Employee appreciation is more important now than ever.
Many people have been working from home for over a year and a half. While some companies have returned to the office or have a hybrid schedule, a good chunk are still fully remote. And they don’t have many of those one-on-one interactions and opportunities to be appreciated.
People want to work for companies that care about them. If your company shows its employees they care about them, they’ll be more likely to stay during the “great resignation” era.
And with the holiday season upon us, it’s vital for firms to do something for employee recognition and appreciation. They want to celebrate this year and have fun now that some of the restrictions have been lifted and many people are vaccinated.
But it’s not going to be easy. And while the pandemic isn’t over, the year almost is. So, you want to go out showing your appreciation and gratitude.
Whether you show that appreciation in person or virtually doesn’t matter. Just do something because what you do matters.
Here are some ideas from employee reward and recognition expert Blueboard:
If you’re not comfortable doing an in-person celebration, it’s understandable – whether you’re in a high-rate COVID-19 area or not. You know your situation and your employees best. Just one word of warning if you’re celebrating virtually, skip the Zoom happy hour. People are Zoomed out nowadays.
1. Secret Santa with a personal touch
Most people have done a Secret Santa gift exchange at some time. But make yours a little extra special. Have participants give the name of a co-worker who knows them well. The gift “givers” then use these “special co-workers” to come up with meaningful gifts. Set a budget and give employees pre-paid shipping labels to send their gifts. Then, to spread holiday cheer, have employees share what they got online via Slack or another company source and tag the gift giver in the photo – if they want to.
2. Traveling gift box
The first step for the traveling gift box is to find out who wants to participate. Then, group them by similar locations. The next step, send out a gift box filled with holiday cheer to one person in each group. That person then refills the box with new holiday cheer items and sends it to another person in the group and so on. Again, give employees pre-paid labels and set spending limits. It could be things to decorate your home office space, or things for a special holiday meal. And as always, post pictures along company channels to share the cheer!
3. Holiday playlist for the company
If your budget is stretched thin this year, consider creating a company-wide Spotify playlist. Have everyone add their favorite holiday tunes. When they’re done adding to the playlist, encourage employees to play the music while they’re wrapping gifts, cleaning or whatever. Then have them comment on their favorite tunes, songs they’ve never heard before, etc. It’ll be a fun bonding activity.
4. Adult show-and-tell holiday traditions
Kids love show-and-tell! And there’s no reason adults can’t love it, too! So, try a virtual show-and-tell during which employees share their holiday traditions. Again, it’s a bonding activity for employees to get to know each other better. And they may find a new tradition that they want to make their own.
If you go for an in-person event, remember all the COVID-19 safety guidelines, and do your best to keep employees safe. And remember, some people won’t be comfortable with an in-person event. So, consider offering a virtual option for them.
5. An old fashion holiday party
No, it doesn’t mean dress in colonial garb. It just means throw a pre-pandemic holiday party. Things, however, you’ll want to consider:
- Only allowing vaccinated people to attend or requiring unvaccinated people to wear masks.
- The type of venue – bigger rooms may make people feel safer, as will having an indoor/outdoor space.
- Will event staff have to mask up?
- How to minimize risk when having food, like having event staff pass trays instead of a buffet.
6. Desk decoration event
Have employees decorate their desk/work area representing what the holidays mean to them. Maybe it’s a favorite song, vacation, event, meal, etc. Then stop work and have everyone take a tour and share the story behind their decorations.
7. Local lights tour
If you don’t have the budget for a holiday party, consider a local lights tour. Schedule a time when employees can meet up and peruse nearby holiday decorations. You can do it at different locations, and help employees create groups to sightsee with. You could even set up a little hot cocoa, cider stand at the company or someone’s house after the tours are done. And as always, sharing photos is enjoyable.
8. Glam up holiday trees
Get some trees and decorate them throughout your office. Make each tree a different theme. They can be silly, like holiday socks or a candy bar tree, or non-silly, like a Hanukkah tree or homemade decorations. Your imagination – and the strength of the tree limbs – is the limit. Again, stop all business at some point and have everyone tour the trees! It’s a fun way for employees to be creative and silly, and a bonding activity.
One thing to remember when planning your holiday celebration as far as employee recognition goes, you won’t please everyone.
That’s why it’s important to do a few different activities to cover as many employees as possible. Your events/activities don’t have to be expensive to show you care. They just need to show you’ve put thought and effort into them.