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How to Keep Employees Engaged During the Holidays

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Keeping your employees fully engaged during the holiday season, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, is challenging. Workloads can get heavier as coworkers take time off. Children are out of school, complicating scheduling. Employees must work extra hours in order to meet customer demands. It can be hard to balance a festive atmosphere while simultaneously keeping employees focused and productive during the holiday season.

Here are a few tips to keep the momentum going throughout the season and finish out the year strong:

Encourage employees to take time off

During the holidays, employees have extra demands on their personal time, so maintaining work-life balance gets even more challenging. Start asking early when employees are going on vacation or participating in holiday events and social obligations that require time off. By taking a proactive approach, you can schedule the work accordingly. Make sure to recognize and thank coworkers who willingly help fill work gaps when others are out of the office or away on vacation.

Recognize exceptional work

The end of the year is an ideal time to recognize individual hard work and accomplishments. Rekindle employee engagement by sending a clear message that their hard work has not gone unnoticed. It’s also a great time to highlight the achievements of the entire company which can boost morale.

Plan inclusive social activities

Sponsor activities that encourage employees to work as a team, such as planning an after-hours holiday party. Social events can also include service projects, such as a team of employees donating their time to feed Thanksgiving meals to the homeless.

Accept not everyone wants to celebrate

For some people, the holiday season is a time of bad memories, not good ones. Other employees simply don’t want to celebrate because it’s not their thing. Accept that, and don’t force them to take part in activities if they don’t want to. By all means invite them so that they don’t feel left out – you still want them to feel like they’re a part of the team – but don’t force them to take part in something they don’t want to take part in. Festivities should be optional, not mandatory.

Start planning for the new year

At year-end, employees should start their goal-setting for the upcoming year. This helps employees remain aware of where they are with their current goals, but also allows them to get a head start on the new year. Employees will be ready to start working towards those goals on January 1, rather than procrastinating their planning until the first of the year.

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