Engaging Staff at Year-End

Managing productivity is a challenge on a good day, through in the Christmas season and employees can spend more time planning their outfits for the season’s parties than on the work at hand.  Absenteeism may also increase.

Don’t get me wrong, there are also several positives that can be derived from the festivities.  So the challenge for Human Resources is to balance these against the relaxed attitude that may pervade the atmosphere.

Some ideas include involving staff in planning the festivities.  This can be achieved in a structured way to minimize disruption to operations.  Volunteers can be solicited for decorating the office, planning the end of year function, organizing activities such as the popular “Earthlings and Angels” or assisting the less fortunate in society.  Staff feels that their creative skills are utilized and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when things turn out successfully.

Our firm closes on Christmas Eve and half-day on New Year’s Eve as it is felt that employees deserve the time off for their families and the productivity levels are really quite low anyway.  This impacts morale positively.

Staff meetings are still important to prepare for the coming year, especially in these times, planning, budgeting and other related activities should be in focus.  End of year appraisals also come on stream, though these continue into the New Year.  Payment of bonuses in some companies occurs around this time.

Attention should also be given to considering the feelings of those employees whose religion dictates that they do not celebrate the season.  Other types of recognition should be planned, if possible, to ensure that they know their efforts over the past year were appreciated.

Bianca Attong
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