The holidays are heating up, which makes now the perfect time to focus on meeting your sales goals, right? Of course, but as the fourth quarter comes to a close, you should find time and make it a priority to show your employees that you care for them.
The truth is, showing your employees that you value their hard work is not just a nice way to say 'happy holidays'--it's also a solid business practice. Team members who feel valued and appreciated often perform better and are more likely to stick with you. Operating on a tight budget? No problem--showing your employees that you care does not have to break the bank.
1. Be vocal.
It's good to find indirect methods to make your team feel appreciated, but there's no substitute for expressing your appreciation directly--especially during the holidays. This holiday season consider sending your team hand-written notes expressing your thanks for their commitment during the year.
Make this a habit. When an employee does something well, make sure to recognize their accomplishment, and make your praise specific so that your employee knows you're not just reciting empty platitudes. Everyone appreciates direct words of praise from time to time.
For example, let's say you have a senior employee who has taken it upon herself to mentor a new employee. The holidays are the perfect time to send a note recognizing her for going above and beyond her role.
At the end of the day, your employees are your company's most valuable asset. Taking the time to make sure that each member of your team feels wanted and appreciated will increase productivity and reduce employee turnover, allowing your company to spend more time doing what it does best.
2. Give the gift of giving back.
Providing employees with the time to give back to the community where they live and work is an easy way to show your team that you care about them. Informally poll your team to find out what issues that they're passionate about and find a local charity that supports the cause. Then, plan an afternoon volunteer project and spend 3-4 hours giving back.
Of course, getting away from the office is simply not an option for some businesses. At various points in my careers I've worked at businesses where on the job volunteering was difficult to manage due to time constraints. In situations like this, the opportunity to participate in a food or coat drive that benefits a local charities can be a good alternative. In fact, incentivizing giving with a reward for the team that gives the most can also add to the fun. If you operate from a co-working space, consider challenging other businesses close to you to a drive.
3. Provide holiday scheduling flexibility.
Life is often messy, and minor and major disasters don't always wait until your employees are off the clock. Allow your employees the flexibility to deal with their personal lives when the need arises. As a parent, I can recall times when I've had to leave work early to do Christmas shopping or attend a recital. Granting this flexibility lets your employees know that their lives are just as important to you as the company is.
Some employees may appreciate the opportunity to shift to a four-day workweek, and some of your employees may be able to work effectively from home. Of course, you need to be vigilant when offering this kind of flexibility to employees, but most will recognize and appreciate the trust that you're showing in them by offering flexible work options.
4. Be spontaneous.
It's easy to fall into a rut when you're working a regular job, but surprising your employees with a spontaneous gifts and events can help break them out of the rut and make them feel appreciated during the holiday rush. For example, you could buy lunch for one of your team members on a day when he or she seems particularly stressed out. Surprising your team with a break from work to attend a fun activity can keep your group's motivation high and let them know that you value their sanity.
Small gifts, like a card on an employee's birthday or a box of donuts for the office to share on a Friday morning, are another good way to bring some positive excitement into the office and make your employees feel valued. These gifts don't have to be grand or expensive; it's more important for them to be sincere. Little tokens that are personally meaningful to your employees are more valuable than generic cash rewards.