The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years are filled with goodwill and good cheer, so good luck getting a lot of productivity out of your employees. Another issue to skirt: accidentally offending someone by wishing them the incorrect greeting. Productivity and personal beliefs aside, before you end up feeling like the Grinch, consider implementing some of these strategies:
Send out Thanksgiving cards in November in lieu of holiday cards in December. Distinguish yourself by saying "Thanks" during the Thanksgiving season. Not only will your card arrive ahead of the rest, you won't have to worry about which holiday your clients and customers celebrate. I have a friend who sends out "I'm thankful you are in my life" cards during November. It's a great message and a refreshing alternative to December holiday greetings that fill the mailbox.
Emphasize goals instead of time in the office. Which is more important: having employees putting in face-time at the office, or achieving their goals? Find some way to reward the employees who reach their annual or quarterly goals before December 31.
Employees will be more motivated to hit their targets in November and early December, especially if they have time off at the end of the year. Our neighbor is an attorney and worked many hours this summer. In return, he will be able to take much of December off to spend time with his family. His company policy is very clear - you can have a significant amount of flexibility as long as you meet your goals.
Start talking now about vacation plans. Many people take a week or two off in December, while others save their vacation for other times of the year. Now is the time to create a game plan to make sure all of the necessary functions of your business are covered between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Find out who will be out and how others in your company can cover for them. This is a great way to do a little cross-training and task documentation. It also gives employees a way to get exposure to other parts of the business. Who knows, they might even discover some efficiencies or gain a better understanding of how their role fits in with other employees.
Planning ahead can help make the holiday season productive, profitable, and, yes, full of good cheer for everyone.