Paul Spiegelman, author of “Why Is Everyone Smiling? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity and Profit” knows a few things about how to infuse joy into the workplace during the holiday season. Spiegelman’s commitment to creating a fun and people-centered work environment all year-round has earned the company he founded—The Beryl Companies—seven best places to work awards and continues to contribute to the call center’s growth and high rate of customer satisfaction.
Based in Bedford, TX, The Beryl Companies works with hospitals, health plans, physicians, and consumer-directed organizations to help them meet their customers’ needs.
“With all of the negative economic news, everyone could use a little extra cheer this holiday,” contends Beryl CEO Spiegelman. “The good news is that holiday joy doesn’t have to cost a lot of money for anyone.” To prove it, Spiegelman offers 12 low- or no-cost ways to create a merrier workplace this year.
Decorate. Workers’ surroundings affect their moods. Decorations can be as specific as a Christmas tree or menorah or could simply include glittery snowflakes strung from the ceiling.
Help those in need…within your ranks. Many organizations have workers who are struggling to make ends meet. Work with the human resources department to confidentially identify who those people are and determine how the company can help them through this time.
Lend a helping hand outside the company. Encourage employees to donate time, services or goods to a worthy organization. Ideas include serving food at a local shelter, providing blankets to seniors, or sponsoring a toy drive for needy children.
Do something personal. People appreciate feeling known. A personal hand-written note card from the CEO or other members of leadership to each employee is an inexpensive way to make a connection with co-workers.
Give the gift of recognition. Identify at least one contribution that each employee has made during the year and recognize them for it.
Do something out of the ordinary. Employees love it when their leaders step out of their comfort zones. Come to work one day dressed as Santa or host a crazy holiday hat contest. The idea is to get people to smile or laugh or just feel more in the holiday spirit.
Invite families to work even if it’s just for cocoa and cookies. The more companies integrate families into the business, the more they enrich the lives of their employees and their families. People spend more waking hours at work than doing any other activity. Why not blur the lines this holiday season?
Share the successes of the year. Not every business has experienced stellar results or record growth this year, especially with the economic downturn. But most can point to progress made or successes worth noting. Make a list of the good things that have happened throughout the year and share it with the entire workforce.
Be flexible. Some businesses are inherently more flexible than others, but there are ways for almost every business to incorporate some holiday flexibility into the work week. A couple of ideas include allowing employees to alter their hours to ensure they make it to a child’s school performance, or give each employee one free hour to shop online or wrap gifts.
Share holiday happiness. Provide a venue for co-workers to share their winter happenings. Whether it’s a physical bulletin board where people can hang pictures or an online site for people to post their events, this is a great way for employees to connect.
Offer a forum for employees to share their hopes and expectations for 2009. Leaders can gain great insight into what’s happening and what’s important in the lives of their workers.
Host a gathering, even if it’s a potluck lunch. The economy has forced some companies to skip an elaborate holiday party this year. With minimal investment, companies can still carve out an opportunity for employees to enjoy some great food and conversation while taking a break from their responsibilities.
“An employee-centric company culture is the future of American businesses because happy co-workers are more loyal and provide better customer service, which drives customer loyalty and increases profits,” says Spiegelman. “These twelve tips can help support employees anytime of year, but the holidays give us a great excuse to get started.”