It's the most wonderful time of the year; turkey, pie, Black Friday and then Cyber Monday Sales. However, with the holiday festivities comes a slowdown in employee motivation. It could be them dreaming of their impending time off, or that roughly half of your employees could be doing holiday shopping at work. Either way, the most challenging group to keep engaged are millennial workers.

To rise to the challenge, you'll need some inventive ways to keep them smiling, listening and, of course, working until it's quitting time in December. Here are some varied tools and methods to keep them from falling asleep at their desk.

Get Data-Driven

Your workers might not be giving 100%, but that doesn't mean it's deliberate. Yesware provides email templating, as well as email tracking software for businesses of any size, but also includes a dashboard with analytics. Both you and your employees can see what's working and what's not, and you can see if any particular workers are "checking out" early, for example, in a sales organization where they need to keep selling, especially in the slow months.

Keep Them Rewarded

It's easy to think that employees only care about big salary bumps or free food, but AnyPerk has two satisfying and more affordable alternatives. Their $5 an employee program allows you to offer employees discounted movie tickets, house cleaning and even Panasonic products. However, last year they debuted Rewards, an easy-to-use system that lets you give thanks to your employees in as simple a way as a Target or Amazon gift card, or even send them on a Champagne Cruise, all with customized and meaningful designs. Millennials love immediate recognition, and this is a great way to deliver it.

Make Them Experience Something

Airbnb's new venture into experiences is an amazing way to educate and empower your employees. When you have an entire office staring at the clock, it may be time to take a trip outside for a few days when business is typically slow. For example, for $160 a person you could take your employees out of their comfort zone and have them educate them on the world of microfinancing. Many of these experiences span several days, but feature one specific event per day; something that could refresh and inspire your employees as it gets darker outside.

Send Them Back To School - No, Really

When you spend day in, day out focused on one thing, it's easy to get bored of your work. That's why it may be worth putting your millennial employees through an hour of a Coursera every day out of their work day. Millennials are proven to love to learn, so if you're a sales or marketing-focused company, they may really love the opportunity for you to invest in them learning about data science from John Hopkins. A great idea is also to do this either toward the end of the day, especially when you know their workloads will be smaller; it adds an extra element of excitement to their job as they begin to dream of gravy and pudding.

Don't Just Reward A Healthy Business - Reward a Healthy Body

Millennials are increasingly fitness-obsessed, migrating to more walkable cities and embracing wearable fitness technologies. They work out more and in particular love to do so in groups. Combine this with the improvements in productivity that come from exercise and you've got an obvious solution; give your millennials kudos for keeping themselves in shape. While you should never shame employees who aren't able to commit to an exercise plan, you could create Runkeeper groups for your office and give a reward - a gift card, for example - for a group hitting a particular goal in what's left of November and December. This will add variety and excitement to some distracted millennials' days.

Give Them A Purpose Outside Of Work - On Your Dime

Salesforce is well-known for their generosity, especially their employee volunteer program, where employees get seven days off a year to volunteer, among many other charitable perks. Believe it or not, millennials are actually a very generous generation, and thus you may want to give them hours - or a day or two months off in November and December - to volunteer themselves to help out at the local food bank. VolunteerMatch is a great service for finding opportunities for your workers to feel like they're doing more than just clocking in for a job. It has a bevy of learning opportunities for your staff, makes them feel as if they're part of something bigger, and does a great deal of good for the world.

Published on: Dec 8, 2016