Founders, there's no better time of year than the holiday season to spread gratitude to the cast and crew who have contributed to the business all year long — the amazing people who embody the culture, vision, and soul of your organization.
Showing appreciation should be a regular, year-long practice in any business (and one that should be budgeted for). But year-end is a great time to step up, show up, and say, "I value you".
Words of affirmation
One of my best friends, Joelly, started a holiday tradition over a decade ago whereby we all go around the table and share what we most appreciate about the person sitting next to us. Perhaps this holiday season you can customize the idea and compose a "we value you" email to your crew. List your crew and explain why that individual is so special to you in one sentence. Your remarks can be funny, or perhaps more heartfelt, but regardless of the tone, they should be positive and sincere.
Find a way to let members of your team know that you see and value them.
Host a get-together
Say thanks with a company outing, a party, or a get-together that celebrates your people, their families, and your organization. It takes a village to build a business. Every team member makes some sacrifice to be part of the organization. Sometimes that sacrifice comes at the expense of spending time with family members. Get everyone together to share your appreciation, raise a glass, and bond beyond the 9–5.
Plan a getaway
Organize a day off for your team. Long ago when I worked Bell, I pulled together a weekend ski trip to Banff, which was a 1.5 hour drive away. I simply booked a bus, blocked some hotel rooms, and negotiated a steep discount for the team. Bam! Done!
I wasn't sure my team would be up for the trip, but the bus was jam-packed in less than two days. It turns out that the chance to get out of town for a weekend — to hit the slopes, dine on scrumptious food, let loose, and have some fun — was precisely what the team wanted.
Give them a break
When the end of the year rolls around, give employees an entire week off to recharge. Not only will this show of generosity make employees feel appreciated, but according to research published in Harvard Business Review, vacations also boost productivity. Give them a week to rest, relax, recuperate, and recharge before they return to work.
Give back, together
The holiday season is the perfect opportunity to exercise your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy.
Collaborate with a charity that resonates with your brand. Or, perhaps recruit your crew to weigh in and choose a cause they can all get behind. If your budget allows, boost engagement and get creative with how you collectively choose to give back, either through donating time, expertise, money, and/or gifts.
Appreciate your clients, too
Employees can't hog all the holiday fun. Your clients and suppliers keep your business running, so use this opportunity to thank them for their business and patronage. The more personal the connection, the better. Get real cards, ditch the digital, and send them to each client with a personal, handwritten note inside. It's a simple, seemingly small gesture that speaks volumes.
Treat yourself the way you treat others
Take some time to show yourself some love too. It’s unfortunate that society glorifies the grind, but truly, you need to switch off or you’ll burn out. Just make sure to have your business handled before taking your break. Establish clear communications and protocols to prepare your clients, crew members, and suppliers so you don't feel guilty when it's time to shut down for a few days.
The holiday season doesn't last long. You'll be back at the regular grind soon enough, so don't miss this chance to take a breather before hitting the ground hard in January.