What your employees really want for Christmas

If you’re an employer, take note: Summer is your resignation danger-zone.

It’s over the Christmas break that many people catch their breath and evaluate their lives. Some will be chuffed with where they’re at, but others might not be so sure. And then it’s December 31 and everyone’s making New Year’s resolutions and, next thing you know, you’re being handed a resignation letter. Or several.

This is known as New Year rot, and you won’t be facing it alone. This New Year’s Eve, many people will vow to swap jobs. Some will be seeking growth and new opportunities and you’ll likely be happy, and even proud, to see them leave for new pastures.

But there may be others who have simply stopped enjoying their jobs. Perhaps they could have given you many more years of great work if you’d only been able to make them feel valued.

How do you do that, exactly?

Most of us work really hard all year to make our employees’ job satisfaction a priority. But let’s be honest. Sometimes the workload gets away on us all and we don’t do enough to acknowledge the great teams we lead. We drift away from our staff in the busy-ness of our roles, and forget to reconnect.

Christmas can be just the moment to pause, reflect, reconnect and acknowledge. You just need to be genuine – and generous. And by generous, I don’t mean throwing money around.

What most employees really want for Christmas is recognition. No matter how large your organisation is, try to make the time to craft as many personalised messages for staff as you can. Consider their unique strengths, name projects they worked on. Show that you know them by mentioning their families or some other aspect of their lives. This is where the generosity comes in; a generosity of spirit to make this time and to be enthusiastic with your praise. Write a card or sit down face-to-face and outline the value that that person brings to your team.

What about the office shindig? A couple of years ago an outfit called Glassdoor did an enlightening survey which suggested very few people actually appreciate or enjoy the work Christmas party. In fact, around 95 percent of workers said they didn’t care for the Christmas do – and who can blame them? All that awkward, extended chit-chat with workmates while hovering around the booze table, snacking on flavourless potato chips and trying not to commit any dire indiscretion… “So, what suburb do you live in, Katrina? Oh yes, there’s a really good drycleaners near there.”

It’s hardly the stuff of great memories.

Instead, why not try a morning tea, which is much less costly and doesn’t eat into your employees’ own time. Or, if you’ve got a smaller team, consider a sit-down lunch, like R+A did this year (perfect for a Christmas do for two!). If you do forego a Christmas do, there may be an argument for a small cash bonus instead, which, let’s face it – goes down well at this time of year.

The more personalised the gestures you make this Christmas, the greater your employees’ sense of value will be. People who know they are valued won’t dwell on the negative, vowing to find a new job in the New Year.

Instead, they sink into a dreamy holiday diet based largely around pavlova, plaster themselves in sunscreen, binge-watch Netflix, get tan marks from their jandals and, on December 31, they vow to take up hot yoga, have five alcohol-free days a week and set their sights on a promotion with the great company they work for.