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When the world is in chaos around you, it can be difficult to muster up any sort of festive cheer - and in fact, it might even feel inappropriate. But in times of high-stress and change, building community is all the more important to create a stable environment for employees. According to the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, 69% of employees surveyed believe that people they work with are a significant source of community in their life.

One way to spark a feeling of community is through mutual appreciation and respect, and according to our recent survey, a whopping 90% of employees say it’s important to be recognized by their peers and managers for their efforts.

Building a culture of appreciation doesn’t happen overnight, but the festive season is an especially important time to bring some light into your employees’ day to day. Here are a few ideas to get the joy back into your organization’s daily rhythms: 

one to one meetingOrganize one-to-ones to coincide with the end of the year

An open, continuous feedback loop should be at the top of many managers' lists, but making it a point to celebrate the wins (and even discuss what needs to change) in a more "official" manner can help employees feel appreciated while celebrating their own personal growth and looking ahead for the bright spots in their career. 


Broaden conversations and connections by sharing traditions

One of the yearly posts I often look forward to on our own internal communications platform is when our employees share their own family traditions. Working at a global company, I’ve learned so much outside of my own borders, from our CFO’s explanation of a Japanese New Year, one of our Employee Engagement Specialists sharing how her family nods to her Puerto Rican heritage through Three Kings Day, and I’ve even learned a tasty recipe or two from our Bulgarian colleagues. 

Introduce some friendly competition

Whether you have a hybrid workforce, or your employees are fully remote, you can liven up traditional meetings by introducing a competition on who can decorate their area the best. This could be done in-office in your conference rooms, with specific themes, or you can let them choose their own (like we did in the Rochester office with a toppled-over tree, reminiscent of the mischief a "Cat-mas" can bring!). Award fun prizes or bragging rights to the winners of most creative, best use of lights, or make it a get-to-know-you game by having employees guess whose room is whose. 

Rochester Catmas

Get a little formal with your peer-to-peer or leadership-led recognition

The end of the year is a great time to send a company-wide note of heartfelt thanks from your CEO to the company, or create festive and cheerful eCards to add to your digital recognition portfolio. Moving from manual to digital recognition is a timesaver (not to mention postage savings, too!) that your HR team will love as much as the employees who receive their own moments of appreciation. 

Discover how to transition your company from manual to digital recognition Learn more

Top off the year with a monetary bonus

gifting moneyThough you might be looking for alternatives to company-wise pay rises, a small monetary boost could be a simple way to bring a smile to your employees’ faces. A recent survey showed that 75% of employees would spend their reward on essentials versus luxuries, so why not give them the choice, rather than gifting a generic box of chocolates?

Our client Legal & General used our bulk reward tool to reward its people through their employee engagement platform, sending each employee a $25 festive greeting, resulting in 50% of employees redeeming their award right away, and engaged 92% of those registered on the platform. 

Last, but certainly not least, consider one of my favorite gifts: The gift of time! Give your employees a well-deserved extra day of annual leave, or let them clock off a few hours early to get in their last-minute needs before the festive season kicks off. 

If you're interested in learning more about how our reward and recognition solution can help foster a culture of appreciation in your organization, get in touch with a member of our team.

Talk to an Engagement Consultant »

Alexandra Powell

Alexandra Powell, Director of Client Cultural Insights, not only knows American Sign Language, but uses it to secretly communicate with her husband and kids at parties. Alex is a highly experienced employee engagement consultant, trainer and speaker. For over 20 years she has helped HR and business leaders implement strategies that drive true culture change.

Director of Client Cultural Insights

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