Boost employee spirits this holiday season

Trees are up, holiday deals are out and minds are already wandering through the big holiday to-dos.

We are (unbelievably) one week into December. That leaves just two work weeks to up your employee engagement game.

Many optometrists think about staff engagement and wellbeing year-round. As such, the incentives they offer get spread across 12 months of the year, be it through training opportunities, month-end bonuses or staff parties.

But December is a bit special. It marks the end of the year, and a time to reflect on what your practice. It’s also a time to give thanks to your team – the ones who have contributed to your practice’s success in 2019.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to thanking and rewarding employees around the holidays.

According to ADP Canada, 40% of employees throw a holiday party as their reward to employees. Gifts (16%) and additional time off (14%) were other common rewards.

However, the survey highlights a bit of a gap between what employers offer and what employees want: nearly a quarter of staff want more time off, and just 22% say they want that holiday party.

It also “highlights the importance of having open conversations with employees regarding holiday rewards and incentives to manage employee expectations,” says Heather Haslam, vice-president of marketing at ADP Canada.

She says employee satisfaction and engagement can increase if employers take the time to learn how employees prefer to be rewarded. Offering flexible reward solutions are another option.

Most holiday parties are planned by now. But if you’re looking to turn a holiday tradition into a more thoughtful employee engagement opportunity, here are some last-minute ideas to consider:

  • If you don’t know what your employees like to do for fun, find out – this is useful information to have year-round. A gift card to a favourite restaurant or movie tickets for the family are small expenses that can bring some additional cheer to your staff.
  • If you’re struggling to get patients in over the holidays and have decided not to ramp up your recalling to do so, turn slow business days into engagement opportunities by offering staff the extra time off (and consider pairing this with a gift card so employees can treat themselves)
  • Your recallers, your optician, your staff are a key part of your practice’s revenue structure. They book the appointments, they walk patients through eyewear options, they ask for referrals, they create an experience patients want to come back to. How much is that worth? Bonuses are an opportunity to reward employees’ contributions to your bottom line. They can also be motivational. Think of a bonus this year as an investment in more great work from your employees next year. Yes, they have jobs to do for which they’re already paid. But it’s the things they do over-and-above the job description (exceptional customer service, recalling to generate more revenue, an interest in training) that take a practice from good to great. Behaviours like that should be encouraged.