The holidays are filled with music and laughter in the air. They can also be filled with growing to-do lists and the stress of getting ready for the big day. Employee morale can dip as employees focus more on the holidays than work. It gets darker earlier, the cold breeze puts a damper on moods and long hours leave employees simply crawling towards holiday vacation. All of these things combined with end of the year stress of yearly reviews, deadlines and taking up the slack of employees taking early vacation leaves blues floating through the air in many offices. This is actually the best time to give employees the recognition they deserve and an end of the year smile. These ideas will boost morale and help employees feel appreciated during the holidays.

Why Employee Recognition

According to Globoforce the main reason people leave their jobs is they do not feel wanted. 65% of people said they did not feel appreciated and got no recognition for all of their hard work. By giving employees recognition for coming to work and performing every day you can maintain employees and boost morale at the same time. Doing this might be easier said than done, but you can show employees appreciation in all kinds of ways.

Praise

Words of praise don't even cost the company any money. Tell employees they are appreciated and give them praise on tasks completed. Make sure they realize you are paying attention to their work. Tell employees to pass on this praise to their co-workers by giving them praise via e-mail.

Office Upgrades

Offices can be boring. The colors begin to swirl into one gray room filled with chairs and computers. Take time to revamp with things like paint, decoration or new lighting. Add a TV to the break room, bring in fun snacks on a daily basis and throw a few new lamps throughout the office for a boost of light. Giving people light and bright colors naturally awakens the spirit during any season.

Gifts of Appreciation

Gifts of appreciation make anyone feel special. These gifts don't need to be huge, but something meaningful so the employees feel like they matter. Appreciation plaques are a perfect way to do this, and can be given to employees for different things. From "Most Spirited" and "Most Dedicated" to "Perfect Attendance" and "Best in Sales," appreciation plaques can be given for anything you choose. Employees can show off their wood or glass plaques in their offices and/or at their desk to glance at during the year when they are having a tough day.

Office Parties

Working together and playing together often creates a better office bond and environment. An office party is the perfect place to start. You can even do it during business hours and have everyone bring their favorite dish. You can have a big party after hours where everyone dresses their best and shows off their dance moves as well. Give away door prizes ranging from gift certificates to electronics, whatever the budget allows. Go the extra mile with a band, alcohol or even karaoke. It's everyone's opportunity to celebrate a year of hard work with a little fun.

Listen

Listen to employees' needs. They may actually need more flexibility during the holiday season to take care of loved ones. Holidays can be tough for many families stressing over personal issues or dealing with loss. Use compassion (even if human resources pushes you to be more of a robot!). Compassion lets employees feel appreciated and heard. They will work harder with a brighter smile after feeling appreciated.