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How to Engage Employees During the Holidays

The holiday season brings with it an elevated level of fun and excitement. Unfortunately, the holidays can be chaotic and stressful. All this excitement – and stress – can infiltrate your workplace and hinder morale, decrease productivity, and derail employee engagement. The holiday decorations, parties, and gift exchanges can all be quite overwhelming and easily distract your team.

Through all the hustle and bustle of this time of years, you can still find ways to reduce stress, boost employee engagement, and keep your team on track. Here’s a look at some ideas to enhance employee engagement during the holidays.

Celebrate Successes

The end of the year is the perfect time to look back over company successes. Review the company goals set at the beginning of the year and compare those goals to year-end results. Share the results with your employees. It’s vital that you remain transparent with your team by sharing the good and the bad, but always remaining positive about the future. Remember, your ultimate goal is to keep your team motivated and engaged, not to discourage them.

Take time to celebrate success for the year with your workers. This not only includes company goals that were met, but also look for other achievements, such as the number of new clients, increase in production, improvement in overall attendance, or sales numbers.

Recognize Top Employees

People crave recognition. They want to know they are appreciated for a job well done. Your workers are no different. They want to know that their time, dedication, and hard work is both recognized and appreciated. It’s best to make employee recognition part of the workplace culture all year round. There’s something about the holiday spirit; however, that makes it the perfect time of the year for special recognition.

This holiday season you should be deliberate about making employee recognition a priority. There are many ways you can do this, such as hand-written thank you notes, certificates, awards, social media recognition, and more. One great example is to transform your holiday party into an Employee Appreciation Day where your employees truly are the guests of honor. Use this time to honor your workers for their hard work and their commitment to the company.

Announce Company Goals for the New Year

According to a recent Gallup poll, less than half of today’s workers state that they feel connected to their employer’s mission. This disconnect isn’t because they don’t want to because this same survey shows that 83 percent of workers want to have meaning in the lives. Part of the problem is that employers aren’t sharing their core mission and values with their workforce effectively. With one year coming to an end and new year just around the corner, now is the time to share the company’s vision and goals for the new year with the entire workforce.

‘Tis the Season for Giving

The holidays are the time for giving – so catch the holiday spirit and reward your team. Rewarding your workers isn’t just about handing out gifts, it about creating an experience with your employees to make sure they know how much you appreciate their work. There are many affordable employee reward options, such as gift cards, food, extra paid time off, and more. Establish a recognition and rewards program where employees can choose the rewards that matter most the them.

Employee Volunteer Program

The holidays aren’t just about receiving – it’s about giving too. Many of your employees may want to volunteer but finding time between work and holiday activities may be difficult. You can help your employees out by creating a volunteer program that allows your workers to volunteer during work hours. Volunteering isn’t just good for your workers and the charities; it’s good for business too. America’s Charities calculates that businesses can save between $1,000 and $6,000 per employee by setting up an employee volunteer program.

Offer Flexible Scheduling

With the holiday season being so hectic, the last thing you may want to do is offer flexible scheduling. It’s important to realize, however, that your workers’ personal lives are just as busy as their work lives during the holiday season, which makes it difficult for them to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Encouraging your employees to take time off or leave early to take care of some of the personal holiday responsibilities can help keep them more focused and productive at work. Research done by the American Psychological Association found that workers who remain positive can boost productivity by as much as 31 percent.

Set Realistic Year-End Goals

Several studies have linked unrealistic expectations in the workplace with increased stress. While there’s nothing you can do about some of the chaos brought about by the holiday season, you can minimize its impact on your workers. Understand that the end of November through December is going to be chaotic at work. More people will be taking off, and year-end task must be completed. Take proactive measures to prepare for the end-of-the-year by setting realistic goals that won’t overwhelm your team.

Don’t let the stress of the holiday season hinder employee engagement in your workplace. Instead, take steps now to plan a holiday season that not only will prevent your employee from becoming stressed and overwhelmed, but also will keep productivity and employee morale high. Learn how to develop employee engagement all year long, including the holidays, by downloading our employee recognition e-book now.

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About the Author

Diane Scheidler is a business focused Human Resources executive with significant functional experience in all areas of HR. She has worked in both early start-up and established high growth, Software and SaaS organizations supporting North American, LATAM, and European business units.

Diane is currently the Head of HR for Achievers, where she continually focuses on the employee experience, ensuring a culturally rich and engaging work environment.

