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James is founder and owner of Response. An HR and recruitment expert from Sutton Coldfield, he regularly advises companies on how to improve and get the maximum ROI from their recruitment process.
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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… There, I said it.
(I can already imagine the little groans and humphs from the grumpy ‘it’s-too-early’ naysayers).
Are you prepared at your business?
At the very least, I hope you’ve sorted out your office Christmas party – whether you’ve gone for a sophisticated dinner or a good-old disco – your staff deserve a celebration.
And it shouldn’t end there – there are plenty of other ways you can reward and engage your staff this winter – some easier, some more flamboyant than others!
Today, I’ve put together a list of my 10 favourites…
Save the Children are putting on this UK-wide festive celebration for charity on 16th December.
It’s a really simple idea; all your staff have to do is dress to impress, donning a Christmassy jumper and donate a few pounds.
You could even make it a little more interesting and put on a competition – best (or worst) dressed wins!
Fun, festive and all for a good cause too – it’s win, win win!
Surely a few Christmas decorations can’t make an entire office feel happier?
You’d be surprised how much a few bits of tinsel here, and a couple of baubles there can really pick up the atmosphere and get staff feeling excited about the holidays!
Even better… you could make Christmas decorating an annual tradition, getting the team working together and bonding over a mutual love for the festive season.
Even the most depressing of decorations are bound to at least get a good laugh!
People love to be awarded and rewarded for their hard work and effort, so why not host an Award Ceremony?
It doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact, you could do it at the office, with a couple of snacks and drinks, one Friday afternoon.
Awards can be a great way to engage staff and let them know that you value their hard work.
And they don’t have to be based on targets – you don’t want to leave a proportion of your loyal workforce out – consider things like…
- The most encouraging person in the office.
- The most organised.
- The best at keeping your customers happy.
…split your awards up across teams and make sure your perceived ‘favourites’ (if there are any) don’t get more praise and credit than others.
You can even mingle in some joke awards to add some comedy to the event, for example, ‘best quiff’ or ‘messiest desk’ of 2015.
Make sure everyone feels involved and loved.
A slightly more obvious Christmas tradition, Secret Santa is an amazing way to bring your employees, across different teams, together.
Too much hassle to organise everyone?
This brilliant little online tool does (pretty much) everything for you!
Just decide on a £5-£10 limit and then pick a day for the ‘big reveal’ and you’re sorted!
A great incentive and reward scheme that works specifically well for salespeople is allowing them to finish work early for the Christmas holiday if they hit an (achievable) target.
Whether it’s on 1st December (you’d hope not…) or 23rd, when they’ve hit the target, let them go home until January!
I’d highly recommend that you extend this incentive for all of the staff at your business.
For example, other targets could be to finish a project, complete a certain amount of support calls or write a certain amount of content.
You don’t want other teams to feel that the sales staff are being favoured.
This little incentive will help productivity to soar (in an often notoriously slow month) and everyone will feel valued and rewarded.
I love this idea for two reasons…
1) It gets the entire office involved in something fun and Christmassy.
2) It involves food!
Write down Christmassy foods on little bits of paper – sprouts, pigs in blankets, stuffing, turkey, mince pies, Christmas pudding; the works – and then get your team to pick them out of a hat.
Pick a date for everyone to bring in their dishes and voila – you’ve got yourself a Christmas Come Dine With Me feast!
Of course, getting staff to mark each dish out of ten is optional, but the competition will certainly ramp up the team’s effort.
As you’ve suggested the event, you might want to offer to provide the turkey yourself… it’s just a bit harsh on the unlucky sod, otherwise.
Many people steer away from the good old fashioned Christmas card these days – and to a certain extent, I understand why – sending out a generic, cheesy card to employees (or clients for that matter) isn’t going to make that much of an impact.
A personalised and genuine card, however, expressing gratitude and thanks can go an awfully long way.
This is especially true for larger businesses where employees can feel overlooked or completely unknown to the Senior team.
Don’t just write off the little things; sometimes they can make a heck of a difference.
So – this may take a little bit more planning (and probably a lot more persuading) but it’s great fun bringing some Christmas cheer to your neighbours.
You could have a wander around your office building, singing to the other teams or the other businesses or you could go out after work one evening and make it a charitable event.
Either way, a good dose of Christmas carols and a tipple of Hot Chocolate and Baileys will go down a treat (and make everyone feel all warm and fuzzy inside).
(I’d recommend that you all wear Christmassy clothing though – it would just look a bit odd otherwise, wouldn’t it?)
Whatever you do decide to do for your staff this Christmas – you can liven any event up with some festive games.
Pinch some of the ones I’ve mentioned below, be creative and come up with your own or ask your team for their suggestions.
- A snowman competition. Obviously this depends entirely on the weather, but if we do get snow, spontaneously get your team out there and enjoying it!
- Christmas wrapping competition. Come up with weird and wonderful shapes to wrap, make sure there’s a time limit and then judge each team’s wrapping skills.
- A Christmas quiz. You could go the extra mile and put on a festive pub quiz at the office or at a hired venue (if you’ve got a little extra in your Christmas budget).
- Pin the nose on the Rudolph. Pretty self-explanatory – do be careful when you’re spinning your employees around with that pin.
- Christmas Charades or Pictionary – based on Christmas carols, films, foods, characters etc.
Now, I’m not one to encourage drinking, but these games do tend to go down a little bit better after a couple of mulled wines and/or a Baileys.
Do you remember that feeling in school when the teacher would bring in a video tape?
You’d be chuffed, because you’d know that that lesson was going to be “a doss.”
Now, I’m not saying your employees are like primary school children, but who doesn’t like a good old Christmas film, especially accompanied by a festive beverage?
If you’ve got the resources (IE. a projector or TV) then it’s a nice and easy way to get your office into the Christmas spirit.
It’s obviously really important to engage staff throughout the year, but during the winter months, it can be tricky.
The cold, dark mornings, evenings and general lethargy that come with them can make it hard to inspire and motivate but – whether you’re a Christmas-lover or a grumpy old Scrooge – you can use festivities to keep those mood levels high!
(You don’t want staff members thinking of work as an unpleasant, but necessary slog, they simply have to get through to make it till Christmas.)