8 Ways to Engage Your Employees During the Holidays (That Aren't all Food Related) The holidays are approaching, which means turkey, pumpkin pie, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, presents, lights, trees, decorations, etc. For organizations, it also means PTO, short work weeks, and bonuses. With lots of employees using their earned vacation time and being preoccupied with buying gifts and baking holiday treats, motivation at work can take a plunge. You want your employees to stay engaged in their work, but it’s not always the easiest task around the holidays. To help you keep your employees engaged, here are eight things to consider implementing at your organization. 1. Provide Food Everyone loves free food, whether it’s planned or spontaneous. You’d be surprised at how much free food motivates employees. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to show your employees that you care about them with a nice, free meal. Warning: Avoid overfeed your employees, otherwise they’ll all be in a food coma at their desks. 2. Parties Holiday parties may seem standard, but many organizations don’t have them. Parties are always a great way to bring your employees together, have some fun, and take a short break from work. These parties don’t have to be anything fancy. Put up simple decorations, put out some snacks and drinks, and turn up the holiday tunes. 3. Team Events Similar to holiday parties, but on a smaller scale, team events are another great way to keep your employees motivated. These events could be a happy-hour get together, scavenger hunt, or lunch/dinner at a restaurant. If you’re feeling really festive, white elephant gift exchanges make for great team events. 4. Be Grateful When was the last time you thanked your employees for all the work that they do? The holidays are a great time to say it again. Make your employees feel valued by thanking them and showing gratitude, and they’ll return the favor by working hard and staying loyal. A “thank you” goes a long way, especially if it comes from the CEO, executives, and managers. 5. Give Gifts When you think of the holidays, what do you think of first? I usually think of giving (and receiving) gifts. Everyone likes receiving gifts, and this is a great way to show your appreciation for your employees. 6. Holiday Contests A friendly competition never hurt anybody, right? Organizing a costume contest where the ugliest holiday sweater wins or a workspace contest where the best holiday-decorated workspace wins are great ways to show holiday spirit. 7. PTO to Volunteer The holidays are a time of giving, and that includes giving back. Many organizations offer PTO to those who want to volunteer over the holidays, and this is a great way to engage your employees and your community. An example of this is wrapping presents for a local nonprofit, or sending gift boxes overseas to kids in need. 8. Extra Time With Family Last, but not least, letting your employees have extra time with family over the holidays can be extremely beneficial. Sometimes what your employees need the most is a little time away to recharge. They’ll come back to work refreshed and more motivated than ever. Let your employees enjoy the holidays by providing more time off, and your employees will reward you. The holidays are a time for family, giving, relaxing, and being thankful. But for employers, they are also a time to motivate employees in unique ways. This year, get in the holiday spirit and show your employees how much they mean to you and your organization. What does your organization do for the holidays? Jason Kiesau Jason Kiesau has been studying personal, professional and leadership development for most of his adult life. As the Leadership and Talent Development Manager for Aureon, he travels the country working with leaders in the areas of self-management, relationship building, strategic thinking, and development of high performing teams. Jason's purpose is to inspire confidence in everyone he works with, and he is passionate about helping them pursue and achieve meaningful results.