they want to spend a night with on you. Or, have your employees do a “Secret Santa Quote Exchange” … finding the funniest, silliest, and most inspiring quotes, jokes, and cartoons to share during a week.

3. Be Flexible: Know that ‘tis the season for things to get delayed at times. Inhale. Exhale. And push for normalcy. Surveys show that 50% of employees do online shopping while at work. Instead of battling the inevitable, create a shopping/social hour every week for employees to shop online, eat cookies, socialize and get a chance to feel the season for a bit. This break from the grind will help employees keep focused and on task the rest of the week.

4. Invest in Health and Wellness: Make sure your health and wellness program is up and running in December with alternative activities to give employees peace: yoga, meditation, a rumba class after hours. These activities might be the only respite they get during the week.

5. Keep Energy Levels Up: December is notorious for high-sweet, high-salt foods. Though we love to indulge, they take a toll on our brains and energy levels. Make sure your office staff room has a healthy supply of cut vegetables and fruits, healthy snacks, sparkling water – especially during the holidays. Your employees will feel better and perform better when they eat better.

6. Give, give, give … as a company: Set up an office toy drive, book drive or canned food drive. Make it fun by competing within departments seeing who can collect the most. Have employees sign up for a day of volunteering at your organization’s favorite charity. These things are small reminders of what this time of year, and all year, is about – sharing, caring, and being human.

7. Celebrate: Some people will want to deck the halls, their desks, and jingle bell rock the entire office all December. Others practice other religions, have other traditions, or quite simply don’t want to participate. Keep the Christmas madness to a minimum. Respect everyone’s individual traditions. This doesn’t mean you have to forego decorating all together. Be inclusive. Keep the atmosphere relaxed and low-key.

8. Employee Appreciation: Bonuses, gift baskets, gift certificates … all of these are ways to show employees what they mean to the organization. Better yet, add a personalized note for each employee specifically expressing what you appreciate about her work. If, for whatever reason, your company has hit a tough patch and cannot give out holiday bonuses, please let your employees know ahead of time. Instead of bonuses, though, make sure they receive something – whether it be a gift certificate to a local indie bookstore, a Santa stocking filled with favorite holiday treats, a toy for a child, or homemade cinnamon rolls.

Juggling work and the holidays can be exceptionally difficult. Keeping employees engaged, on task, and producing is a phenomenal effort. Budget for December blahs a year in advance, knowing you'll need those extra yoga classes and meditation workshops. Don't get caught short for lack of planning because with a few well thought out strategies that get to the essence of what your employees need, you can ride out the season and fit in a few Ho! Ho! Hos! and Mazel tovs!

Custominsight wishes you peace, health, success, and engagement during this time of year and always.

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