A Gratitude Attitude: How to Re-Energize Your Workforce Over the Holidays
Thanksgiving and Christmas are a time for celebrating the things you are grateful for; and for any good business that should mean acknowledging the hard work of staff and colleagues as well as spending time with the family. This is the perfect opportunity to make sure that your staff feel appreciated, to show them that their efforts haven't gone unnoticed and to build good will – which is one of the best investments you can make.
The Importance of Holiday Spirit at Work
So why is it so important that the holiday spirit makes it to work? Well of course it's an important thing from a moral perspective - and nobody wants to be scrooge – but at the same time it's also a good strategy in a business sense. As with anything in business, what you put in you will get back out and you will reap what you sew. If you use this time to make the right gestures, then your staff will feel more impetus to work harder and will be more willing to put in extra time and effort throughout the rest of the year. By creating a good vibe in your office(s), you can help to strengthen teams and friendships and thus ensure a more productive workflow and in general this will create a more harmonious workspace.
An Example of Getting it Wrong
A friend of mine recently recounted a story from her workspace that really demonstrated just how easy it is for businesses to get this wrong. She was working under a new boss who had just arrived in the office and it had come to Christmas Eve. The last boss had reportedly always let staff leave early on Christmas Eve, but to make a statement this new woman decided to force them all to stay until precisely 5pm – even the ones who had other plans.
Of course during this time none of the staff were working anyway. The holiday vibe had well and truly sunk in and no-one was going to be around for the next few days, so everyone spent their time chatting and procrastinating while feeling annoyed that they weren't at home. And what were they chatting about? The boss of course. Surprise, surprise when that boss needed to find someone to work extra hours,
How to get it Right
As you can see here then, letting staff go early would have been an investment in that circumstance – and that's precisely how these things should be viewed. The same goes for Christmas bonuses and parties. You might be struggling to afford the usual celebration this year, but you should never think of canceling it or you will demotivate your entire team and create enemies which can have repercussions all throughout the year. It might not be convenient, but it is just as necessary as ordering more paper when the printer runs out…
At the same time though, you also have to be careful to avoid 'forced fun'. Many offices make the mistake of forcing their staff to celebrate in particular ways, even when they have made it clear that they'd rather do their own thing. Just as you should make sure to have a Christmas party/meal, you should also avoid making it compulsory, or forcing people to play awkward 'get to know you' games. This is not a time to be the 'boss' and you'll find that things go much more smoothly if you actually listen to what people want.
This is Thanks Giving after all, so your main priority should be to show your staff that you are grateful and to reward them for their work throughout the rest of the year. At the same time though you also need to get out of the way and let them blow off steam the way they want to. If you're lucky, they may even invite you for drink.
Today’s featured writer, Greg Fisher, is the Founder and CEO of Berkeley Sourcing Group. He started BSG eight years ago after realizing the need for efficient processes and coordination between manufacturing firms located in the United States and factories in China.