Keeping Employees Engaged During the Holidays

Engaging hardwood lumber employees during holidaysThe holidays are here! It is a joyous time. There is an abundance of family get-togethers, religious observances, parties and travel. For us in the hardwood lumber business it can be a time of visiting customers, thanking others and perhaps reflecting on the good fortunes we experienced during the year.

However, sometimes the pressures of the holiday season can make employees feel overwhelmed, particularly if they have any pressing job responsibilities in addition to all the other things going on. Employees might struggle to stay engaged in some instances. So, like many other companies we find it helpful to find ways to keep employees engaged while at the same time recognizing their holiday commitments beyond the workplace.

Here are a few things we find help to boost employee engagement and create that positive energetic environment during this time of year:

Encourage employees to take time off. Ideally, employees should make their holiday plans and schedule any time off well in advance of the holidays. But things don’t always go that smoothly. Last-minute travel plans or family members dropping in unexpectedly can distract employees and lessen their feelings of engagement on the job. However, try to be flexible in granting time off. Be at the ready to conduct some schedule-juggling so not to make employees feel “forced” to stay at work when holiday activities are underway.

Celebrate! Salute your employees’ hard work. The holidays offer a chance to recognize and reward employees for their hard work over the past year. Take the time to remind employees about how much you appreciate their contributions to the business. As we’ve noted before, “Try to emphasize the value you place on their emotional and physical well-being using all your communication tools such as company newsletters, company intranets, office signage, etc.”

Look for team-building opportunities. Deeper employee engagement grows out of a stronger sense of collaboration among employees. If the holiday season usually means a slow time for your business, consider taking employees off-site and encouraging their participation in team-building activities. Ideas can include a group lunch, a night out or a team sporting activity!

Support holiday-time volunteer activities. Some employees feel the best way to celebrate during the holidays is by helping others less fortunate than themselves. Popular examples involve arranging a company food drive, conducting a toy drive or even working in a local food pantry.

These type of activities not only boosts good feelings among employees who want to help others; it’s also a great way to strengthen your ties with the local community and boost awareness of your brand as a giving, caring organization.

So be intentional about keeping your employees engaged this holiday season.  Include everyone. For us that means all employees from foresters and loggers to sawmill managers, lumber graders and our hardwood lumber sales team. With some imagination and resources, you and your team can keep employees feeling more valued and engaged during the holidays.

Happy Holidays!

Tony C.
The Baillie Group
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