How to Motivate Your Teams During the Holiday Season

28 December 2018

Human Ressources Column


Once again, Jean-Simon works during the holidays while most of his colleagues are on vacation. As an accountant, he sprints to the finish line, closing the books for his employer’s fiscal year. Tired from the intensity of the last few workweeks, he is disappointed to know that he will not be attending family dinner with his wife and kids.

Martine, has been a customer service coordinator for the local public transportation commision for the past 15 years. This year, she is forced to cancel her holiday vacation plans since her team is short-staffed. She is saddened by the thought of not being able to attend a New Year’s Eve party with her friends, and at work, her heart is not in it.

Just like Jean-Simon and Martine, a lot of people have to work while their peers are resting and celebrating. Disappointment, lack of motivation, overwhelming family logistics… What are the best ways to motivate your teams during the busiest time of the year? Here are some ideas to consider:

Greet your staff and thank them

Take a few minutes when you get into the office to greet your employees and say thank you. A simple gesture that will encourage them and foster a sense of a purpose. They will appreciate the personal interaction and genuine sentiment. Prepare a personalized card for each member of your team and take the opportunity to highlight the excellent work accomplished throughout the year. This thoughtful act will boost employee morale and increase engagement.

Channel the spirit of the holiday season

Pick a morning to greet your employees with a hot winter drink and a delicious breakfast treat. Spread holiday cheer in the cafeteria with music, decorations, and a chalet-style relaxation area with lights and a decorative fireplace. Ambiance is all in the details; one that will have a positive impact on the office climate.


Be flexible

Evaluate the possibility of a flexible work schedule to allow your employees to do their holiday shopping and attend important family activities, or simply make managing work-life balance easier. Doing so will help reduce stress and favour better concentration.



The gift of relaxation

Give your employees a moment of relaxation with a professional in-office chair massage. This gift will be well received to soothe tense muscles and promote well-being.

Work in your slippers

Why not let your employees work from home for a few days during the holiday season. Of course, the company must be properly set up to offer this option. But when it’s possible, working from the comfort of your own home—wearing your slippers, and not having to deal with snowstorms or traffic—is priceless!

Go with the flow

If the company allows it, surprise your employees with the opportunity to leave early the day of. A small gesture that will end the year on a high note.

Change the way you do things

Wouldn’t it be possible to make changes to the way the holiday season is managed for upcoming years, especially when a company’s activities slow down during this period? Are you able to offer flexible or reduced hours, and extra vacation time, based on organizational needs? Even though working during the holiday season is essential for some organizations, it may not be for others, and a re-evaluation could have a positive impact, especially when it comes to attracting talent, and building loyalty. Generally, employees come back from a break rested, more engaged, and more motivated to invest themselves in their work.

How do you motivate your colleagues and employees during the holidays? Contact us at

About the author

Sylvie Lepage

About Sylvie Lepage

Founding Chair of Innovation RH

Member of the Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) and Registered Corporate Coach (RCC), founded the consulting firm specializing in human resources management, Innovation RH, in 2004. Sylvie has a long history of carrying out strategic assignments in human resources management, business coaching, organizational development, talent management and compensation.