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Engaging and Retaining Talent Over the Holidays

In just a few short weeks, the holiday season will end. The seemingly insurmountable stress of the past two months will subside, and your world will begin to calm down. Employees will return to work. All will return to normal.

That’s how many managers and executives view the holiday aftermath. That’s also why one in five employees leave their jobs in January.

During the holiday season it’s too easy for employees to distance themselves from their work and their organization. They can feel like their attentions areis being divided among too many things: work, family, trying to find the perfect presents, fighting the crowds and travel plans. So, they begin to compartmentalize their lives, and push work to the back of the line.

While this seems like a fair request often made by many employees, it may just end up costing you more than you bargained for in the long run.

When employees disengage from work, not only are the less productive, but they’re more likely to see their work as monotonous, easy or a waste of time. To retain talent through the holiday aftermath, you must make sure your employees stay engaged throughout the holiday season.

How you go about that will depend largely on your established culture. What do you currently do to engage your employees? Apple created a community culture that treats work like family. Google puts an emphasis on caring with its “Do no evil” mindset. Who you are and what you do will have a big influence in how you engage your employees.

Most people leave their jobs because they don’t feel challenged (23%), are bored (22%) or feel they deserve more money (35%). There is no one right way to tackle these issues. There are only strategies to help mitigate any additional stressors that could influence a decision.

 

Challenge your employees.

No one likes busywork. Not only does it waste your employees’ time, but managing it also takes time out of your day. This just adds to the frustrations, anxieties and stress of the holiday season. It can also make your employees feel like they’re not valued in your company.

When employees feel like they aren’t valued, they start looking for job opportunities at a new company that might see them and their work as important and worthwhile. The easiest way to show your employees that their work is valuable is to tell them so in their performance reviews, individual meetings or after they finish a big project.

Another way to show, instead of tell, your employees that you believe they can succeed in your company is to continually challenge them. One in four employees will leave theiryour company because they don’t feel like their skills or talents are being sharpened. To keep that employeeone, find ways to help them explore their abilities. Have them work with a mentor, or on a project that stretches their skills a bit. Give them a goal to reach for.

 

Be mindful of your employees.

If you think your employees are only at your job to collect a paycheck, you may be seriously undervaluing their capabilities, values and goals. Many employees, especially within the growing Millennial generation, prefer to work for a company or organization that aligns with their internal values.

In order to create a space for your employees to be engaged, you first have to understand them. During your annual employee performance reviews, talk to each person as an individual, not a cog in the machine. Ask them about their goals and aspirations, both within your company and in life. Let them know you value their work, and support them. Then follow through. Ask them about their goal progress. Provide insights or helpful tips for their journey.

If you begin to notice patterns, try to plan company or departmental events around those shared interests. Those events don’t have to just be parties. They can be as simple as sending out links that you think would be of interest, or treating your staff to lunch one day. Sometimes the smallest gestures speak the loudest.

 

Provide incentives around the holidays.

If you’re properly compensating your employees, there’s really not much you can do to persuade those of them that feel they deserve more money without having taken on more responsibility. If you aren’t properly compensating your employees, that would be the first place to start.

The second would be to realize how financially stressful the holidays are on your employees, especially those with spouses and children. If you do holiday parties, put caps on the amount of money you expect staff to spend. You can also host small get -togethers for staff that would provide a brief reprieve from the hassle of holiday parties.

The holidays are supposed to be a time of family, fun and food. Make sure you are doing everything you can to show your employees how much you value their commitment and effort at their jobs. The more they recognize your engagement in their lives, the more they’re willing to engage in your workplace.

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