3 Ways to Support Your Employees this Holiday Season

By Dalton Daughtrey, Reliance Human Capital Management

December is supposed to be the time of year to be jolly and bright, at least that’s what department stores and television commercials tell us. Yet many of us in the workforce find this time of year to be stressful, confusing and challenging to manage.

At Reliance Human Capital Management, our mission is to serve the needs of employers locally and nationally by creating and implementing long-term strategies to position our partners for success with their employee benefits, payroll and talent management. That said, we know employees. Our people are our greatest assets. So how do we go about making sure that we are taking care of our people this holiday season after a year of working from home, endless Zoom, furloughs, quarantining and everything else 2020 has had to offer?  

3 Ways to Support Your Employees this Holiday Season

Plan Holiday Activities Accordingly  

With the holiday season in full swing, it’s tradition that we gather, spend time with one another, have holiday parties, host secret Santas and celebrate all that we’ve accomplished in our organizations this year. This year, to accommodate CDC guidelines and provide a safe environment for everyone to celebrate and participate, we’ve put together some alternatives to the traditional Christmas party:  

Host an Online Celebration. This is a great alternative to the traditional Christmas party and can accommodate all those working remotely. If you feel as if you haven’t logged enough hours this year staring at a computer screen, this can provide a great way to bring everyone together. We recommend keeping it fun, informal and playing some holiday games, of course. Trivia, holiday Pictionary, scavenger hunts, holiday bingo and charades, to name a few.  

Holiday Party Drive-Thru. This one’s simple. In the parking lot or at a neutral location, set up tables, booths and stations and as employees come through to visit, give out snacks, treats, hot chocolates and through their windows (kind of like a drive-thru). The ones that we’ve seen be most successful had Santa to wave to the kids and featured treats, holiday music and lots of fake snow and lights.

Consider an Employee Assistance Program  

EAPs are designed to help with many facets of stress management, including mental health, substance abuse, work-life balance, marital and legal concerns, family issues, and relational and financial challenges. EAPs are great resources for companies year-round to help alleviate employee-related problems that arise due to stress, emotional concerns and work-life balance challenges. They are also great enhancements to an employee benefits package and can help attract and retain good talent.  

Some of the most common types of services offered through EAP programs include: 

  • Assistance on common employee/workplace issues 
  • Professional counseling 
  • Maternity education 
  • College planning 
  • Psychological counseling 
  • Legal services 
  • ID theft and fraud resolution support 

EAPs provide employees and their families with confidential and personal support on a wide variety of concerns and have proven to be a necessity for many growing companies with all that’s been going on this year.  

Keep Diversity and Inclusion Top of Mind 

Every year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, there’s a dilemma that many employers find themselves facing. Several different religious and secular holidays occur in this timeframe. As HR professionals, we are often tasked with planning events around this time and that in itself can be a handful, especially during a global health pandemic. So, what do you do to keep diversity and inclusion top of mind this year with all that’s going on?  

There are many ways you can create a happier, safer and more inclusive environment this time of year. Here are our top picks:  

Be Aware. End of year holidays include Christmas, Bodhi Day, Diwali, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, to name a few. Know your workforce. An inclusive approach is to recognize that people come from all different backgrounds, faiths, religions and cultures and may celebrate different holidays in their own unique ways.  

Plan Accordingly. When planning holiday parties, companywide meetings, and other important events, it’s important to avoid scheduling mistakes. There are many interfaith calendars available that show various important holidays which can help avoid mistakes and keep employees happy and healthy. Understand that some employees may not want to celebrate anything. That’s okay too.  

Invite Feedback. When it comes to planning and facilitating events for the sake of employees, shouldn’t their opinions and happiness be what’s most important? We highly recommend polling employees prior to planning to determine direction for events and asking for feedback from them either personally or anonymously once everything’s taken place.  

From the Reliance Human Capital Management staff, we hope that you and your families, teams and organizations have a great holiday season.