All Articles Leadership Inspiration How leaders can show appreciation for employees during the holidays

How leaders can show appreciation for employees during the holidays

3 min read


Although the holiday season is a time for giving, it can leave many feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, particularly when work comes between holiday fun and time off.

How can you keep employees motivated and excited during this busy season? Here are six suggestions:

Show employee appreciation by creating a healthy work-life balance
Pay special attention to the level of work-life balance that you’re providing your employees. Consider putting a meal together for your employees during the holidays.

— Amit De, Careerleaf

Connect with your employees to make sure they feel appreciated this holiday season
The holidays might be merry and bright, but they’ll only stay this way if you make sure to appreciate your employees. If your employees don’t feel appreciated it’s likely they’ll spend their time at work surfing sales instead of working hard. So give out bonuses, even if they’re only perks, to let employees know how much you appreciate the work they do. Schedule a holiday party where you can all celebrate the great work done in 2012 and look forward to more in 2013.

— Josh Tolan, Spark Hire

Demonstrate care and concern for people as individuals to make employees feel valued
Customize gifts to employee’s specific interests, take time to stop by and thank them by name and about specific things the employee has done or accomplished, remember the names of people in their family, give them something unexpected (a half-day off, gift cards, hand-written and personalized thank-you notes from senior leadership, holiday hampers, etc.) — something that is not part of the usual holiday employee appreciation.

— Lauren Still, careerevolution group

Listen, acknowledge and be present
Simply acknowledge them and sincerely thank them specifically for their work, their attitude and their commitment. Ask them their opinion on a business matter and listen to their response and discuss it. Giving an employee the opportunity to contribute and speak with leaders is powerful and builds relationships for the longer term.

— Lisa Chenofsky Singer, Chenofsky Singer & Associates

Ensure employees enjoy the most wonderful (and stressful) time of the year
Normal work hours paired with ten-fold personal responsibilities — holiday gatherings, shopping, and even the extra traffic — make a time that should be joyful more frustrating than not. Aside from the obvious, organizations should work to give their employees flexible holiday hours or a remote workday or two, to accomplish all that they need to get done and enjoy time with family and friends. Knowing that their employer cares about their personal life proves more than anything how appreciated they are.

— Allison O’Kelly, Mom Corps

Talk with employees about holiday plans
During the holidays, leaders must be visible and engaged personally with employees. They must get out of their office and initiate conversations with employees. Take five minutes to talk with the employee about their holiday plans and thank them for their contribution to the company’s success. Do not call employees into your office to do this as being summoned diminishes the message of the company’s gratitude.

— Edward F. Harold, Fisher & Phillips

What other suggestions would you add?

Heather R. Huhman is the founder and president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. You can connect with Huhman and Come Recommended on Twitter and Facebook.