A terrific way to foster connection and safety, belonging, and mattering in your culture is for the CEO to have lunch with small groups of…
As the holidays kick into high-gear, family-related obligations lead to an influx of time off requests across entire organizations. This causes projects to slow, or in some cases grind to a halt, and often places a burden on managers to produce the same output or better with significantly less staff members on-call.
For employees who decide to power through, absenteeism and low morale can become rampant. Some employees may physically show up to work, but their mind remains preoccupied with holiday shopping or related personal issues. In addition, the stress of meeting end-of-year sales or performance goals may cause some employees to buckle and burn out under pressure.
Luckily, there are many ways to keep employee engagement high, and your workforce rested and fulfilled throughout this particularly hectic holiday season. To help brainstorm what incentives might work for your business, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite tactics that have worked for other companies, particularly those with dispersed or primarily non-desk workforces.
One great way to instill a holiday season mood boost is to host a daytime off-site event where employees are treated to a nice meal and a fun activity. For non-desk or dispersed workforces in which many employees don’t get to directly interface with their colleagues every day, throwing an event where employees can socialize in a more laid-back context helps build trust and camaraderie throughout your company.
A great example of how this incentive worked for a dispersed workforce is LessAccounting.com, an accounting software provider. To help bring together employees in six different time zones, the executive staff throws a party at a time where all their employees can meet in a video chat. They shop online together to buy each team member a gift while enjoying food and refreshments. Co-founder Allan Branch told Entrepreneur.com, “We have no water cooler. It is really easy to have a whole bunch of strangers who do not interact at all.” With this remote event approach, the gifting activity is gamified so that each gift recipient has to put their microphone on mute when the team is discussing what gift they should get for them.
At the start of the holiday season, make it known that those who display exemplary levels of fortitude and leadership during the difficult winter months have the potential to be rewarded with bonus days off, redeemable in the Spring once things slow down.
For parents of kids with spring break and employees wishing to save their vacation for when the temperature begins to rise, this could be a great way to make sure that a healthy population of your employees will remain steadfast and focused through the end of the year.
With an operational communication platform, you can post pictures, videos, and stories that highlight the contribution of these dedicated employees during the busy holiday season. Host a contest for most festive workplace attire, or best calm response in a stressful service situation, and poll your workforce to vote on their favorite or most compelling story that exemplifies your company's core values. Employee engagement initiatives such as these will keep your better workforce connected and committed to continuing to give their best in spite of the season's ample diversions.
There are many ways to help alleviate this, but the most important aspect of this strategy is to communicate clearly through your actions that you care about your employees from a holistic perspective, not just the aspects of wellness that pertain directly to their day to day tasks. Posting wellness tips and resources such as stretching or meditation videos in an operational communication platform leading up to, during, and after the holidays is a great way to make sure self-care is a priority for your workforce during this time.
Corporate health programs are a popular way of keeping employees healthy and engaged at the same time. Jeremy Smith, co-founder & COO of on-demand parking startup SpotHero brings in yoga and meditation specialists to the office during holiday season to help employees relax. He told CIO.com, “Having someone come to the office makes it very easy for employees to take a break from their busy schedules and find a moment to relax.”
Disney employees at all levels benefit from deep holiday discounts and extra theme park passes during the Christmas season. As former Epcot greeter Heather Sliwinski reported to Business Insider, "Disney treats their cast members very well — we got additional family and friends park passes for the holidays, extra discounts on merchandise and food," Sliwinski said. "I was able to have my parents come visit before Christmas because they provided extra guest tickets. It was really nice!"