The holidays are a unique time of year. For some businesses, things slow down as the year end nears, and budgets and projects wrap up. For others, things ramp up with some of the busiest days of the year (I’m looking at you Black Friday). No matter what industry you are in, keeping employees engaged around the holidays can be harder than managing a classroom of kindergarteners around a full moon. Nevertheless, it’s important. Engaged employees drive business results and around year end, productivity is key to meet those business objectives.

Keeping employees engaged will look different for each organization. Therefore, it’s important to do so in an organic way, not every approach will fit the organization, and that’s okay. It’s important to stay true to your core values as an organization. That said, here are a few ideas for engaging employees around the holidays to get you started (and to help make spirits bright!):

  1. Encourage time off. In 2015, REI made the bold decision to close their stores on Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year. It was a risky move, but it was done for all the right reasons. They wanted to live their values and encourage their employees, and their customers to #OptOutside. Boy, did it payoff. Now in 2018, the list of stores closed around the Thanksgiving holiday has grown even larger to nearly 100 stores. If the nature of your business requires 24/7 coverage, encourage employees to take paid time off.
  2. Cyber Monday is a day notorious for stealing the focus of workers across America. So, meet employees where they are. Rather than fight the online giant (I see you Amazon), consider giving your employees one hour out of their day that can be dedicated to online shopping. Mike Pugh of RingCentral Glip suggests having a Cyber Monday Party, “[Employees are] going to do it anyway, so let’s put it in a ‘box’ where we can have some fun (like getting snacks in the break room) … but then when that hour is up, it’s back to work.”
  3. Take some time for fun! Boost the office culture with an infusion of holiday spirit during this busy season. Organize an activity like Secret Santa, a White Elephant gift exchange, or have a team potluck. When employees connect and engage with each other, the culture of the organization benefits, and that’s a great boost to carry into the crazy holiday season.
  4. If you’re really feeling the need to motivate the team and keep the focus on work, create a productivity challenge. Set up a competition where employees who are productive receive a small token of appreciation. This is just another way to keep employees focused on work and keeping a positive vibe in the office.

How will you be engaging your employees this holiday season?

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