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9 ways to keep employees motivated and productive during the holidays

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Dec. 3, 2014
HR experts and business leaders share their strategies on how to ensure employees are productive between Thanksgiving and just after the New Year.

happy workers thinkstock
Credit: Thinkstock

Keeping morale and productivity high during the holiday season (between Thanksgiving and just after New Year's) can be tough. The pull (and stress) of family and holiday shopping can cause workers to be distracted, or lose interest. As can going to work while their coworkers take vacation days.

So what can employers and managers do to keep employees motivated and working toward year-end goals from late November through early January? Here are nine suggestions, provided by business owners and managers as well as HR experts.

1. Recognize employees -- with thank-you notes and/or small gifts. "In workplace culture, the power of thanks is too often overlooked," says Eric Mosley, CEO, Globoforce, an employee recognition company. "When employees are thanked for a job well done, they are motivated and inspired to do great work; they are driven to surpass company goals; and they are happier and more committed to their employer," he says. "Our Workforce Mood Tracker survey shows that there is a demonstrable link between thanks and motivation: 86 percent of employees say that being recognized motivates them in their job. So thank your employees for a job well done -- and not just this holiday season but every day, year-round. The positive effect will be palpable."

"Write a handwritten note," says Kara Simon, general manager, 3Cheers Recognition & Rewards. "The time it takes to sit down and write a personalized note says a lot in and of itself. By expressing appreciation in a personal note, the recipient will feel appreciated by the effort and motivated to continue to go above and beyond."

"You can [also] say 'thank you' with gifts that are personalized," says Heather Rykowski, president, All in The Present, a corporate gift service. "Gifts are strong motivators because they are memorable and make us feel good."

"Whether it's a gift card to their favorite restaurant, a day or two of extra vacation time or the latest tech gadget, pairing a meaningful reward with recognition enhances the emotional connection employees share with the company," says Simon. Whether you have a big budget or a small one, "find rewards that will have value and be meaningful" to employees, which will "create an even stronger connection between the individual, the company and its goals."

2. Organize an Employee Appreciation Day or outing. "There is no better time to show your employees that you appreciate them than during the festive holiday season," says Garry Spinks, cofounder, Bug Insights, a human capital & marketing analytics firm. "Have a company-wide meeting to review the achievements of the year and discuss goals for the new year." And as a reward for their achievements, "treat your employees to a breakfast or lunch." Or "if your company has extra money in the budget, consider taking your employees on an off-site excursion to work on additional team building and strategic planning."

 

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