When it comes the busy holiday season, small businesses not only need all hands on deck, but they need all those hands focused and attending to business.  Even though employees may be distracted by thoughts about how they’re going to deck their own halls, buy gifts, attend parties and a host of other things that make the holidays the most wonderful and simultaneously crazy time of the year, employers need them to help make the most of the season at work too.

Here are some tips for maximum employee motivation:

Make time to celebrate. Be it bringing in lunch for everyone, offering free massages at work or even organizing a secret gift exchange, it’s great for morale to take a break every once in a while to let employees blow off some steam.

Set goals. Let employees in on the game plan and strategy you have for the holidays. Feeling like they’re part of the big picture can do wonders for keeping employees focused.

Determine what matters to them. For example, millennials tend to value things like leadership opportunities and feedback. The holidays are a perfect time to offer both by assigning more accountability, so they begin to feel more ownership.

Give thanks. Be it with small gifts, bonuses or simple, handwritten cards, letting employees know you appreciate them is a big motivator for them to want to continue doing good work.

Get competitive. A little friendly holiday competition can up the motivation to perform.

Offer flexible hours. If your business lends itself to flexible hours, this is a perk employees especially appreciate around this time of year when everyone is busy. Typically, they’ll work extra hard during the hours they choose to work in exchange for the flexibility.

Set an early deadline for time-off requests. The earlier you know who needs time off when for their various personal holiday commitments, the earlier you can start working to accommodate them. Also, clear communication about the time-off policy is vital, especially around the holidays as it can eliminate frustration and misunderstandings.

Give back. The holiday season is a great time of year to organize a company-wide charity event. Whether it’s a food drive or organizing a caroling trip to a local nursing home, there are plenty of opportunities to get together do good for others and build a sense of teamwork at the same time.

Go team!

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