For all the stress and turmoil the holidays can bring to a business, it’s important you maintain the perspective necessary to see the forest for the trees. This time of year, it’s as essential as ever to acknowledge your employees and let them know they are essential to the success of your business.
Flexibility goes a long way
If pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that work can be done to completion in unconventional, non-traditional ways. While some businesses may need to maintain the in-office model, offering your employees increased flexibility is a great way to show them you care.
Writing for the Harvard Business Review, Kerry Roberts Gibson, Kate O'Leary, and Joseph R. Weintraub note offering employees more flexible scheduling demonstrates trust and appreciation. One employee who spoke with the three authors likened flexibility to receiving an honor or recognition.
Being more flexible promotes a better work-life balance, which is an easy way to show your employees you care and want them to be happy. Ways to do this might include allowing employees to work remotely when needed, allowing employees to set more flexible hours, or even moving to a hybrid model where employees have a set number of in-office and remote hours per week.
Make time for your people
One way to ensure your employees know they’re appreciated is to just sit with them and listen for a while. Having a conversation with someone can help turn a hard day around and show someone you have their back when they need it.
Entrepreneur Shanna A. Hocking writes for FastCompany that proactive connection with employees is a great approach to not just lifting up your employees, but checking in on what they’re been up to. You can ask what they have going on and what you can do to help them get their tasks done, but you should also ask how things are going outside of work.
Hocking puts forth the idea of making this a calendar event in your day, and you can also make it an event you share with an employee so that they aren’t interrupted in the middle of an important task. Inviting an employee to lunch — and picking up the tab — is a great way to do this. Whenever you have one of these discussions, be sure that you listen before you speak.
Praise your people privately and publicly
Nothing says you appreciate someone as well as a simple thank you. As a business owner, you have a unique ability to boost employee confidence with just a few well-placed, well-timed words.
When the holiday season starts and stress begins to mount, it falls to you to let people know that you value their time and hard work. In an article on employee appreciation, Indeed suggests public and private recognition are both effective.
Thanking employees publicly — whether in a meeting, a newsletter, or in a letter posted in the breakroom — has the two-pronged effect of bolstering an individual’s morale and showing the whole team that you care.
Indeed also recommends writing private thank-you notes to your employees. Sending someone a glowing email or taking the time to hand-write a letter of gratitude goes a long way to show that you care. Sharing your candid and genuine thanks with an employee also reminds people that you’re on their side.
While showing employees appreciation is especially important during the holidays, it’s something you should strive for all year long. Use this season to pick up good, productive leadership habits and carry them with you well after the holidays have passed.