Prior to Achievers, Diane has acted in a Sr. Leadership capacity to lead functionally diverse areas of Human Resources for employee populations ranging from 200 to well over 100,000 employees for Samsung Canada, Amazon Canada, Blackberry and Altana Pharma.

Diane currently holds a Master of Human Resources and Organizational Development degree from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor degree from the University of Western Ontario. Diane is also a Certified Compensation Professional.

 
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Achievers CARES

Achievers CARES: Going Above and Beyond with Employee Volunteer Opportunities

It’s easy to come to work, put your head down and focus on your tasks at hand. I am young and I care so much more about what the impact of my work means, not just that things get done.

At Achievers, we understand that work is so much more than getting things done. The company’s motto is to Change the way the world works, and we truly believe that. I am amazed every day by the efforts everyone puts in, and by the many opportunities available to me to impact my community. I have been fortunate to volunteer a bunch this year, with numerous opportunities provided to me through Achievers CARES, our volunteer-led, staff charitable group – who help people like me get involved.

One of the main perks of volunteers with Achievers CARES is that you develop deeper relationships with your co-workers, many of whom you would not normally cross paths with as much.

I volunteer because we are permitted four volunteer days each year, and my manager is extremely understanding in providing me the time off. I’m lucky to be encouraged to do more than just my job, and I’ve been able to meet some really great colleagues and friends through the experiences I’ve had. Volunteering has helped me professionally, as it’s an added avenue for relationship-building that otherwise wouldn’t come up as much. It’s amazing to experience some of the great things happening in our local community, and it feels good to give my time. It is through my volunteering experiences that I’ve cultivated friendships and learned more about our business through the perspective of the people I am volunteering with.

When I was graduating university, I never imagined working at a company that offers so many opportunities. I always encourage new graduates to find a place that allows them to do the things they love, and that advice applies to experienced professionals as well. I am proud when people look up to me and ask my opinion about the work I do – it’s a great feeling! Knowing that our business cares about employee values gives me a sense of pride in my workplace and makes me that much more grateful to support initiatives that truly do Change the way the world works. Some of the events I’ve enjoyed the most this year are:

  1. CN Tower Climb for WWF: This one was tough, but great exercise as we collectively climbed the CN Tower as a team. I had never climbed to the top of the tower before, and it was great relief to get to the top! It didn’t feel like a lot of work, even though we raised a a large amount of money and woke up early to climb to the top of the tower.
  2. Kids Learning Code Camp: I participated this summer, and it was amazing to see campers, High School volunteers, University summer employees all come together with full-time employees to help deliver a meaningful experience for the kids at the camp. We helped teach kids about how to develop and market a business; and the kids were so young! They were smart and motivated, and I was proud when people asked for my opinion as we moved through the content.
  3. Blood Drive with Canadian Blood Services: I think everyone should give blood, and I’m grateful that Achievers CARES organizes this for us. I don’t think I would be as willing to organize this on my own. Since they make it easy to get involved, I go every time and I truly feel like I am saving lives.
  4. Food Drive for Parkdale Community Foodbank: We have some fun department competition with this one. The goal is to bring in the most amount of food by department, and the winner gets a pizza party. The best part is, through friendly competition, we make a big impact in the local community that relies on these types of donations to survive – it’s incredible.

There is no doubt that Toronto has grown increasingly competitive for top talent, and I’m sure that companies know this. We are lucky to have an organization that cares about employees having a meaningful experience. Our Achievers CARES team dedicates so much of their time to ensuring that we have valuable opportunities in our local community, and I could not be more grateful. It is so easy for me to get involved and have fun too! This team really goes above and beyond to identify awesome opportunities and raise necessary funds for local charities. Thanks to their efforts, we raise thousands of dollars for local and international initiatives and get involved in our communities to make the world a better place.

If you are reading this and don’t currently have a clearly defined employee volunteering or fundraising plan, don’t wait and get started today! It’s never too late to show your employees that you care about what they care about and are willing to invest in your community.

Thank you to our amazing group of Achievers CARES volunteers who make our workplace a brighter place, and show they care about our local communities.

Learn more by viewing the Achievers CARES photo album.

Do you want to join the A-Team? Apply for one of our open positions here.

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About the Author
Jeremy KwokJeremy Kwok is a Software Engineer (Development) at Achievers.