After a seemingly endless year, the holiday season is finally upon us, and your employees are likely trying to figure out new ways to make the most of it despite the pandemic. Because celebrations will likely not be the same as other years, they may find this time to be especially stressful or demoralizing. This attitude only adds to the already-long list of issues that can arise during the holidays, including work stress, burnout, time off clashes, and unscheduled absenteeism. As an HR manager, it's important to help mitigate these issues and ensure your employees stay motivated. That's why we're bringing you six easy tips to keep your employees engaged and happy this holiday season:
Manage employee time off effectively
Most of your employees will request time off during the holiday season to have fun without having to worry about work. There is a lot riding on these breaks for some of your employees, especially after the year we have all had. This makes it vital to manage these requests precisely and efficiently. It's disheartening for an employee to apply for time off thinking it will be approved only for it to get rejected. Encourage your employees to plan their time off well in advance. This will help prevent any clashes. It's also important to communicate with team managers when approving time off because they'll have a better idea of employee situations and needs. If you absolutely have to reject a time off request, be kind and tell them why it's being rejected. Try to find alternative ways to give that employee a bit of a break.
Set reasonable expectations
It's important to have reasonable expectations from your employees during the holiday season. They may struggle to maintain productivity levels with personal responsibilities piling up during holidays. Try to focus on the output and quality of the work they do rather than the hours they work. Encourage managers to lay out what they want their team members to do well in advance. This will help your employees to prioritize their tasks and structure their work weeks. The more power you give employees during this time, the better. And try not to ask employees to work overtime unless it's really important.
Be flexible and accommodating
Being flexible and accommodating with your employees during the holiday season will go a long way toward helping them balance their personal and professional responsibilities. For instance, if your employees want to come in a little later or leave a little earlier than their usual time, allow it on a case-by-case basis. Conversely, you can just allow them to leave whenever they have finished their work. If they are working from the office, offer remote work if possible. These small measures will help your employees complete their work and manage their personal responsibilities without taking time off.
Sharing gifts with your employees is a great way to show that you care about them and appreciate their hard work towards your organization's success. Being recognized and appreciated encourages employees to be more engaged and productive in the work they do. The gift doesn't need to be something extensive or elaborate. For example, if your employees are working remotely, you can distribute virtual gift cards. Otherwise, you can opt for holiday-themed gift baskets, wellness items like a fitness band, quirky stationary, cakes, cookies, and more. Include handwritten notes, thanking your employees for their contribution throughout the year. If you have a lot of employees, you can delegate that personalized touch to managers since they will know more about their employees' progress and growth.
Conduct virtual parties
No festive season is ever complete without office parties. They give your employees a chance to socialize with their peers and build workplace relationships. Conducting office parties also motivates your employees and keeps them uplifted, engaged, and productive. Virtual parties help your employees avoid the risk of COVID-19 infection while still getting a chance to relax with their coworkers. Organize activities like secret Santa, Pictionary, holiday quizzes, holiday Bingo, and more—anything to get everyone into the holiday mood. A virtual team lunch can also be a good start to your holiday office party as it helps employees bond. If you want to combine this idea with the gift-sharing one above, you can even conduct fun award ceremonies to recognize and thank your employees for their hard work.
Organize wellness sessions
According to Healthline, the increased amount of expectations around the holidays can make us stressed out and overwhelmed. Organizing wellness sessions for your employees can help them to keep this holiday stress at bay. This will also help your employees to stay healthy and productive at work. Yoga, meditation, physical exercises, Zumba, and aerobics are just some of the activities that can help employees to relax during this time of year. Encourage your employees to participate in the session by advertising its benefits, and reward those who participate to give everyone a bit more incentive. These sessions should be done during the work day so it's not taking away from your employees' personal time.
The holiday season can be overwhelming for your employees as they often have to take care of more personal obligations while also getting their work done. This can drain your employees, making them less productive and less motivated. During these times, and especially with everything that's been going on this year, it's okay to be a little more empathetic and tweak your organizational policies to accommodate your employees' needs. This will make them happier and more satisfied, and they'll strive to be more productive at work as a result. We hope these tips gave you some insight on how to manage your employees effectively during this busy time of year. Happy Holidays from all of us at Zoho People!