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Company Christmas Perks

December has snuck up on us and is here again, although it does “come this time each year” (thanks to The Beach Boys for the reminder), bringing with it an abundance of yuletide cheer, festivities and food, whilst people await Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year (or are still recovering from Thanksgiving).

Unfortunately, December sees employee motivation and productivity plummet nearly half (43%) of the British workforce admitting that they will ‘switch off’ by the third week of December. Contrary to this, companies can motivate their employees to improve end-of-year productivity levels, by helping spread Christmas cheer through recognition and rewarding perks (or “by singing loud for all to hear”, like Buddy the Elf advises).

Rewarding your employees over the festive period can go a lot further than you think, even if they don’t celebrate Christmas, it is the perfect opportunity to thank them for their dedication over the past year. Most organisations have a Christmas party, which although many people dread it, provides a sense of belonging within an organisation that may not be there all year round. This party can also play host to a present giving (be that financial or physical) or an award ceremony of ‘best improved’, ‘best new starter’ and such awards alongside gifts for employees, but these don’t tend to be seen as ‘perks’ as the majority of organisations offer similar services.

Instead, why not consider something unique to motivate your employees over Christmas, and maybe act as a USP during the next hiring in-take too. Here are a few of the best motivational perks that not all organisations would consider:

Be flexible and Involve the family – Don’t be an Ebenezer Scrooge.

Allow more flexible hours, in order for parents/carers to be home with their loved ones on time, or an extra half hour at lunch to dash to the shops for that highly demanded present that all the children want before the lunchtime queues kick-in. They have a long way to travel home, so leaving an hour or two early on the last day before Christmas, won’t hurt your organisation, but will help them massively. This will be returned at another point but can motivate your employees by realising that you’re allowing them that little bit extra. Furthermore, children have Christmas assemblies/shows that they want their parents to attend. Allow them the flexibility to go. They will appreciate it.

If you aren’t so inclined to give your staff the flexible time they need here and there, then consider a ‘Bring your Children to Work’ day. Children are off school and are excitable at this time of year. Why not conduct a bring your child to work day, where they can get involved in decorating the office and they can share their anticipation and excitable nature for Christmas with the rest of the office (because secretly Christmas is about being a child at heart and spending time with family and friends).

Create an advent/countdown game

This could be good fun and motivational for all involved, but especially in a KPI driven culture, as this can work in a ‘carrot on a stick’ manner. By creating a physical or virtual advent calendar, which has daily targets and daily rewards for achieving these targets (like in an advent calendar) for the whole countdown to Christmas could push employee’s productivity levels back to a normal level.

Set an objective for the new year they can start

By setting a goal for the beginning of the new year before it has even come around, it provides a level of anticipation, which can drive employees through the Christmas period. This also provides a focus and direction for the new year. Consider objectives focused on meeting needs that the employee wants, IE in Recruitment a Candidate only consultant may want to become a 360 consultant in the upcoming year, so use the Christmas period for them to review the market they want to enter and to train them on this area. This allows employees to see that they are progressing within your organisation and encourages loyalty from knowing which direction they are going in.

Assign time for ‘non-essential’ projects

This tends to be a ‘down period’ within business, so why not allocate this time to focus on projects like tidying the database, or clearing out inboxes and desk. This provides a fresh start for the new year, yet allows a period of time that can act as a break for employees from their normal day-to-day role.

Provide training/development opportunities

In line with one of the previous points on using the Christmas period to provide employees with a forward vision for their career path, this time can be used to provide employees with much needed time to develop themselves in an area they wish to improve. This will provide a new skill that they will be eager to apply in the new year, but will also give them a sense of accomplishment during the ‘down-time’.

Advice like decorating the office, and allowing music to be played (predominantly of the Christmas variety) when it isn’t normally, are almost a given during this period to lift office spirits, however, you can do more to lift productivity. Allowing freedom on hours and the day-to-day role over the Christmas period will increase employee productivity outside of their normal remit. This shows your employees that they matter and that the organisation cares, but can also provide an element of fun that could prevent them suffering from the ‘January Blues’ as they understand that they have a direction for the upcoming year.

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