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Workplace Inspiration for the Holiday Season

Now that December is here, everyone is preparing for the year end, closing out projects, and setting plans and intentions for 2018.

This last month of the year is a great opportunity to inspire and motivate your talent for the year ahead.   It’s also a great opportunity to recognize and reward them for the great work they accomplished this year!

Motivation and recognition are so important in December, because it can otherwise be quite a distracting month. In the US, employees are coming back from one big holiday and gearing up for the next.  Many people also schedule their remaining vacation time during December, which can result in not a whole lot getting done this month.

Here are some tips to inspire and recognize your employees leading into the holiday season and create some workplace engagement and merriment that will set the tone for 2018!

A Deeper Look into the Importance of an Employee Recognition Program

Make the World a Better Place

The holidays have always been considered a time for giving back.  Why not emphasize the importance of this and show that your company culture and values match those of your employees?  A recent study conducted by MetLife found that, “Part of sharing values is looking outside the four walls of the office – 61% of employees say that it is important to them to work for a company that contributes to the local community” (Business Wire, 2017).

Some suggestions include, throwing workplace wide giving campaigns such as food drives for charity, or even give your employees a day off or time to volunteer with their favorite local charity.  

Emphasize Shared Values

 Building upon the last tip, the study also found that, “Fully nine out of 10 employees (89%) say they are willing to trade some of their salary to work at a company whose values match their own – a great deal of their salaries in some cases” (Business Wire, 2017).

Take this season as an opportunity to really emphasize your company values and culture and promote them throughout the workplace for better alignment.  This can take the form of internal communication campaigns, promotion of peer-to-peer recognition, manager to employee recognition, and opportunities for learning and development.  There have been countless benefits attributed to companies who have organizational alignment of their culture and values. 

“Companies can reap rewards when they share values and act on these values, as employees who felt their values aligned with those of their employers were more than twice as likely to be satisfied in their jobs (78%) and feel loyal to their companies (77%) than those whose values didn’t match (32% and 31%, respectively). When values match, more than three-quarters (78%) plan to stay at their company, compared to 57% when values are misaligned” (Business Wire, 2017).

Have a 2017 Recap Retreat 

What better way to celebrate your achievements from 2017 and motivate and set goals for 2018 than with a retreat! This is probably best done at a smaller scale within workgroups and could be a day away from the office with reflective meetings, session planning, brainstorming and more.  But be sure to throw a little fun in there for motivation and incentive! Perhaps that includes interactive games throughout the day, a wine and cheese mixer or maybe even a motivational guest speaker!

Celebrate the Season

Take an opportunity to put ‘work’ aside for one afternoon or evening and celebrate together with a staff meal.  Perhaps it becomes a potluck lunch or a fancy holiday party, whatever it may be, make sure your leaders take an opportunity to sincerely thank employees for their hard work this past year.  Give employees a chance to mingle together and share in the holiday spirit.

You can also use this as an opportunity to recognize key players from 2017 and reward them as you see fit.  Every year our staff holiday party is filled with fun, laughter and plenty of recognition, including rewards for top players, token gifts for all staff members, games, food and music!  It’s a wonderful evening of celebration and it gives everyone the opportunity to mingle with people from other departments they might not typically see regularly.

Focus on Wellness

Not only is this a time where many people end up sick or rundown (at least that’s the case here in the cold Toronto weather), but some people may also struggle emotionally (and physically) with the holidays.  This could be a good chance to run an internal fitness and wellness campaign through your total recognition program.  Perhaps you reward employees for their steps walked or exercise achieved.  You can even have some friendly competition with a big prize for the winner!

It’s also important to try and promote healthy eating around this time, as it’s the time when lots of sugary treats are brought in to share.  You can counter balance that by having healthy snacks on hand in the office lunch room such as fruit and vegetables, or maybe even having a healthy catered lunch (not a pizza party).

To me, wellness means being balanced physically, mentally and emotionally, so having support for those employees who might experience a hard time around the holidays it crucial.  This could take many forms such as having a counsellor or therapist available during office hours, having a massage therapist come in for a quick massage (this was one of my favourite things), having a yoga teacher come in for lunch time yoga sessions or perhaps having a work wide meditation morning to calm the mind and set intentions with guided meditation. 

Investing in your employees’ wellness will return tenfold in their productivity and engagement.  Plus, “Nearly two-thirds of American workers expect companies to go beyond providing a paycheck and contribute to their well-being (59%), and contribute to the well-being of society, as well (57%)” (Business Wire, 2017).  If you’re not providing these opportunities, it’s likely that they will lack in motivation and look for opportunities to work for a company that does.

If you found these tips helpful, get in touch to learn more about creating employee engagement and alignment with this type of culture utilizing an Employee Recognition and/or Learning program.  

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Jennifer Budinsky is the Director, Marketing Communications for Global Engagement Solutions whose mission is to help companies create engaging employee and customer experiences. Prior to joining GES Jennifer was the Communications and Marketing Manager at Green Living Enterprises, Canada’s leading cause marketing and event agency focused on social and environmental program development. She has a Master of Arts in Communication and Social Justice, and Bachelor of Arts Honours in Communication, Media and Film from the University of Windsor. She resides in Toronto, Ontario and spends her free time working as an actress on various television and film projects there. Jennifer is an ambassador for encouraging people to create exceptional experiences in every aspect of their lives, from work to home to play!