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The holiday season is one of the few times of the year that business owners, executives, and employees shift their focus from "business as usual" to the company culture and those around them. It is when most of us take a few moments to recognize the many little things beyond doing their jobs and getting a pay check.

Most business owners think that everyone appreciates the extra benefits and gestures that are offered to them at this time of year. At the same time, I often hear business owners stating that many do not appreciate the gestures.

On the other side, employees see what is being done, but any goodwill earned is often overridden by having a “things will return to the same right after the Holidays” mindset.

The truth is, both sides are right! The question to ask yourself is, does your culture really benefit and grow because of your efforts and gestures during the Holidays? My guess is that any cultural benefit is fractional and usually temporary. So, how do we give this once a year opportunity a boost and help it sustain?

Below are a few suggestions:
  1. Form a Holiday party committee with your employees who appear to be well connected within the company and who are “pro” company culture.
  2. Give the committee a budget, and let them design and roll out their own version of what your celebration(s) would be. Stay hands off!
  3. We know a one-time shot with just about anything does not work well or sustain these days, so alternative options to suggest include:
    a. Having smaller celebrations more often throughout the year
    b. Presenting that challenge to your committee and listening for their suggestions

The boost factor

To give your holiday party a boost, make sure to invite the employees' families to join in the festivities so they can meet and mingle with their family member's colleagues, including the company owners and executives. Taking it one step further, focus your efforts (budget) on the employees' children. Have a list of all the attending children aged 13 and under, call them up individually, and give them each a small gift. It's a small touch that the kids and their parents – your employees – will love. More importantly, everyone will become more engaged with each other on a more personal level and the end result, with the laughs and smiles, will exceed your expectations of a typical holiday party.

So take these suggestions and give your company culture a boost this holiday season!

Steven J. Krisfalusy is a serial entrepreneur who has decades of expertise in O.D. and People Development in a vast array of Industries, especially in the small- to mid-range markets. Currently the Managing Partner / Sr. Consultant of the Beringer Group LLC., a Management / Human Capital Consulting / Staffing Consulting firm in the Midwest.
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