The Holidays and Your Workplace Culture

The holidays are right around the corner. That means things like holiday hiring, and holiday party planning are probably underway too. HR might be busy with the hiring piece. But should you be involved with the holiday planning? If you’re focused on your company’s culture, it’s probably a good idea.

Holidays and company culture

For some employees, the holiday party is more like “attack of the holiday party.” Sometimes, just being there feels more like an obligation than a celebration. Don’t believe us? Well, one survey suggests that only about one-third of office workers will find the party entertaining, while just as many won’t want to be there at all.

Consider your holiday decorations. Do the decorations feel forced? Do the optics seem a little narrow, and not exactly inclusive?

No matter where you work, considering how the company culture can be reinforced through work activities throughout the year is essential.

Company culture is a part of nearly every facet of business these days. It’s teeming in the background as you read. Hopefully, it’s a big part of what motivates your employees to do their work, and influences the way your company performs. But what happens when your workplace culture interferes, inhibits, or overlooks your employees?

Focusing on workplace culture is vital in a candidate-driven job market.

Right now, your employees, as well as thousands of job seekers, have more options than they’ve had in years. In fact, we’re in a period where candidates have more control over where they work than perhaps ever before. And many workers are applying a “grass is greener” mindset when they think about where they want to work tomorrow.

If they’re doubting whether or not your culture is the right fit for them, something what’s supposed to be a celebration might accidentally work against you, and turn them from passive job seekers into key contributors for one of your competitors.

Checking in with them can help prevent this from happening. Are you?

Your people can help determine how your company celebrates and acknowledges the holidays. Meanwhile, attracting the right mix of voices is a key part of recruitment and retention. Our Spotlight, “Improve Employee Retention,” sheds light on ways that you can keep your focus on retaining key employees throughout the year.

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The holidays and HR

Is there anxiety about the holiday party? Maybe there’s zero anxiety, and people are looking forward to the same kind of celebration you’ve enjoyed for years. Check in with employees to determine if the past celebration model is meeting their needs and instilling a sense of unity and inclusion. HR can help play a role in determining how to effectively plan holiday events that meet your needs.

Gather answers and feedback from employees via informal check-ins, employee surveys, and more.

As you do, here are a few ideas to keep in mind:

1. Communicate and listen

Whether you’re meeting for interviews, reaching out via email, or taking notes during quick face-to-face meetings, you can gather input from your employees with a few insightful questions, such as:

  1. How does your workgroup prefer to celebrate? How do YOU prefer to celebrate?
  2. How would you define the company’s culture? Is your definition consistent with what we say about ourselves on the website, or in other marketing material? Is there something we’re missing that you’ve noticed?
  3. What are your thoughts about the company’s vision, direction, and focus?
  4. Would you say we’re an inclusive company? How can we be more inclusive?

As you gather answers, they may seem broad at first. Continue to organize them until you find overlaps, or places where consistent themes begin to emerge.

From there, consider the following:

  • How do the answers you receive align with your perceived vision and mission?
  • Do your employees embody your mission and vision?

2. Recognize that not all celebrations are alike

Maybe your company prides itself on holiday-centric lights and decorations strung throughout the workplace during the holiday season. If so, then ask yourself and your teams: Is the celebration about the time of year, the calendar, or the company itself?

How can you make the celebrations about the company, and your employees?

Is there a place in your celebration where you highlight different members of your company, key contributors, or successful initiatives? Can you actually expand the way you celebrate by putting the focus on employees? Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • An employee talent show or trivia party can be a friendly, light-hearted competition.
  • A motivational speaker from outside the company can talk about performance and setting goals for the new year.
  • Or, you can prime your keynote speaker with light comedic material that pokes fun at company leaders (with their permission, of course). This type of entertainment can promote good cheer among workers, and create a memorable experience for everyone.

Remember, the way you handle the holidays is an extension of your company culture.

Ideally, you’re paying attention to employee morale throughout the year. Check-ins, surveys, and even informal lunch meetings can help you take the pulse of your workforce.

When you employees know that their voices have helped direct the way you celebrate during the holidays, it can help them see themselves in your company’s culture—and your future.


Getting the right people starts with making the right hire. An applicant tracking system such as myStaffingPro can help you promote seasonal positions on multiple job boards, and simplify the application process for job seekers and HR throughout the year. Contact a sales representative to find out more.

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