In many workplaces, the holiday season is prime time for boosting employee morale and creating initiatives to keep employees engaged going into the new year. Your company may choose to give bonuses, allow gift exchanges, and host holiday parties during this festive time of year. However, it can be easy to make mistakes during the holidays that can send morale plummeting downward. Some ways to wreck the holidays might actually be the very things that managers intended as a way to boost a sense of camaraderie and appreciation. Want to wreck employee morale around the holidays? Try this.
Mandatory Celebrations- Company parties are usually held in order to boost employee morale, but if you make what should be a fun event mandatory under the guise of giving people a holiday treat, you’ll hurt morale, not build it. Do not penalize employees for not attending. Holiday parties are meant to be fun, but not obligatory.
Insensitive Religious Differences- Assuming all of your employees celebrate the holidays the same as you do can lead to some really awkward days at the office during the month of December. Over expression of your personal beliefs and holiday traditions can make some of your employees feel isolated and uncomfortable. When decorating the office or planning holiday activities, avoid religious tones or traditions not everyone would be comfortable participating in.
Pressuring People to Participate in Gift Exchanges- Many people resent being expected to give up their hard-earned cash in the place they go to earn money, not spend it. If there are employees who want to organize or participate in a gift exchange, remind them to be sensitive to one and other’s opinions on participating. Set a budget for the gift exchange to make it more affordable to everyone to participate.
Same goes for employees pressuring others to participate in chipping in for an expensive gift for the boss! Gifts in the workplace should flow downward, not upward, but many offices still expect workers to contribute to a present for the boss. If you’re a manager who suspects someone is taking up a collection for you, make it clear that the best gift employees can give you is doing a great job all year long – and that nothing else is necessary.
Allowing Employees to Drink and Drive- While your employees are adults and can make decisions about consuming alcohol on their own, it is important that if your office holiday celebrating includes alcohol that you set safety expectations for all employees. Do not provide an overabundance of alcohol at office parties and encourage nonalcoholic options. Provide employees with information about public transportation options should they over consume. Do not leave the office event until you know each employee has a safe ride home.
Not Recognizing the Close of a Successful Year- Your employees need some sort of reinforcement that they're doing a good job. The holidays are a great time of year to shower your workers with compliments. Be able to identify where your workers have gone above-and-beyond the call of duty this year and celebrate the accomplishments. Ring in the upcoming year by setting new goals and encouraging employees to stay motivated and engaged in the months ahead.