How many Christmas parties have you been to already? One too many? While they can be a bit awkward or tedious, they are a nice opportunity to take time out with your colleagues and celebrate the year that was. What have you done so far to celebrate with your team? This time of year is a great opportunity to stop and reflect on what you achieved as an organisation, as a team, and personally.
When I managed a large communications team in government, this was my favourite time of year. We got to take a breath (for about 30 seconds) and remember the amazing things we achieved. We spent time together socially and enjoyed each other’s company. In short, we took time out to celebrate no matter how busy we were.
And you should too. There are a few things you can do to celebrate together as a team.
- Have a celebration: Book a lunch, go out to dinner, leave the office early and go grab a drink. Being able to spend time with your team out of the office and be together away from the office politics. It’s not too late to organise something now. You will be surprised what this does for team morale and cohesiveness.
- Send the team an email: I used to send an email to my team outlining what we had delivered in the year. It was a great chance to not only remember the big deliverables, but the large number of often unseen achievements, the hundreds of pages published to the website, the media releases, the tweets, internal events. All of the tasks that we did every day that are often taken for granted.
- Write a note: Give each team member a Christmas card or hand-written note. Tell them what you appreciate about them and why you are grateful to have them in the team. In the age of emails, people really appreciate the time it takes to write a note.
- Anonymous compliments: Instead of doing a secret santa do an anonymous compliment swap. Everyone pulls a name out of a hat and then writes that person an anonymous note with compliments or other nice things. We did this last Christmas, and I still have my note stuck to my wall in my home office. It gives you all the warm and fuzzy feelings.
This shouldn’t be a once-a-year thing, you should go out of your way to create a genuine and authentic culture that supports, recognises, and rewards hard work. When you celebrate success in a timely manner and make celebrations a regular habit, it will increase engagement, boost motivation, improve productivity and create a stronger team. Celebrating shouldn’t be saved for Christmas it should be something you do as part of your team culture. Now is as good a time to start as any.