Throughout my career, I have worked during more holiday seasons than I can count. Welcome to year-end as a human resource and benefits professional – not something typically mentioned in the HR recruitment brochure!

Not everyone can take time off during the holidays to pause and reflect. Many industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, professional services, hospitality, and retail organizations do not typically shut down during the period between Christmas and New Year’s.

If you’re one of those employers, it’s vital for you to keep employees engaged during this time. But how do you do this when it seems like the rest of the country is taking a break?

Compensation and bonuses are one very important way; however, below are some relatively inexpensive ways you can show gratitude to your employees who are working through the holidays.

  1. Connect the work to the end result. Clearly communicate to your employees in multiple ways, including email, newsletters, in-person meetings and through your intranet how working through the holidays impacts your company’s mission.
  2. Mention their names. Show appreciation for work performed during the holidays using several methods including written announcements, verbal affirmations, or executive affirmations.
  3. Bring fun to the office. Whether it’s a hot chocolate bar, company-catered lunch or in-house chair massages, your employees will appreciate a quick break and the fact that you’re taking care of them.
  4. Promote engagement with an interactive activity. This could be in the form of a gratitude bulletin board where employees complete anonymous cards saying what they appreciate about their co-workers. Or you could distribute an informal survey and publish a Top Ten Podcast List in the breakroom or where employees congregate. Human connection is key to employee satisfaction.
  5. Allow for early finishes. Maybe it’s a few hours early, or even just an hour. Surprise your employees by allowing them to finish a bit early – especially when they least expect it.
  6. Celebrate after the holidays. Just because the holidays have ended, doesn’t mean the appreciation has to stop. Once things have settled in January, schedule a lunch celebration to thank those employees who worked so diligently from Christmas to New Years.

No matter which method you choose to take care of your employees during the holidays, whether small or large, it’s important to keep them engaged and show you care. Sometimes the most impactful gift you can give your employees is showing gratitude and making them feel appreciated – so throughout the holidays and beyond – keep gifting!

Article by: Brooke Salazar, JD, PHR

Brooke is HR Consultant and Associate Internal Counsel for Apex Benefits. Brooke is a human resources professional with a focus on diversity and inclusion programs; benefits design and administration; and employee relations. She has over 10 years of rich, progressive experience as a trusted subject matter expert in resolving and mitigating complex employee relations matters. Contact Brooke at

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