This festive season will be unlike any other, so with a challenging year behind us, and a limited budget to play with, what ways can we find to celebrate the holidays with our employees this year?

As an HR leader, finding the perfect way to wrap up the end of the year has always been a challenge. How do you figure out what’s right for an increasingly diverse workforce, in a more cost-conscious environment?

Especially at the end of such an extremely challenging year, it’s important to picture what reaction you want to receive from your employees.

That being said, compared to this year, the challenges of prior years were a ‘walk in the park’ as the expression goes. With companies no longer being able to hold face-to-face holiday parties, team lunches, or end-of-year award events, what do they do? Many businesses are also struggling financially, so how do they let their employees know that they  appreciate them without their usual budget?

As with every other challenge you’ve faced in 2020, I’m confident that you can figure out what is the best way to handle it. To help you, here are five tips.

1. What are you really trying to do?

First, before jumping into solution mode, it’s important to pause for a moment and ask yourself ‘what am I really trying to do’? In prior years, common answers to this question would have been:

  • Celebrate the holidays
  • Mark the end of the year
  • Thank employees for their contributions
  • Have fun and come together

Are these the same now? Has the order of importance changed? Based on what’s going on in the world, at your company, and in your employee’s lives, review if/how the answers have changed.

One of my favourite quotes from the wonderful poet Maya Angelou is: “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel”.

This is so true, and for this reason it’s important to also ask yourself the question, ‘how do I want my employees to feel?’ when setting your objectives. Especially at the end of such an extremely challenging year, it’s important to picture what reaction you want to receive from your employees, and develop your plans with this in mind.

3. Re-think and reinvent how you deliver your objectives

Next, it’s time to re-think and reinvent how you’ll deliver against your objectives. The good news is that, as my spinning instructor often says at the end of a class, ‘you’re more bada** now than you were at the start’. The same is true for you now. Remind yourself that you’ve gotten this far by re-thinking and reinventing employee experiences, so I’m confident that you can do it again now.

The other good news is, as I’m sure you’ve already discovered, there are so many ways to do this by leveraging technology, bringing so much to your employees in a virtual setting. From online games, activities and competitions that you can run in-house, to bringing in companies who have pivoted their services to provide virtual experiences such as cooking classes, theatre, magic shows, escape rooms, craft classes, music and so much more – there are so many possibilities.

4. Deliver in a diverse and inclusive way

Before finalising your plans, it’s absolutely critical to address and meet the needs of your diverse workforce in order to achieve your objectives. Whether it’s diversity in religion, culture, or even in how people are feeling about the holidays in general based on how the year has impacted them personally, it’s important to pause and bring this into your actions.

For example, when brainstorming with one company on how to address diversity during the holiday season, we discussed having virtual events where employees could share their traditions, foods, etc. to respect differences, raise awareness, and give everyone a voice.

At Missguided, they created special holiday eCards and banners to appear on their communications platform so that colleagues could celebrate Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas together.

The bottom line is that when it comes to anything involving the diverse needs of your workforce, talk to them to understand their differences and wishes, and weave this into your design and delivery.


Original article ‘Five tips for motivating employees and celebrating the festive season in 2020’ Written by Debra Published by The HR Zone


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