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Ah, the holidays. A time of thanks, good tidings and joy — at least, that’s how marketing departments tend to spin this time of year.
But the truth is, it’s a stressful time of year. In our personal lives, it means trying to deal with various family members or friends who perhaps don’t have the best of relationships. It means getting the house decorated to reflect which holiday it is that you’re celebrating, and cooking dinner for multiple people (who may or may not have competing dietary restrictions).
And don’t even get me started on gift buying.
At work, we all think that the start of the holiday season means that the “holiday lull” is about to start. But how often does that actually happen? In my own experience, the holidays typically only mean that it’s harder to get in touch with the people you need to talk to in order to do your job — but the deadline doesn’t change. Add to that the stress from your personal life and it’s a perfect storm of Holiday Hell.
However, HR is well positioned to add at least some holiday cheer to their employees’ lives.
Here’s the good news: Your holiday plans don’t necessarily have to cost much — if anything at all (except, of course, time)! In this day and age of increased employee recognition, it’s almost too easy to give your employees a little extra boost. For instance, let’s say you have five direct reports. You could take an hour out of your (admittedly) busy day and write personal emails to each of them, thanking them for their contributions and calling out one or two instances that they really did a great job. Let them know that it really meant something to you personally, not just as a boss.
Of course, if you have many more direct reports, this tactic may be harder to do, at least on a person-to-person level. But this is one of those times where a mass email might work. You can still express your gratitude and maybe even call out a couple of cool projects (projects, not people, unless you want to note each and every person — which is another option).
This concept can also work on a peer-to-peer basis. In fact, it’s a great time to let your co-workers know that you appreciate them. Remember how Bob covered for you in that really important meeting that you missed because you had a head cold? Send him a thank you note, wishing him a happy holiday and once again thanking him for having your back. Tell him you that you owe him one.
During the holidays, it’s important to express gratitude for the people in your life, such as family and friends. But let’s not forget those who we spend as much (or more!) of our time with: our employees and co-workers.
About the Author
Stephanie N. Rotondo is managing editor of Workspan.