As a manager there is no substitute for a meaningful thank-you to your employees to help them feel valued and appreciated. And the holidays are the perfect time, since, frankly, employees are expecting some form of recognition from the boss.
Here are a couple of ideas I’ve heard recently from managers who want their holiday celebrations to lead to more engagement in the New Year:
Host a virtual party.
Yes, you may have had 6,000 Zoom, Mircosoft Team and Skype meetings this year, but your holiday meeting can and should be different. It’s a party. Limit the time to an hour. As the leader, express sincere thanks. Then, do something fun together. Host an online drive for charity, hire a local (clean) comedian to emcee a trivia game, do secret Santa, play a game of White Elephant, etc. A nice touch is to send food or mystery gift boxes to the homes of the employees before the meeting.
Make the company gift your own.
One way to be generous without spending a penny is to take control of the company holiday gift. If your organizations does give something to everyone—a fruit basket, turkey, or other item—personally pick them up and deliver them to your people with expressions of thanks. This is easier if you are all still together in the workplace, but I spoke with one leader who was going to deliver these items to her employees’ homes (talking on the porch). With remote people, you could send them expedited with a specific note of thanks. My guess is the time you invest in this activity will be time well spent.
Don’t forget the card.
As important as bonuses and gifts are during the holiday season, a meaningful card with a specific note of thanks could also mean a lot. There is no substitute for a sincere thank-you from the boss (more than “Good work Lois”). Be sure your sentiments in each holiday card are positive and thankful (i.e., no “you sure have come a long way” type of thoughts). The ultimate goal of written holiday thanks is to make sure each person on your team feels valued for the thousand things they’ve done over the year that no one ever said thanks for.
MORE FOR YOU
Measure how you are doing.
One of the greatest gifts we can give is to listen to our people and value their feedback. Many managers use the end of the year as a time to conduct Listening Sessions with their team members. This is a great time to measure the results of our efforts as leaders and make adjustments. Give a quick, verbal survey (in-person, on a call, or via email) to your employees and ask what gets them energized about the work environment and what makes them want to hit the snooze button. The job market is heating up, so plan now to continually improve in 2022 by creating a workplace where people come and stay committed.