by Roy Saunderson | December 19, 2016



As the holiday season is upon us many employees feel the stress of work mingled with the pressures from home. Sometimes it is hard to know how end-of-year recognition should be done in the workplace. In an effort to simplify and provide some easy solutions to recognition and all that goes on wherever you work, consider these Top 10 Ways to Give Stress-Free Holiday Recognition.  

1. Switch to the New Year. Forget about end-of-year deadlines for giving recognition. Instead, start to reflect now on each employee's positive contributions. Write a well thought out note of thanks and gratitude over the next few days and give to each employee when they return after the holidays.
2. Discover employee's wishes. Make time for a 10 to 15 minute one-on-one get together with each employee. Discuss goals, aspirations, wishes they would like to do next year. Prioritize the most meaningful "wish" and commit to helping them maintain a focus on this and with achieving it.
3. Lighten the load together. Everyone's workload always surpasses their capacity to get it all done. Give permission to every employee to wrap up a "one-hour coupon" and give to an employee of choice -- one coupon per employee only. When requested give one hour of assistance to your peer.
4. Do not disturb time. Staying focused and productive at holiday time can be significantly reduced by personal and workplace distractions. Create a "do not disturb" sign where employees can post with the time from and to on it. To be used just once during this busy season!
5. Skip a meeting card. Like the Monopoly "get out of jail card" give your employees a skip a meeting card for excusing themselves from attending one regular (non-essential) meeting. This gives them the customary one-hour time slot to catch up on important things to be done at work.
6. Simple celebration time. Take some time out for a relaxed moment of gratitude and thanks with holiday music playing and treats, cookies and food items, with apple cider, hot chocolate or other beverages of choice. Invite everyone to share gratitude for something each person has done this year.
7. Favorite book gift exchange. Have a lunch hour get together where each employee has been asked to bring a gift wrapped copy of their favorite book they've read this year. It can be their own previously read copy or a purchased copy. Select who to give it to or people can randomly choose.
8. Leave early for whatever. Whether it is a holiday party, a child's school holiday concert, or some last minute gift shopping, provide the opportunity to leave early at the end of the day by one or two hours. Naturally, this has to be approved to make sure no major conflict arises, but do your best to accommodate.
9. Wrapping things up. Provide gift wrapping paper, tape, ribbons and bows and organize a lunch hour or after work gift wrapping extravaganza. Get a team of staff who feel they are talented in this area to help with doing this oft-detested task. Staff can join in with wrapping their gifts and feel encouraged.
10. Happy holiday wishes. Take note of all the December holidays from Ashura, St. Nicholas Day, Bodhi Day, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa --acknowledge and highlight the heritage of Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and African-American employees at work. Allow the diversity of your employees to shine.

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is author of Giving the Real Recognition Way and is the Chief Learning Officer of Rideau Recognition Solutions' Recognition Management Institute, a consulting and training company which helps leaders and managers get recognition right. He can be reached at [email protected]. Also, check out the library of Real Recognition Radio shows.