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Maximizing Holiday Cheer While Engaging Your Associates


The holiday season is here! It's time for eggnog, our favorite holiday movies, and holiday traditions! Goodwill and cheer is all around. Grandma's going to have an unfortunate run in with a reindeer, Ralphie may shoot his eye out, and the Griswald light show is in full swing! It also means your associates are beginning to reflect on the year and consider their overall job satisfaction. So what do today's workers love most about holidays in the office? Randstad USA  did a study that provides us with some tips about how we can continue to create great associate experiences and Forbes Human Resource Council give us some ideas to keep our teams engaged during this time of the year. We'll also share what we, at Continental, do to keep the holiday spirit going for our team.

According to Randstad's research, people want more spontaneous, unstructured events that allow them to spend more time with their colleagues and families. People value human connection, especially this time of year. Here's what they found:

70% said time off is key:

More than 62% said they plan to take time off during the holidays. It can be hard to balance heavy year-end business demands with people's desire for more time off, but today's workforce expects a level of flexibility especially around the holidays. Our company, for instance, offers an extra floating holiday every year if you complete a wellness physical. Many companies are starting to get more creative with flexibility in order to attract and retain associates. 

54% value the holiday spirit:

Creating a positive work environment through festive work gatherings can be crucial to employee engagement. While workers prefer time off, they really  look forward to holiday celebrations. In fact, 87% state holiday celebrations give them a greater opportunity to interact with coworkers and build relationships. 

Adding to the holiday spirit is philanthropic initiatives. No one likes an Ebeneezer Scrooge. That's why 75% of employees find it important for companies to participate in philanthropic initiatives around the holidays. Notably, Gen Z and Millennial employees tend to gravitate towards companies with a culture of giving back. Not to mention it reflects well on your overall culture and brand. If this is important to you, it's a great way to build better relationships and goodwill with your associates and your larger community. 

Something we do is a holiday wreath decorating contest. We judge the wreaths in different categories like best use of color and most creative, for example. Then the wreaths are donated to The Ronald McDonald House  of Central Ohio  and Northwest Ohio where they can spread a little cheer to families staying at the facilities. It lets us get creative and express our holiday spirit all while giving back to a great cause at the same time. 

Wreath designs for Ronald McDonald House Continental Office Furniture Toledo


41%  of today's workforce thinks coworkers are happier this time of year:

People just tend to be nicer this time of year (unless you're a Grinch - don't be a Grinch). Maybe it's because they know they've got time off coming soon. Or maybe it's the holiday spirit. Either way, when we're in a good mood, our job is going to be more enjoyable and pleasant all the way around. For employers, that means your happier associates are likely churning out better quality work.  

The tricky part is finding the perfect balance between fun workplace festivities and avoiding decreased productivity. So how can company leaders get in the festive spirit without negative impact. Here are some ideas the Forbes Human Resources Council suggests:

1. Give back to your community. Make a charitable contribution to a local cause or charity.  At Continental, another initiative we did to give back was donating stockings full of toiletries to  Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Continental Office Stockings for Helping Hands Wellness Center

2.  Be Inclusive. One great way for leaders to celebrate holiday spirit without losing productivity is to be inclusive and not marginalize associates. Leadership can learn from associates about how they would like to be recognized and even how they like to celebrate. For instance, at Continental, one of our What Matters to Us pillars is One Team. That means our associates like to work and celebrate together as one team. Individual groups may have their own celebrations, but during the holidays we all get together in Ohio regardless of functional group. We celebrate with catered food and drink, and hold a raffle so our associates can win some really great gifts donated by our generous manufacturer partners.

We also hold a holiday event in our Pittsburgh location, because we know travel can be difficult this time of year with everyone's busy schedules. In hosting two events where all sub-brands and business units are welcome, we're able to celebrate our associates and provide some additional holiday cheer. And, best of all, it lets different groups mingle and get to know each other better.

Continental Office Holiday Parties Images - Ohio and Pennsylvania

3. Schedule fun in advance. Schedule events well ahead of time. Encourage attendance at fun events with co-workers while allowing plenty of space for employees to plan their work tasks around such events. For instance, our locations have so many visitors daily, it's essential we plan in advance. But, it doesn't take the fun out of our events and activities. In fact, we've recently had several holiday activities like making our own ornaments and other holiday crafts, on-site happy hour celebrations and even off-site events at trendy venues like Top Golf. Although it's a busy time of year, we find it's possible to enjoy and celebrate while still planning our work.

Continental Holiday Images of Events and Crafts

All in all, it's important to keep providing your associates with a great experience throughout the holiday season. The above ideas are just a few things/ideas you can do. Feel free to comment below and tell us  what you do to provide joy and happiness during the holiday season.

In the meantime, check out our choice and flexibility report that discusses what today's workforce wants. It might just help you start off 2019 on a high note.

Workplace Flexibility & Choice by the Numbers