Each year the holidays roll around, and along with it, the opportunity to show your employees that you value them and their contribution to your company. After all, a happy employee is most often an engaged employee. That means that when company leadership puts in the effort – the employees will often follow suit.
At this time of year, everyone already has plenty on their plate. Add to this the traditional holiday preparations, and we have the perfect storm for problems to rear their head.
While holiday family traditions often lead to excitement and anticipation – they can also add to distractions and the personal stress levels of employees. This can ultimately affect employee engagement, as well as company production as the year, winds down and the new year quickly approaches.
The holiday season is a great time for company leadership to consider adding new traditions as well as taking the time to evaluate the question, “What can we do to make a stressful time of year less stressful?”.
Here are five tips for company leaders to consider to help make the holidays happy for everyone:
In this article at Forbes.com, the author Ben Walker discusses the value of keeping employees informed. While this may be standard practice in your company, it becomes a valuable tool to help employees feel more secure over the holiday season. A few tips offered in this article:
1. Who’s going to be out of town and when?
Keeping everyone up to speed on this can help reduce stress and conflict because they know how to plan both work projects and personal events. A lack of communication here can result in some not-so-great outcomes when Joe’s time off collides with John’s time off request. Making sure everyone is in the loop assures both company and employees have the information they need to navigate work, production, and time off.
2. When are projects due?
Does everyone on your team have a clear picture of what projects are due and when? Or did Sarah have plans to take the day off on a project due date? Making communication clear, especially at this time of year, reduces the potential for frustrated individuals left to cancel personal plans to meet a deadline that wasn’t communicated clearly.
3. Who can pick up projects?
Part of this process would include making sure that the team is on board with picking up projects or parts of projects so the workflow isn’t interrupted when someone is on personal time off. By making this a team effort, the team builds trust as well as an attitude of contribution and cooperation. Much better than the conflict when projects get dumped on one person because holiday time off requests got overlooked.
4. Take the time to speak to employees individually
When company leadership takes the time to communicate casually with employees personally, it builds trust and a sense of camaraderie. After all – what company doesn’t want employees that feel they matter to the company? By engaging with employees, individual company leadership creates the opportunity for gentle reminders during a busy season when everyone’s mind might be on the upcoming family dinner or weekend getaway that they have planned. Much better than a confrontation when a deadline is missed.
5. Include others' views v.s. excluding them
Entrepreneur. com Jonathan Segal offers some ideas on including other holidays like Kwanza and Hanukkah instead of eliminating “Christmas” via political correctness. Invite those of varying beliefs to share their traditions by way of office decorations or festive food treats. Be sure to offer holiday greetings to individuals in a way that suits them. If you’re unsure what that greeting might be, it’s always ok to stick with “Happy Holidays.” The point is that inclusion always goes further than exclusion. By acknowledging all views, employees feel respected instead of left out.
In the end…
Putting some thought into how to navigate one of the busiest and most stressful times of year offers benefits to both employees and employers. By taking the time to think about communication, we can minimize potential conflicts and hard feelings for everyone. Stress can be reduced all around, conflict can become collaboration and the Season for greetings can be inclusive for everyone. Being a leader in a corporation can be stressful. Learning how to address stressors ahead of time can make it easier to sail through this season and into the new year.
And, if you are having holiday parties, let us take the stress out of the clean-up! Call us and we will leave your office like new.