Worried about The Great Resignation? Make your team feel valued at Christmas and beyond

As the country opens up and we head into the holiday season, many Australian employees are facing burnout at the back end of what most of us would agree has been a trying year. Added to this, the Great Resignation may roll on to Australian shores and businesses are looking for ways to remind staff of their appreciation and the value they bring – in ways that resonate.  

It is so important to note that company culture is the sum of many parts, from feeling respected and included, to transparency and excellent leadership, and much more. In the short term though, showing real value to employees after the year we’ve all been through, will be best executed via instilling a positive workplace culture and delivering unique employee recognition and rewards. 

Heading into the holidays there are small, commonsense practices that managers, leaders and SME owners can employ to promote a feeling of value and recognition with employees.  

1. Align staff values with business culture

Increasingly, Australians are opting for employers with shared values. To ensure authenticity, culture and values need to be executed top-down and left to right.

As the year-end approaches, reflect on the year that has passed and understand more deeply the wins and losses for your team this year. This can be via a casual coffee catch up, or anonymous survey, as long as the outcome is a more holistic view of the issues your team cares about.

Communal reflection will allow you to take learnings and real-time feedback from your teams, and apply these to your business culture moving forward. Conversely, team members feel appreciated and listened to, by your act of initiating the conversation.

2. Align staff values with employee recognition programs

It’s not just about business culture. Aligning values to employee recognition programs can also create a more inclusive workplace with increased talent retention and attraction, workplace engagement and productivity. The more gratitude a company has for its people, the better the company performs.

Over physical gifts (23 per cent) and bonuses (42 per cent), our research shows 51 per cent of Australians want to receive a unique experience or gift voucher from their employer this Christmas. Taking time to understand your team after a turbulent two years, will allow you to effectively recognise and reward staff.

Employees will always look for standard benefits such as wages and bonuses, but more and more it’s the soft benefits like experiences that are making the difference. Employees will love and remember being sent on an indulgent day at the spa, or a decadent dining experience. For time-poor business owners, it’s a light touch option that will be valued by your employees for years to come.

3. New ways of working require new ways of approaching culture

The pandemic has triggered new ways of working for businesses of all sizes. As a result, instilling culture in the office and at home has become a challenge across the board. If you can’t bring staff together to collaborate in person or even enjoy a team lunch, how do you make employees feel valued and create a positive memory associated with work?

Take Salesforce ANZ, with the tech company expecting the majority of its workforce to adopt a hybrid approach moving forward, they’re testing creative ways to instil culture without being physically able to share an experience. As well as forming a part of their recognition programs, Salesforce delivers experience vouchers to team members unable to attend end-of-year team events, so they still have an activity to enjoy with friends and family.

Creative ways to instil culture without being physically able to share an experience will be a key need with a changing workforce. 

Finally, after a trying year, encourage your employees to take time off this Christmas, meaningfully unplug and spend quality time with friends and family.