As the year wraps up, many people will find it difficult to focus on work tasks. It’s not possible for everyone to take off the last month of the year, but it can feel like everyone else is on vacation but you! If you’re a manager or an executive struggling to engage your employees during the holidays, we’ve got a few ways to help you keep your team focused while giving them what they want as well.
Letting employees have more room to function will ensure better work and better quality of work. Tightening up on employee freedom during the holidays will only lead to resentment, especially when a lot of the corporate world and upper management are in vacation mode.
If your team is hybrid or remote, make sure people have room to run errands. Being able to skip a holiday rush can save them lots of time and help them be more present. The freedom to pick up loved ones from the airport and get to end-of-year appointments will lighten their mental load.
The purpose of this is twofold! It helps your team stay engaged while they are working and it also demonstrates your trust in them. You don’t need to be constantly monitoring people— if that’s a requirement for them to complete work, are they a good fit on your team? Treat them with respect and give them flexibility; they will appreciate it and that appreciation will show in their work.
Wrap Up Loose Ends
If you’re assigning new projects in abundance this month, you’re setting up everyone involved to fail. It's a distracting and challenging time of year for many people, and demanding their fresh attention and effort in this fast month is a mistake.
Try to give people a sense of completion at the end of the year! Focus on wrapping up tasks, completing projects, and recognizing good work this month. Ask teams to review the big picture and make a ‘tada’ list instead of a ‘to-do’ list; this kind of list shares everything they’ve done that they’re proud of from 2022. Have them share these results with others and get some recognition for jobs well done.
Giving your team something positive to reflect on as the year wraps up will inspire them for what’s to come!
Offer A Preview Of The Future
Speaking of the upcoming year, December is the perfect time to preview what lies ahead. Give your team something to look forward to after the holidays— are you promoting employee wellness? Will there be more leadership or continuing education opportunities for your team? Make sure to give them something to be excited about!
This is the time to focus on the big picture, perhaps sharing the ‘tada’ lists of your teams with the entire organization. Try not to share this information in a meeting requiring attendance; the last thing people want to do during the last few weeks of the year is to attend an all-staff meeting.
Instead, present the results in a simple slide deck that they can review on their own, highlighting particular achievements and specific people. This gives your team something to hold onto and reflect on.
Find A Way To Celebrate Together
The last step is the most fun; it’s time to celebrate together! While you might be ready to let loose, it’s still important to be considerate to all others in your organization. Not everyone celebrates and it can be a particularly painful time of year for all kinds of reasons.
Work might be one of the places people are relying on for normalcy, so don’t put too much emphasis on one particular holiday or event. Focusing this celebration more on achievements in the workplace instead of only the holidays can make it more inclusive. Finally, if your team still isn’t interested, offer alternatives to celebrations like half days or time off for those not in attendance.
Make sure to represent all of the cultures present in your office; Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa, and Christmas all fall in December! If your organization is one that decorates, find visual representations for every culture and highlight those equally. The holidays are at their best when everyone feels comfortable and appreciated; it’s in your power to make that happen!
Celebrate Your Success And Your Team
The holidays can be hectic and overwhelming, but they can also be magical! Engage your team by encouraging flexibility, wrapping up work, looking to the future, and finding the right balance of celebrating alongside work.
If you want to engage your team with assessments, get the information you need to move forward here.