Learn from experts on building corporate culture on how employers can tailor the approach to make the best holiday congrats in the workplace by recognizing red and green flags, regardless of the generation, nationality, and gender of employees.


Green flags to do for holiday congrats

Red flags to do for holiday congrats

Remote employees congrats

What employees expect to receive as a holiday giftDemo with AcademyOcean

You’re likely to find employees across four generations with different lifestyles, religions, and genders in any workplace. Bridging a difference gap like that can be daunting, but it’s also a chance for employers to choose an approach that will suit everyone in the company.

Vladimir Polo, CEO & founder of AcademyOcean, a platform for corporate training, says while more and more people are searching for remote jobs, research shows that workers become less productive and feel less connected to their coworkers and workplace globally.

We live in a multinational and multigenerational world. So when you only show the employees' appreciation in a language understandable by a single generation, culture, or gender, all the others don't feel the appreciation for their contribution to the company. And this is not surprising that more people feel less connected to their workplace," Polo says.

However, cultivating a multinational, multigenerational, and multi-gendered workplace is easier said than done, with minor differences bringing their strengths and weaknesses to the table. Here are four pieces of advice to empower the workplace with understanding and to make the best holiday congratulations.

Employee holiday congrats

Green flags to do for holiday congrats

On holidays, we mostly think about others. What could we give them? How can we make this time special for them? Who else could we invite, and how? Green flags for holiday greetings will always be acceptance and flexibility in handling everyone's needs and concerns. From near-retirement Boomers to newly graduated post-Millenials, people love to be treated as individuals and to feel appreciated for their hard work. An employer must respect the beliefs of every person on their team. Such an attitude makes Christmas a "goodwill holiday."

Paul Matthews, Learning & Development Expert and Architect of the People Alchemy Learning Workflow Platform, says people need to feel valued. So any appreciation, congratulations, or well-wishing for Christmas needs to express gratitude for what people have done. It needs to be a genuine, personal message.

“In my opinion, sending an impersonal email causing zero impact is so easy. What is worse, it may even trigger a negative response. When a gift is given, a lot of its value is based on the perception the receiver has about the effort that was put into creating the gift. A unique handwritten by the chief executive Christmas card will have far more value than one copied via a machine and likely would carry more weight than a physical gift.”

Polo says the answer for all parties is to shift the way we think about communication.

"Everyone can be asked individually by mail, for example, if there is anything in making the holiday season less stressful or more pleasant personally for them. Such as needing time off or wanting to play games on the last working day of the year, like Secret Santa, and even if they need to have a gift shipped to the office to keep it a secret from the recipient. In addition, I didn't hesitate to include a request to my team to let me know what they preferred, the Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas."

Michelle Parry-Slater is an L&D specialist with vast experience and an award-winning career, agrees and adds.

“Remote workers need to feel included. If you are holding an online Christmas party, there is nothing better than posting out to each remote worker a gift box to join in with the party—a hat, a joke, an edible gift, a tea bag/coffee sachet/can of drink, a small wrapped gift. There is something is people 'breaking bread' together that brings people closer. By everyone receiving the same, the party meeting will feel more connected. Also, consider festive jumpers or costumes. I have seen an 'Oscars' time online meeting for the end-of-year celebrations, which worked very well. Each remote worker was praised publically for their achievements. Reward and recognition are crucial for people.”Demo with AcademyOcean

Red flags to do for holiday congrats

The red flags for holidays are congrats that could be easily misunderstood and mistaken as a sign of manipulation, bribery, favoritism, or discrimination. For example, offering large sums of money or a lavish gift are confusing ways to congratulate a worker.

Congratulating employees for personal successes, such as a promotion or reward without providing performance feedback, or rewards for employer's assignments that are not part of the job description are marked by the experts as a red flag, as it could be persuaded as a sign of favoritism.

Stella Collins, Co-founder & Chief Learning Officer at Stellar Labs, says that trying to save on employees will only anger and negatively affect the company's brand. It is better to present a handwritten card or arrange an evening with games. It is crucial to devote special attention to quality, as the lack of it will spoil everything.

“Don’t give people gifts made from leftovers after marketing or sales – they aren’t personal. And that will have no impact, or it may even trigger a negative response. A gift should be made to please the receiver and not the sender.”

Remote employees congrats

Today’s workers have gained a reputation for wanting more out of the workplace. First-time-ever demands flexibility in work, duration of vacation time, and even how they communicate with other employees. However, sincerity and openness have become trends in the 2020s.

Online meetings with employees engaging them in different games, activities, and things where they can behave like normal human beings will bring unforgettable emotions and connect people of different generations, cultures, and genders.

“Since many office employees globally have been working remotely in the past 3 years, employers could use an online evening of different games for holiday congrats. Also, it is essential to take turns in who organizes the games so everyone can get involved.”, advises Collins.

Online activities that help people to better know each other shouldn’t be underestimated as well, says Polo.

Organize an online evening where all team members can share something personal. It could be simply arranging an evening ‘Tell about yourself with the presentation in five minutes. Also, an interesting way to get to know each other is to prepare childhood photos, the host has to show them, and others have to guess who’s in the photo. Don’t forget about holiday kits, like Google, Microsoft, and Canva do.”

Remote employees congrats

Dean Karrel the LinkedIn Learning Instructor Sales Trainer and Career Development Advisor also says.

“The companies I have worked for also had holiday parties for the entire company, along with gatherings for individual departments. It is important to set guidelines so that one department doesn't spend much more than another department.”

To make the best holiday for everyone is about giving to others who need it. For example, Google commits millions towards charity and encourages employees to donate to non-profit organizations for holidays.

What employees expect to receive as a holiday gift

According to a Blackhawk survey, about 60% of respondents claimed they would enjoy receiving an end-of-year reward from the companies they work for. The researchers stated that almost 90% of participants would like prepaid gift cards from their employers. 40% of respondents prefer additional days off, the other 29% wouldn't mind receiving food, and only 28% expect physical gifts.

People prefer to have a choice in what they buy. That's why 70% of respondents find the prepaid flexible card the best and the most valued holiday gift.

“Unexpected gifts will make everyone surprised and gracious in their gratitude.” I remember getting a beautiful boxed set of wine from an associate who had done fabulous work for us the previous year. She thanked me for involving her in the project. I was very touched because I already thought she’d given us the gift of doing a great job for the client,” says Collins.

And, of course, we will not stop repeating that gifts should be personalized.

“The most memorable corporate holiday present I received was a card engraved with my name and my company’s name, colored in my favorite colors and handed with a handwritten card from the executive,” Polo explains. 

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