Personalized Touches, Focus on Wellness Improve Productivity

When it comes time for the holiday season, no one wants to be an office Scrooge.

And while it may be tempting to your inner Ebenezer to make employees work right through the holidays to keep the growth going, creating HR policies that make your employees feel valued like Bob Cratchit in the end will reap much larger rewards for your business (and keep the three spirits from paying a visit).

7 HR Policies to Make Employees Feel Valued this New Year

1. Make a Policy of Writing Handwritten, Personalized Notes

Aside from email, quick in-person interactions, and the occasional productive meeting (what are these “productive” meetings), office communication can often be fleeting and focused on outcomes.

To help your employees feel valued around the holidays and into the new year, try implementing an HR policy that sees each employee receive a handwritten, personalized note from their direct superior or the business owner themselves, if possible.

As part of this, concentrate on each employee’s strengths, challenges, and achievements (unless, of course, they’ve only spent the better part of the year surfing Facebook). While it seems like just a nice gesture, showing this gratitude can improve productivity up to 50 per cent.

2. Offer a Wellness Day Around the Holidays to Help Relieve Stress

Outside of sending a message of gratitude, you can create an HR policy around improving wellness.

Between long shopping lists, hours decorating, and the neighbour’s leftover inflatable Santa blowing across your front lawn, most people feel a whole lot more stress during the holiday season and new year. Needless to say, juggling work on top of this doesn’t make it any easier, which can quickly lead to burnout and lost productivity.

By setting up a wellness day for your employees – whether that’s bringing in a therapy animal, a mobile massage therapist, or even a meditation teacher that has you all saying kumbaya – you can help your employees feel better while better positioning them to come back in the new year re-energized.

3. Be Flexible with Time-Off Requests

Good employees don’t need to be micromanaged. In fact, employees are much more productive while entrusted to deliver on their own.

And with Microsoft’s recent four-day workweek leading to a 40% productivity jump, why not let your employees have a little time away while entrusting they’ll be all the more motivated to be even more productive once they return to the office in the new year?

4. Go on a Company Outing or Throw a New Year’s Party

Okay, so you may not want to see Jeanie from accounting swinging from a chandelier.

Even if your HR policies don’t include throwing a rollicking holiday party, you could also give your employees a break from the stress of the season by having an alcohol-free games night, a nerf-gun showdown, or performing a short new year’s play so badly it leaves your company in tears from laughing.

5. Consider a New Year Bonus or Customized Gift of Thanks

Yes, maybe Clark W.S. Griswold had to work a bit too hard for his holiday bonus.

And while 61% of Canadian employees will get a bonus of sorts this at this time of the year, if you know a lot about an employee’s interests and what they value you can also try giving a personalized gift of thanks as part of your HR policies.

6. Close up the Office Early (or Shut Things Down Entirely)

Besides giving a bonus or gift, you can help make employees feel valued by giving them more time off during the holiday season to spend time with loved ones. Even closing up extra early on New Year’s Eve, or giving employees the option to work from home that day, can go a long way.

If you’re feeling extra generous, close your office for a week if it’s possible – especially if you were expecting a slowdown during this time anyway and you had a successful year.

7. Partner with Employees on a Charitable Project

Finally, consider upgrading your HR policies to make a charitable donation on behalf of your employees to the charity of their choice or partner on a fundraising project with them to give back to those in need.

Make Your Employees Feel Valued

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  • Sam Vassa

    With a passion for technology, Sam looks for ways to help small companies to compete and save money. He's worked in Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada, geeked out at Digital Equipment Corp and hung out at Microsoft. He founded to help businesses like yours.