While embracing the spirit of Christmas sounds easy on paper, for employers and HR professionals, it can also come with various people management issues, including sickness, low productivity, flexible working, and inclusivity.
These issues can make the festive period seem daunting for businesses to face. However, preparing and knowing how to handle them can alleviate some of the pressure and allow you to enjoy the holiday season.
The closer we get to Christmas, the more the excitement begins to bubble, and some employers may find their teams are less motivated to work. It has been reported that global productivity in the workforce falls between the 16th and 19th of December.
To support motivation, make sure to recognise the right behaviours throughout the year – remember that employee reward and recognition is not just about a gift or bonus at Christmas. Showing team members that they are appreciated and congratulating them on their hard work can be a great way to increase motivation. A study conducted in 2018 showed that 72% of employees stated that productivity would increase if their managers and co-workers regularly appreciated them.
Sickness and Absenteeism
Even pre-pandemic, the winter months often see a rise in sick days and absences, particularly over the festive period.
It is crucial for employers to monitor absences and sick days during December and keep an eye out for patterns of unapproved absences, late arrivals, or high levels of sickness. Setting clear guidelines is crucial, as is making sure employees understand that absences will be handled the same way as they would the rest of the year.
If your team is having a Christmas party, establish some guidelines with staff about absences the day after the party. 39% of employees have called in sick to work the day after the Christmas party and 8% of employees do it every year!
Being mindful of employees who do not celebrate Christmas is important. There are several ways to be inclusive of all team members over the festivities. Firstly, if you plan to host a festive activity, whether that be secret Santa or a Christmas party, make participation voluntary and consider the option of alternatives for those who do not wish to participate.
For employees who do not celebrate Christmas, using language associated with the holiday can be uncomfortable. For example, instead of saying “Merry Christmas”, you could say “Happy holidays” instead. You may believe you know what a person celebrates, but it is always better to be cautious.