It’s that time of year when employers turn their thoughts to the festive season and look for ideas to improve employee engagement. There’s certainly more to Christmas than just turkey and tinsel, and for employers, it’s a key time to consider whether your workforce is thriving as you approach a new calendar year. 

We share our top tips around employee engagement ideas and how to help you put your employees first this festive season. Get that right, and you’ll start the new year on a positive note, engaging and retaining staff and promoting a positive workplace culture.

1. Have fun

Happy employees are known to work harder and be more productive. So, if you can get staff engaging with one another this festive season at a lunch or drinks, the effort could well pay off in the workplace well into the new year. There may also be talk of Christmas parties, depending on how well your business has performed during the past year. Get your date in early and get planning well ahead of time to find cost-effective local venues. If you employ part-time staff, ensure it’s a weekday where all members of staff are in the office so it’s fair for everyone.

2. Encourage breaks and holidays

Make sure you give your employees plenty of notice regarding their own holiday time so they can plan family time and holidays. Employees need to know when the holidays fall and when the office is closed over the bank holiday period. Plus part-time employees need to know their bank holiday entitlement. Read our blog about bank holidays, including next year’s 2020 bank holidays.

3. Reward employees

Christmas is a time for giving, right? So why not recognise your employees’ progress this year and reward employees with a gift card or e-voucher. It’s a nice way to show your appreciation for their hard work over the year and a good employee engagement idea. Gift cards and e-vouchers have wide appeal as staff can use them to supplement their Christmas spending or treat themselves to big ticket items like a bottle of champagne for example.

4. Say ‘Thank You’

When you thank your staff, you’re promoting a culture of gratitude and making employees happy. Some businesses consider cash bonuses to be enough of an incentive for staff. These are performance-related bonuses with set criteria for staff to work towards over the course of a year.

As a result, bonuses may be perceived as a company initiative, spreading the wealth, rather than a personalised thank you. And not every company will be in a position to offer cash bonus schemes – it’s a trend that’s creeping out of favour. In fact, a personal handwritten note is a nice touch at this time of year and can be more effective as a result.

5. Arrange a Secret Santa

A good way to engage with employees during the festive season is to set up some additional fun activities such as a Secret Santa. Everyone picks a name out of a hat and then has to spend a few pounds of their own money buying a gift for that person. It should be done in good spirit and gifts need to be appropriate – this will depend on your workplace culture. But it is a fun way to get people talking and bonding in the workplace, especially new employees.

6. Surprise your staff

At this festive time of year, you can also provide ad hoc tokens of appreciation. This may appeal to smaller businesses more, but staff morale can be boosted by little gestures from managers such as a box of doughnuts or other sweet treats when they’re least expected.

7. Promote better work-life balance

Businesses who want to promote a happy workplace as the year draws to a close should consider their position on implementing flexible working across the board – not just to working mums and dads. There are so many benefits such as an increase in productivity, reduced absenteeism and improved employee wellbeing. In fact, flexible working will be a necessity for workplaces that wish to thrive in the future, particularly when it comes to retaining and attracting staff. A great employee engagement idea for 2020!

8. Offer training opportunities

Employees appreciate commitment to their career advancement, so think about ongoing training opportunities and development initiatives that show you want to invest in staff and keep them working for you long-term. Many people treat the new year as a time to look closely at what they want out of life and you don’t want to lose staff in the coming months.

If you require any further help or advice around implementing flexibility to boost employee wellbeing, please contact us. We offer businesses flexible working consultancy and would love to talk to you about your workplace. Or if you’re thinking about hiring staff in the new year, this could be a good time to kick start your recruitment plan.

Whatever happens, let’s be certain about one thing – let’s make this Christmas a good one!

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