November 30, 2017

Maintaining Employee Motivation Around the Holidays

by Natalia Bubis

As the holidays approach, our lives tend to get a little busier. Get-togethers with friends and family, holiday shopping and more can take up a lot of our free time. Not to mention as the weather gets colder, cozying up at home becomes more desirable.

We also tend to lose a bit of focus on work, and it’s an annual challenge for management and human resource groups across all industries. Plus, many offices will close their doors on or around Christmas and New Year’s, meaning there are fewer business days in December to accomplish everything needed before year’s end. Between Thanksgiving and the start of the new year, productivity in general tends to suffer. For instance, a 2016 study from CareerBuilder showed that more than half of workers report online shopping at work during this time of the year.

Indeed, employee engagement can slip around this time, and productivity levels can falter. How to keep engagement and productivity at healthy levels, without looking like the Grinch? I’ve done some digging and I’ve come up with a few suggestions:

Take a moment to celebrate team wins.
It’s the end of the year—what better time to look back on some of the successes your organization has achieved over the past 11 months? Celebrating some team wins allows you to engage your workers and offer some valuable employee recognition, helping you close out the year on a positive note before looking to take on the new year.

Set expectations.
Having concrete goals to work toward helps everyone be more productive. Toward the start of the holiday season, map out some things that need to be accomplished before year’s end, and motivate your teams to execute on those goals. Consider where you want to be in the start of January—what progress must be made to ensure you’re off and running right at the start of the year?  

Meanwhile, be mindful of what is realistic during a month with fewer working days between closures and vacation time used. As noted by Glassdoor, “Experts agree that it’s not a good idea to pretend the holidays don’t exist in the office in hopes that everyone will stay focused on work. Ignoring the festive season will not only breed resentment but will likely result in people focusing on the holidays for days instead of only at the office party.”

Encourage a work/life balance.
This is helpful advice throughout the year, but it becomes especially important around the holidays. Sure, you might not mind working a bit later or answering some after-hours emails every once in a while, but with an increased number of holiday festivities, bringing work home can be more of a burden.

What are some ways you’ve tried to maintain employee engagement around the holidays? I’d love to hear them at

For more information about Quanex visit
Posted: November 30, 2017 by Natalia Bubis Filed under: employee, engagement, HR