Improving Employee Engagement: Lessons from the Holiday Season

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Epiphany or something else (Elvis’s birthday January 8?) as 2018 arrives, you’ll agree we’re in the midst of the holiday season. You’ll likely relate then to these employee engagement best practices gleaned from observing our habits this time of year. Before taking some well-deserved time off, consider these ideas on improving employee engagement.

#1 Employees want to belong.

What’s the big deal about holidays? They bring people together. Whether it’s at gift exchanges, family dinners that require borrowing extra chairs from the neighbors, or children’s concerts and dance recitals, the holidays often bring multiple generations together to appreciate their membership in a larger clan. Even if the get-togethers cause anxiety and pressure to conform, there is still a certain joy in knowing we belong to a group of family and friends that want us around.

Similarly, any methods of employee engagement you read about will talk about the need to foster a sense of belonging. When employees feel connected to the organization, and see themselves as part of a “we” at work, they are more likely to be engaged in what they are doing. Employees who feel a cultural fit with their co-workers also tend to have higher productivity and a more positive attitude about their job.

#2 Employees want to be appreciated.

Retailers love this time of year! So many people are buying gifts. But let’s think of the messaging behind our exchange of gifts. It’s a way of showing how well we know the person to whom we are giving our gift. The great gifts show we have been observant and listened to the recipient.

Sure you can improve employee engagement with tangible gifts or bonuses, but in the work environment words of recognition can also be a simple present to give. Just as you cement a relationship with Aunt Margo when you get her beloved Chihuahua cold weather booties, managers can cement relationships with handwritten notes acknowledging employees’ contributions and successes. Employees will respond best to an individualized appreciation that feels genuine and authentic.

#3 Employees want to be empowered.

One hardship of the holidays can be finding ourselves back in old roles. CEOs at Fortune 100 companies may go home and feel as if their families still see them as lazy layabouts. Many face the challenge of having to answer for who they have become, who they love, what they do, or what they do not do. This weathering of familial bonds can remind us, though, that one employee engagement best practice is to empower employees to be their authentic selves.

Improve employee engagement by recognizing the power of autonomy. Letting employees do their work their way helps:

  • Foster employees’ enthusiasm for their responsibilities
  • Build employees’ confidence that they can achieve success
  • Leave room for inspiration and the new ideas your organization needs to remain competitive

Hiring people who fit your company’s culture, showing you recognize their work, and giving them the tools needed to do their jobs well before getting out of the way are all key to improving employee engagement. A little time off at the holidays helps too! But know that Forrest Solutions Group is here when you all get back, ready to meet your staffing and outsourcing needs with just the right employees to engage in your particular business niche.



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