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How to Keep Your Employees Motivated During the Holidays

Everybody loves the holidays. From Thanksgiving Day to the start of New Year, there always seems to be an extra amount of joy and liveliness in the air.  But when this exciting atmosphere hits the workplace – it becomes one of the hardest times to keep staff motivated, engaged and focused on their tasks and deadlines.  While happiness and joy distract – so does the inevitable stress.  According to a survey done by the American Psychological Association, 7 in 10 Americans are stressed during the holiday season due to a perceived lack of time, while more than half are stressed by gift-giving.   With these additional stresses, the holiday season can seriously weaken employee focus and engagement across the workforce.

The best way to keep your employees motivated during the holiday craziness is to show them sincere appreciation and recognition. A 2012 SHRM Employee Engagement Survey shows companies that implement employee recognition report a 28.6% lower frustration level than companies without formal recognition programs. Additionally, the Society for Human Resources Management found recognition programs lead to 63% greater productivity. Here are three ways to recognize employees this holiday season:

 1) Share a Handwritten Note:

The time it takes to sit down and write a personalized note says a lot in and of itself. By expressing gratitude in a personal message, the recipient will feel appreciated by the effort and motivated to continue to go above and beyond.

2) Recognize in Person:

For the employees who prefer public praise, acknowledge their achievements during a staff meeting or in front of their peers. For those who are more private, stopping by their desk to extend words of appreciation is also very effective. The key is to know what form of recognition is most meaningful to the employee and recognize them in that way.

3) Reward Performance:

Whether it’s a gift card to their favorite restaurant, a day or two of extra vacation time, or the latest tech gadget — pairing a meaningful reward with recognition enhances the emotional connection employees share with the company. Big budgets or low budgets — find rewards that will have value and be meaningful across multi-generations and lifestyles to create an even stronger link between the individual, the company and its goals.

Since we can expect employees to have both big and small distractions this time of year, companies need to create an atmosphere that encourages the season without taking away from the work that needs to be accomplished.  Managers, supervisors and leaders need to show appreciation through recognition and rewards and this will keep employees focused on the job and not the holiday stress!

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About Kara Simon