A few simple, creative steps can boost employee morale, engagement, and productivity on holiday.
In healthcare, there are no holidays. Like it or not, at least some of your employees will have to work when others are off celebrating with family and friends. However, there are efforts that HR and other leaders can take to make working on holidays more fun and less stressful for everyone. While free food is always welcome, there are other, creative, out-of-the-box ideas that will almost make workers happy to take the holiday shift.
Here’s how to make holidays, especially in the spring and summer, fun and memorable:
1. Have a beach party/weenie roast. Encourage people (as appropriate) to wear shorts, t-shirts, hats, and other vacation attire, serve hot dogs and hamburgers (including non-meat varieties), play beach music, and have beach balls to toss around. If possible, have leaders at the grill or serving food to demonstrate their solidarity with workers.
2. Hold a holiday/history trivia contest. Ask trivia questions throughout the day, and give prizes—like baked goods and other treats–for quickest or most correct answers.
3. Encourage goofy fun. For patriotic holidays, invite employees to wear red, white, and blue and offer prizes such as gift cards for the most creative outfits. Hand out patriot-themed bandanas, beads, buttons, little American flags, and other items to staff and residents alike. Show virtual fireworks on TV screens, and encourage staff to “ooh and ah” with residents.
4. Include families. If possible, consider inviting employees’ families in for lunch, a movie, or other activity. Your workers may feel better about working on the holiday if they can share a bit of it with their families.
5. Let friends work together. Encourage camaraderie by letting friends share shifts and work together over the holiday.
6. Promote equality. Encourage leaders and managers to come in and share meals and activities with staff over the holiday weekend; have them sit and talk with staff as equals and use this opportunity to get to know employees better.
7. Offer day-long door prizes. Give out one or two door prizes every hour. These don’t have to be big-ticket items. Think simple things like gift cards, small boxes of chocolates, tech gadgets (ear buds or portable phone chargers), paid time off, or t-shirts.
8. Bring in entertainment. Consider hiring an Elvis impersonator or magician. If funds are tight, find employees with talented family members who can perform.
9. Say “thank you.” Working over the holidays will be more tolerable if employees know they are appreciated. Consider offering small tokens of appreciation such as a gift card or time off they can use in the future.
Celebrating holidays at work is about more than fun. Reducing stress, making people feel needed and appreciated, and giving workers a chance to be silly and bond with colleagues and bosses can go a long way toward building a stronger employee brand, encouraging retention and engagement, and boosting morale. What fun and creative things do you plan for staff who work on holidays? We would love to hear about your efforts! Send your stories and photos to [email protected].