The holiday season can bring a lot of cheer, but it can also bring plenty of distractions that lure your team away from their normal productivity. You don't want to be a Scrooge, but you also can't put projects on hold just because everyone is feeling festive. Here are some strategies that will help you keep your team focused during holiday distractions... and still let you all celebrate the season.
Strategy 1: Shoot for Small Wins
You already know that breaking large goals down into smaller ones is a great way to motivate your team. During the distraction-heavy holiday season, think in terms of tiny goals. Microgoals, even.
Present each tiny goal during your daily stand-up, or send out an email and call your team to rally for the day's achievable cause. If appropriate, assign tasks for each team member for the day; just be careful not to micromanage. Check in periodically to see how everyone is doing. Microgoals help everyone stay focused on one measurable goal, and keeping it tiny makes it feel fun and very, very doable.
Strategy 2: Bring Up Something New
If your team is having trouble working up enthusiasm for projects that have lost their luster, use the holiday spirit to work on new, interesting projects. The allure of a new task or project is difficult to resist, and the energy it brings can help everyone stay focused and make good progress on the initial structure and tasks required. Plus, you'll all return from holiday vacations with good progress already made on a new project.
Strategy 3: Focus on Closures
Another way to help your team stay focused is to clarify what needs to be done to achieve closure on open loops and projects. If responsibilities aren't already clearly defined, you may need to assign particular tasks. You can label the closure work as an end-of-year house cleaning for your team or department. It's always nice to wrap things up, so motivate your team by concentrating on actions that bring projects to a neat finish.
Strategy 4: Don't Overreact
You may think productivity is taking a dive, but you may not be right. Before you freak out about employees wasting company time or (horrors!) start micromanaging them to prevent it, take a good look around.
Maybe there's a little more chatter and festivity than normal, but the increased mood might actually help your employees be more productive than normal. Good moods, light spirits, and festive environments can help people to think more creatively. Don't assume that productivity is lacking. Are your people still showing up, meeting deadlines, and participating? Then productivity might be right where it should be.
Strategy 5: Rewards, Not Reviews
The annual review is one of the dreaded aspects of the holiday season, and experts say it's not something that actually helps employees. So remove the stress and anxiety by eliminating the annual review. Instead, incorporate regular one-on-one, casual meetings. You can start this new company policy in the new year.
Replace reviews with rewards: employees appreciate recognition, cash, benefits, additional leadership opportunities, flexibility, and time off. Deliver rewards personally with a few specific compliments and your thanks for what particular person has contributed. The boost in morale, dedication, enjoyment, and loyalty will increase employee engagement, which is what turns a ho-hum workplace into a creative, productive powerhouse.