Employee Engagement: Team building during the holiday season

The holidays are upon us.

Just go into any store and the twinkling lights and candy canes will leave no doubt about it. Whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Festivus, Boxing Day, Christmas, or none of the above, the anticipation of the coming year brings with it a variety of traditions and opportunities, as well as seasonal stressors.

As the year comes to a close, everyone is scrambling to close sales, finish projects, and get a jump on 2024. It’s not only a busy time for the work-side, but also for the life-side of your employees. 

Thus, in the spirit of intentional “people operations” management, I wanted to share some ideas around how to engage your employees during this magical (and crazy) time of the year.

  • Holiday bonuses/profit sharing - Was it a good year financially? Help reward the people that contributed through a thoughtful bonus or profit sharing program tied to the achievement of organizational goals.
  • Support their mental health - The holidays (and the rest of the year) can be very stressful as employees balance a wide range of issues. Perhaps providing an Employee Assistance Program or Wellness app could show your employees that you care. These benefits will help increase retention and employee productivity, too!
  • Holiday parties - As people have returned to the office, office gatherings are on the rise. Whether it is a holiday luncheon for the team, virtual party for a remote team, or a more elaborate event with partners and children, establishing or re-establishing some team rituals can help with team bonding and culture building.
  • Giving back - Many organizations will support a local cause during the holidays. This can be another great team building activity, and can also demonstrate your values. Do be careful that people are not made to feel uncomfortable if they don’t have the means to make financial contributions to a cause. One idea to avoid personal contributions is to have employees nominate causes that they care about, and then do a survey to choose which cause will receive a company contribution.
  • Internal communications - Give the gift of communication to your team. Provide a year-end summary of successes, acknowledging the achievements of key team members. You can also highlight the plans and goals for 2024 to help people visualize how they can align their priorities for the coming year.
  • Time off - Who doesn’t want extra time to deal with the hustle and bustle of the season? Providing more flexibility, or early release times can be a hit.

I know that this is a busy time of the year for everyone - I hope that these ideas will help you show support to your employees, and that they will, in turn, feel appreciation for their hard work in 2023, and come back even more engaged for 2024.

Want to dive deeper?

  • Employee Engagement: Holiday Edition Resource Paper - This is a complimentary short read that includes many of the potential pitfalls of various holiday traditions and employee issues.
  • Join us for a small group roundtable with Amy Cell and discuss your plans for the holiday season. You will leave the session with your questions answered and concrete ideas for optimizing the coming months. Options are Friday, November 17 at 2:30 (RSVP here), or Thursday, November 30 at 2:00pm (RSVP here). The session is free for HRS members and $100 for non members.

Need more support? 

We also offer customized employee engagement support. Schedule an appointment with one of our HR experts, or call us at (734) 747-2936 to set up a time to chat about employee engagement for your organization! 

Stay tuned! 

Next month I’ll be musing about Job Descriptions! Yes, I know that you are going to be sitting at the edge of your seat for this one. Do you have a question that I can answer - send it to me at Amy@AmyCellTalent.com.


About The Author: Amy Cell

Amy Cell is a renowned and passionate pioneer in HR and Talent initiatives. She also leads an innovative consulting firm that specializes in recruiting and HR services for startups, small businesses, and municipalities.

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