The holidays are special times for many and dreaded by others in modern work environments. Some organizational leaders also struggle with this time of year because they know production will potentially be down and revenues lower. Companies have little power over changing entrenched societal customs. So, how can companies make the best of this time of year?
First, think about how you want to be treated over the holidays. Most of us are not an Ebenezer Scrooge. But it is a tough time of year with all the hubbubs. People can be ruder on the highway; lines are longer and money flies faster. There are parties to attend, maybe religious services, kids’ programs and family gatherings to tolerate. Your employees have the same issues. Why make the workplace a terrible setting to be as well? How can one minimize the challenges and make sure your team members still want to be productive and capable players?
Taking a realistic view of what the holidays present is a place to begin and accepting this view is paramount. This acceptance will assist you in relating to your employees’ own pressures during this time. Secondly, set an example of calmness and thoughtfulness. Be realistic of what can actually be accomplished within the circumstances. Third, be aware that the holidays hold different levels of significance for everyone in your organization. These are times when conscientiousness and empathy for each other pays big relationship dividends and keeps conflicts at a minimum and potential problems at bay.
Also, and if possible, a monetary bonus can go a long way with any employee during the holidays. Make it significant enough that they see it as a reasonable financial help as opposed to an employer’s cheap and insincere obligation. I am reminded of a nurse friend being given an extra $25.00 holiday “bonus”. Of course, nurses usually speak their mind and the administration got acerbic feedback from the nursing staff, not about the bonus amount but about the lack of professional validation.
Having a holiday party can be beneficial for staff. Of course, the company pays the tab. This can be a positive way to say that they are included in the company “club”. If family members of the staff are invited, the company brass better make sure their significant others attend too. This is always a good place to hand out the reasonable holiday bonus check to the employees.
The holidays can also be a time when folks are reminded of past painful circumstances and situations. As employers and managers, be cognizant that some staff may have a difficult time. Memories of fractured relationships may surface and mental scenes of holiday traumas or losses ignite troubling emotions. Gently offering your time to briefly listen to the employee is paramount. Sometimes this can lead to a formal invitation for the EAP or just giving a listening ear for a reasonable time shows genuine care and concern. The ability for a manager and employer to show their human side and validate the employee’s sense of being can solidify a person to a long time commitment to the organization.
I wish you all a happy holiday season! – Mike