We’ve all heard the narrative of the overworked nonprofit employee, who prioritizes their organization’s cause to the point of personal burnout. It’s true that burnout is common in the nonprofit sector, and during the holiday season it’s even more likely, with travel, familial responsibilities, last-minute gift shopping, and tight budgets on the minds of many. Add in other stressors like an increased workload as a result of co-workers taking time off and children who are out of school, and you’ve likely got one exhausted employee.
Unfortunately, high levels of stress often lead to decreased productivity, absenteeism, and workplace accidents. So how does your nonprofit keep its employees engaged when they’ve got so much on their minds, and you’ve got a budget to adhere to? Rather than continuing on with business as usual, try celebrating the holidays by celebrating your employees! Below are four cost-effective ways to boost morale and show your employees that you care this holiday season.
1. Plan a Holiday Party
A holiday celebration gives employees something fun to look forward to, and it doesn’t need to be expensive! A holiday party can be anything from an all-staff dinner at a local restaurant to something as simple as a shortened workday followed by a potluck. There are also many alternatives to the traditional office party, including an ugly sweater day or even a white elephant game.
2. Show Flexibility with Scheduling
While it may not always be possible, showing your employees some flexibility during the chaotic holiday season can have a major effect on their stress levels. If staffing permits, choose a day to allow employees to leave a little early, or show greater flexibility with regard to time-off requests. Your employees will appreciate the consideration when it comes to their busy schedules, and the extra time can contribute to a better work-life balance.
3. Give Out Personalized Cards
Personalized thank you cards written out to each employee are a great way to show that you care without spending a lot. Just letting your employees know that you appreciate them each individually, enough to write and give them a card, speaks volumes.
4. Organize a Staff Volunteer Effort
Volunteering during the holidays is a great way to feel good and to make a difference in the community, bringing the focus of the holidays back to those that are less fortunate. Try organizing a volunteer effort separate from your nonprofit’s cause, such as a food or gift donation drive. You could also organize a half-day away from the office to spread holiday cheer at a local homeless shelter or hospital. Getting out of the office and doing something good as a group not only boosts morale, but it’s also great for team building!
While we like to think of this time of year as happy and joyous, it can often be stressful too. Showing understanding and taking steps to demonstrate that employees are both seen and appreciated goes a long way.