As everyone starts winding down for the festive season, it can be one of the busiest times of the year for HR. There are Christmas parties to organise, end of year appraisals to complete, as well as the usual daily tasks.
It is also worth remembering, that it is the ideal time to focus on celebration and gratitude and thanking staff for a job well done. This is more important than many may think, as according to one career website, January and February is the most common time to look for a job.
Christmas is therefore a key time to remind staff of how great the Company is to work for and to stop any thoughts people may have for moving on. Here are some top tips for keeping the workforce happy and engaged:
Positive communication about the year ahead
In December, do a round-up of the Company’s achievements during the year and what is planned for next year. This could be an email from the Managing Director, a communication delivered in a team meetings or company event. Its purpose should be to thank staff and get them excited for the year ahead by going through some of the key goals and projects that they can look forward to.
The power of praise
Staff should be thanked for their hard work and commitment. At Christmas this should be a matter of course. This could be done in end of year reviews or managers could thank their teams with Friday afternoon drinks or the opportunity to leave early on the last day. Whatever the method, it’s a positive way to end the year and will leave staff feeling more engaged and motivated.
Organise a Christmas party
Not matter what the size of the company, giving staff the chance to let their hair down at a Christmas party or lunch always goes down well. It’s another chance to say thank you and for people to mingle and bond with their colleagues away from the office. It’s important that HR manages these events well and sets ground rules for people drinking too much and then calling in sick with a hangover the next day. However, most people are sensible, and the office Christmas party can be a great event that everyone looks forward to.
Be flexible over Christmas time off
The festive period can throw up some HR challenges if the office isn’t closed for a set period. Being flexible with time off and allowing remote working where possible for those working during this time can be a real benefit. If the workplace isn’t usually closed, have a policy that enables everyone to be able to book time off over Christmas during a two or three year cycle, so the same people aren’t always off. Be mindful of different religious views and people that may not celebrate Christmas. They may want to swap public holidays over the festive season for days that suit their religion. Facilitating this can be a great way to show inclusivity in an organisation.
Encourage annual leave throughout the year
Making sure people take their annual leave can improve their wellbeing, productivity and happiness. Often people don’t book all their leave and then there is a mad dash to get some time off at the end of the year. If the organisation has a ‘use it or lose it’ policy, encourage people to book leave and send regular reminders to people. Keeping track of people’s holidays and helping people to plan ahead can be done easily with absence management software. This can also highlight people who haven’t taken much leave so managers can step in and find out why if necessary.