Improving employee relations should hardly be an annual affair. Engagement sits at the forefront of an employee's mind when he/she considers yet another year within their current organisation and whether the feeling that such a prospect evokes veers more towards optimism or drudgery. Done right, day-to-day policies should be geared towards ensuring staff loyalty and retention. Giving the relationship you share with your organisation's internal stakeholders a little boost can mean the difference between a workforce that's motivated to give their best and one that's content with just putting in the bare minimum.
Festivities in the office
Bringing the “party” experience – decorations, gifts and food – is a way for the organisation to convey their thanks for all the hard work rendered throughout the year and to celebrate the fruits of their labour. Making such experiences a mainstay in your company's culture also plays a strong role in shaping its profile as an employer of choice. One thing to note: don't ask your employees to foot the bill – this is no time to be a penny-pincher!
Annual rewards and recognition programme
Beyond the concept of fairness, rewarding individuals for their outstanding efforts and achievements also shows the rest of your employees that hard work never goes unnoticed. While this public recognition of success is important, the manner of which it's carried out needs to be planned properly. Consider the communication process and prioritise consistency from the top-down. At the same time, conduct some informal research on the type of reward that would be most appreciated by the recipient(s). Individualising your rewards programme will make for a much more authentic and genuine atmosphere.
Making a habit of cultural and social inclusivity
While it may be important to make one's holiday-themed party as festive as possible, there may be some of your employees who end up feeling alienated from what they find to be a very foreign practice. Consider creating a more inclusive environment by providing a neutral space for such individuals. Examples include incorporating acts of service (e.g. charity or corporate social responsibility initiatives) into your programme or adding a little narrative segment (like a small play) to your office party to outline the history and significance of a festive holiday.
Keeping one eye on the horizon
Sharing your vision and expectations for the organisation can be a source of inspiration for your employees. After all, no one likes to feel like they're wandering aimlessly through a desert. Defining clear and measurable goals also presents a target for your employees to work towards. Take this opportunity to outline your engagement strategy as well – this will give them the motivation to start the new year with a positive mindset.
Festive periods are all about good times and spreading cheer! While the idea of spending holidays at work doesn't usually fit into the traditional mould of things, it can nevertheless be a memorable occasion and be used as an opportunity to invest in improving employee relations. Keeping employee engagement high during the holidays boils down letting them know that they matter and that they're more than just members of a workforce. There's nothing better than making people feel like they're part of something much bigger!