It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be one of the more stressful seasons for people managers and HR executives. In addition to thinking up fresh ways to celebrate the holidays, employers need to be especially mindful of the diversity of their employees’ beliefs and religions.
That's why we're sharing several ideas to help you build an inclusive culture of giving around the holidays, and suggestions for how to execute them creatively.
1. Give Your Time:
While it’s great to donate a big check to a charitable cause, it may inadvertently put pressure on employees to spend money when they don’t have the desire or ability. Instead, we recommend a volunteer day where the entire office - regardless of team or level - has the opportunity to donate their time to a good cause. In addition to building strong social bonds, it’s a great way to give back to your local community. Here are some ways to facilitate this activity:
- Use a survey (whether through a custom platform or through free tools like Mixmax group polls, Google Forms) to find out which charities your employees care about the most. Just make sure the organization you choose is religiously neutral (ex. steer away from volunteering at a local church).
- If you have a more physically active office, consider organizing a group to participate in a Thanksgiving or Holiday-themed 5k fun run that raises awareness and donates registration proceeds to a good cause. Create both “walk” and “run” teams so nobody feels pressured to sprint the entire race if they don’t feel up for it.
2. Give Your Thanks:
Hopefully, you’ve been reading the “Recognition” section of our Blueboard blog and know how crucial is is to have a solid recognition program in place - and for good reason: Research from Bersin & Associates found that companies that scored in the top 20% for building a “recognition-rich culture” actually had 31% lower voluntary turnover rates. If you’re looking to spice up your current programs for the holidays, try the following:
- Put up a “gratitude board” in the middle of your office and encourage employees to recognize and thank fellow colleagues. Peer-to-peer gratitude is just as important as top-down gratitude!
- If you tend to have shy employees who may not be keen to give public shout outs, set aside a few hours for a card-making session. Provide everyone with a list of team members - so that nobody is forgotten - and encourage colleagues to write “thank you” notes to each other.
- Along the same lines, have your employees make “thank you” cards for people who may not be part of their everyday team, but who are still a crucial part of the office family. For example, the building cleaning crew, cafe staff, or the security team.
3. Give Them a (Much-Needed) Break:
While generosity is important to facilitate between peers and with the outside community, it’s equally important to encourage employees to be generous to themselves. Holidays can be a stressful time as people are wrapping up their end of year financials, closing out projects before going on vacation, and dealing with holiday travel chaos. So make sure your team is prioritizing their wellness by considering these ideas:
- Start simple: Send a note encouraging employees to disengage from laptops during the holidays, enjoy time with their families, and thank them for all their hard work this year. A thoughtful email encouraging this behavior (especially when sent from senior leadership) will leave employees feeling cared for and appreciated, and support a culture of healthy work/life balance. Looking for other mindfulness tips? Check out our recent post here.
- Consider giving your employees a half day off (letting them pick a day within a certain window) and encourage them to spend it on a wellness activity for themselves - whether that’s going to a fitness class, getting a massage, etc. before heading into the holiday rush. Or, if you can’t afford to give that much time off, bring the activity to the office! At Blueboard, we're here to help you coordinate rejuvenating team events like on-site chair massage, on-site yoga, or even a puppy love party (our favorite!).
The holidays are the perfect time to remind your employees of the great company they work at, and how valued they are by both managers and colleagues alike. Have a favorite holiday office tradition that we should include? Share with us in the comments below!