The gesture of a holiday party is usually the primary way employers show appreciation and thanks to employees around this time of year, but recent studies, including one conducted by ERC (09 Holidays & Festivities Survey) show that some employers are scaling back on the traditional holiday party or simply not having one at all. Needless to say, most are still trying to have some function for their employees.
Great employers don’t lose sight of showing their thanks to employees during the holiday season, even in the smallest of ways. Whether a holiday party is feasible this year or not, it’s important to try to make a concerted effort to bring employees together, show them appreciation, and boost morale. We all know employees whom we owe appreciation and thanks to for their efforts this holiday season, particularly after many of the challenges our businesses have experienced throughout the year. If your organization can’t provide a holiday party this year for economical reasons, consider other ways that you can show appreciation to your employees.
This holiday season, appreciation doesn’t need to be expensive to be meaningful. It can be a note, a call, a small gift, a luncheon, potluck dinner, or other small event. Whatever the form, saying thank you for the hard work and dedication of your employees, and particularly top performers, during the holidays is an important part of being a great workplace. In ERC’s research on what engages employees, top performers consistently cite that the efforts their workplaces take to ensure they having fun, enjoying one another, and being appreciated are reasons why they stay with their organizations (09 NorthCoast 99 Winners Report). Top performers recognize the efforts of their workplaces in creating an enjoyable and appreciative culture.
This year, ERC has learned of numerous ways through our research and NorthCoast 99 program, that workplaces are stepping up to the challenges of recognizing employees in low-cost, but meaningful ways. From CEOs funding the entire holiday function out of their own pockets to line-managers sacrificing either time or money to show some appreciation to their direct reports, many workplaces are finding creative, alternative ways to show their thanks. Here are some other suggestions:
- Encourage managers, or ideally your CEO, to write notes to employees or top performers thanking them for their contributions. Old-fashioned words of kindness never lose meaning.
- Leave all employees or top performers a personalized telephone call of thanks.
- Be as generous as you can. Employees recognize when their organizations are going out of their way to be generous, even when times are difficult.
- Provide employees or top performers with small gifts of appreciation.
- Release staff early on Christmas Eve so they can spend it with their families.
- Organize a potluck luncheon or dinner for your staff. Some organizations even have their management teams make a meal for the staff.
- Conduct an inexpensive pre-holiday activity at work.
So while celebrating the holiday season in extravagant ways may not be in the cards for your organization this year, or appropriate given your unique circumstances, employee appreciation and an element of fun and enjoyment always holds a place in the workplace.