any employees find the holiday season stressful because pressure from work and family seem to combine and peak at the end of the year. Whether it’s a mix of financial and career pressures, there’s lots you can do to help employees leverage their behaviors and realize the festivities of the season.
If your fiscal year runs parallel to the calendar year, you may have some unavoidable pressures to fulfill sales expectations or realize revenue by completing product deliveries. In either case, make sure your teams have the support they need in order to manage effectively. Know their strengths and blind spots in behavior and coach them accordingly to make sure they are always working towards their strengths.
If others in the team are ahead of plan, create some sub-teams or mentorship assignments to give the others moral support. However, don’t overload employees who have exhausted themselves all year hitting goals by piling on a few last minute activities “just because”. Sometimes the most valuable commodity we can award is time and not money. Many employees see the holiday as a time to give back to their family that may have sacrificed all year. What good is allowing vacation carry-over if the employees never get to use it at the most important times?
Sometimes it is all about the finances; the holiday season can be expensive after all! The classic “missed expectation” scenario is from National Lampoons Christmas Vacation where Chevy Chase puts the deposit down on a pool for the house, relying upon the Christmas bonus that never comes! Make sure that expectations about bonus or compensation is clear and stated as early as possible so that employees and families can plan accordingly.
Above all, recognize that teams comprise all sorts of employees, each with different behaviors and desires. Try to go the extra mile and tailor something fair for each individual vs. a one size fits all. I know you’ll be put on the nice list for sure if you can pull it off!