Managers must try and give staff a psychological boost before they leave the office for Christmas - letting your team disappear without a pre-Christmas pep talk could be a very costly mistake.
Employers often underestimate how important the Christmas period is to people psychologically. Get your message right, and they’ll go home feeling incredibly positive about their company; get it wrong, and they might spend the holiday contemplating why their workplace isn’t what it used to be.
It’s easy to see why leaders might shy away from a Christmas message particularly if it has been a difficult year - there is a big temptation not to say anything if there’s nothing positive to say. But, this is a big mistake particularly during a tough time. Christmas is hugely important because everyone goes away at once. And when they head home to their families, lots of them end up reflecting on their jobs and what’s really important to them – so if they leave the office feeling a little concerned or unsettled, they are more likely to be negative when people ask them about their work.
This is dangerous, because it might encourage them to make a new year’s resolution to seek pastures new in January – and even if they do nothing about it, they’ll still bring a bucket-load of this negative energy back to the office. On the other hand, if they go away feeling great about the company and the people in charge, they are more likely to be positive and come back to work with renewed vigour.
What companies can do to send a positive message
- Provide a realistic picture of the current business situation, to show you’re being straight with people.
- Tell them why your company is better off than the competition (just to prove the grass isn’t actually greener).
- Talk about the inherent strengths of your company – something special about your model or heritage that will help you get ahead.
- Talk about all the great opportunities you have for 2016 when people get back.
- And finally, tell them why they really matter to the company (ideally on a one-to-one basis, though obviously this gets harder if you employ 10,000 people).
For those of you who have already had a Christmas message from the boss - how did they fare against this checklist?
Stephen Archer, Director, Spring Partnerships