As we approach the busy holiday season, it’s time to recognize our employees’ desire to balance work and life and the additional pressures that come during this time of year – from family get-togethers to work parties to everyday tasks like grocery shopping for a celebration. Personal obligations tend to pile up. To help keep employees engaged despite competing priorities, here are seven ways to modify your communications strategy and tactics to positively impact your organization.
- Advocate for shorter meetings. Encourage employees to schedule shorter meetings. Implement daily standups or quick check-ins in place of weekly one-hour meetings. Donna McGeorge, author of The 25 Minute Meeting: Half the Time, Double the Impact, says 25 minutes is optimal for people to focus.
- Suggest a no-meeting day (or two). On a similar note, consider implementing a no-meeting day. An MIT Sloan study found that “When one no-meeting day per week was introduced, autonomy, communication, engagement, and satisfaction all improved, resulting in decreased micromanagement and stress, which caused productivity to rise.” And by introducing two no-meeting days per week, nearly half (47%) of the companies they studied reduced meetings by 40%.
- Promote flex options. If your organization offers flexible holiday scheduling options, promote them. Now more than ever, your people have different needs and varying schedules. Do you offer flex time? Remind employees of the parameters. Can employees work a compressed work week? Explain how they might work four 10-hour days and create measures to ensure they do. Do you have more remote work options available during the holidays? Lay these options out for your people.
- Talk about the holidays. Sometimes leadership is tempted to avoid holiday and celebration talk because they believe it’s distracting. But pretending like the holidays aren’t happening can stifle employee engagement. Recognize various holiday events and strike a cheerful tone within your standard corporate messaging.
- Send celebratory messages. People look forward to the holidays; Parallel this excitement by giving folks something work-related to anticipate. Use your internal comms to help track a big project or end-of-year milestone. Regular updates like this can help motivate employees, give them something to celebrate together (beyond the holidays), and take that sense of accomplishment with them into the new year.
- Celebrate year-end successes. Similarly, use your internal comms to offer positive encouragement. Did an employee go above and beyond? Send them a thank-you card or congratulatory email. Did a team surpass its goal? Give them a shoutout in an upcoming company-wide message or event.
- Encourage time off. After attending family get-togethers, traveling for the holidays, and meeting end-of-year goals, most employees want to decompress. Use your internal comms to encourage taking time off instead of saving up their PTO. Share stories about employee time off and energized returns. After all, when employees take an appropriate amount of vacation, they reduce stress and minimize burnout.
As internal communicators, you have the power to help focus employee engagement even during the holiday distractions. Use your platform to encourage shorter meetings, no-meeting days, flexible work options, festive events, and PTO. By recognizing holidays and celebrating business successes, you can keep employees tuned in with your messages.