Keeping Employee Morale High Through the End of the Year
| Collin Passman and Miriam Kasseris | Dec 1 2022
I interviewed our Employee Activity Committee (EAC) as their primary function is to come up with ways to boost morale, and strengthen ties between branches. The EAC is made up of volunteers from two branches on an annual rotating basis. The members interviewed for this article were Carly Master, Robert Capone, Toniann Longinetti & Melissa Feinberg.
Some examples of what the EAC has put together this year include:
- Volunteering at a local non-profit culminating in a chili cook-off, which was coordinated by Robert Capone.
- Having a local ice cream truck come to the branch during the summer for a cool afternoon treat, thanks to Toniann’s connections with All Pro Restoration.
- Collecting donations for the local community food bank, and toys for Toys for Tots
- Hosting a potluck luncheon between branches to celebrate ‘Friendsgiving’
- Putting together a Holiday party for the branches. Melissa Feinberg had the fantastic idea to “bring a small token/inspirational offering to the party with a positive message to give like a secret Santa. It could be a poem, a favorite quote, a song lyric, etc.”
According to Toniann Loginetti, other ideas the EAC is looking to launch are:
- Partnering with locally based carriers for a volunteer event in the community
- Fundraising for local women’s shelters, which would incorporate a yoga event of some sort
- Card exchange between local branches – either for the holidays, or just any time throughout the year to promote camaraderie
- RAK- it week with staff (Random Acts of Kindness)
Toniann also suggested that employers can help is to promote/encourage staff to take some time off to at the end or beginning of the year to be with their families, and to take time to recharge after a stressful year. It’s not the time to be adding new projects or having an expectation of high volume work.
Melissa pointed out that through Gallagher, we have the Thrive program, which has many features to help keep the mind and body in check. You can join weekly challenges, or create your own, to help keep you accountable for your health. Through Thrive you can also access online mental health resources, as well as financial planning – which can be a huge stressor this time of year.
Her most important take-away is to “practice positivity through thoughts and actions. Take a moment every day to be grateful for…” As Robert points out, “it is critical to be able to not only feel good about the work we do, but to recognize and celebrate the good work that we do. It’s one thing to simply say “good job,” but another thing entirely to do something to commemorate a good job!”
It has always been my experience that employee morale is at its most fragile state as you come closer to the end of the year. Employees are looking forward to days off to spend with family or employer bonuses and holidays gifts or both. Lifting the morale of those who work at your agency can go a long way into setting the tone for the next business year. However, lifting morale should not be limited to the months of November and December but should be done year-round.
Let’s look at the year in reverse fashion by addressing morale during the last two months of the year. Employees are getting ready for their busiest personal time of the year which is Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hannukah. What does that mean? There is a lot of personal stress getting ready for family visits, finding money to purchase presents and finding time to do both. While we would like to think that our personal and business lives should not be inter-twined, there are very few people who can keep them separate. People can control what they do the elevate morale while they are not working but what they cannot control is how employers can elevate morale in the business place and that can become very frustrating. So here are some suggestions on ow an employer can boost employee morale during these last two months of the year:
- Bonus-money always goes a long way in letting your employees know that you appreciate them. It gives them a sense of accomplishment as well as some financial relief when they are spending the most
- Employer Gift-a meaningful token of appreciation always goes a long way. Whether its a small gift card or a laptop computer, it shows the employee that they are appreciated/
- Extra Time Off-some employers have gone the way of employee appreciation days in which they close the office just to say thanks for all the hard work that the employees do.
- Holiday Party-a party during work hours allows employees to mingle with each other and not discuss work related issues. It provides a welcome relief to a hassled and harried work life.
- Sponsoring Charity Events-giving employees a charitable goal to accomplish as a group can provide a sense of accomplishment towards a goal that is not strictly work oriented. This gives them a sense of pride that they can carry over to their work life.
The ideas above are great for the end of year but what about the other 10 months? The ideas ar essentially the same but the execution may be a little different. Either way the simple gesture of thanks and appreciation will lead to better production. Here are some ideas for keeping morale high during the rest of the year:
- An Employer Sponsored Meal-treat the employees to a lunch or a breakfast every once in a while,as a means of thanking them for their hard work year round.
- Team Building Events-try closing the office once or twice a year for a team building events that will not only bring employees together in an effort to build stronger teams but will also say “thanks” for what you do. Such events might include bowling, axe throwing, golf or other sporting events.
- Allow Employees to Go to Different Carrier Sponsored Events-don’t choose management to attend these events all the time. If possible, afford other employees the opportunity to go so that they can feel like they are a part of the team.
- Just Say Thank You-it’s easy to say thank you to someone. It goes such a long way to letting people know that you appreciate their work.
Regular recognition of someone’s hard work goes a long way to making them feel good about themselves and the company they work for. This is how you keep employee morale high through the end of the year.