The Christmas period is a busy time for businesses that are planning for the coming year and are dealing with multiple end of year holiday requests resulting in short staff and more work with tight deadlines as usual – typically trying to complete a 22 working day month in a maximum of 15 working days. It is also a special time of the year for many people hence a bit of distraction from work is only natural. This often makes it difficult to keep productivity and morale high during the month of December. To minimise damage during the holiday period, I like to keep my staff happy and focused by offering many soft incentives and benefits. I suggest you use and practice some of these strategies throughout the holiday period.
Make sure everyone has some time off during Christmas. This can be hard to do when you run a small business or a startup, but it is something good to do for your staff members. Team members feel most loyal when employers recognise and reward their hard work. This can include compensation, but it should also include time. Giving staff time off for Christmas will greatly contribute to their overall work satisfaction, and it will help reinforce respect and partnership in the new year. If the company can afford throw in a day or two as paid time off during the holiday period. There are lots of ways to practice this if your HR and Finance manager is in sync with the sentiment you will cruise through the implementation of this.
Always have a small Christmas tree at work and run a small $10-20 limit secret Santa with staff just to get in to the festive spirit. Organise small lunch drinks before you close for the holidays to say goodbye and open the gifts, even if you have already held a Christmas party. There is no better time to show your staff how much you appreciate them than on your last day of business. Treat your team members to some drinks or lunch or encourage them to bring small contributions for a barbeque or a pot luck (personally not a big fan of pot lucks and could write a big blog on why – but whatever works to keep the team spirit going). This is an opportunity for your staff to have fun and bond – another way to help them feel good and bring about belonging and loyalty towards the company.
Personally, I always like to run the payroll before the Christmas break if you are on a monthly cycle. This gives my staff the funds they need to make the most of their holiday and have a truly rewarding time off. It is a small and considerate thing you can do meet their needs and encourage staff loyalty.
These small incentives allow staff to have a break from their busy routine and find a moment to relax and enjoy. By acknowledging the joy of Christmas, you let your staff know that you value the contributions they make for your business. My advice to employers is to embrace the Christmas spirit and give out not so big but special incentives so that your staff will come back feeling motivated and productive.
Amjad Khanche is an Australian business entrepreneur, investor and technology enthusiast. He has over 20 years experience starting and developing multiple business. He shares his experiences from growing up in India to working with clients for 9East Marketing Services, where he mentors businesses to improve growth.