The holidays and the end of the year create a time in which we naturally tend to reflect, show gratitude, and get excited for what is to come in the new year. For 2018 we want to embrace the time of year, talk about what we have accomplished and learned in 2018 and what’s coming in 2019. Reviewing the outcomes of goals established at the beginning of the year.  Now is a great opportunity to celebrate successes and increase engagement for the year to come.

The key is to be transparent when sharing goal outcomes at the end of year celebration or new year kick off meeting.  Chances are not all goals were met; but employees will want to hear what the team has learned and how they have grown from those few shortcomings as well as celebrating those important wins.  More than likely most of the team will be taking time off during the holidays.  Now is the time to get employees focused and engaged to hit the ground running upon their return.  Take the time to clearly communicate 2019 company goals and direction.  Be sure to link those goals to your company mission and values.

What better time of year as a leader to take advantage of this holiday cheer and tie it back to the great accomplishments made by your team.  A simple and impactful way to gather that information is to ASK.  Ask for input on what your employees are most proud of, what should be celebrated (things big and small), and who impacted them most at the company. This could be done through 1:1 conversation or a simple survey form.  Twelve months is a long time and it is difficult for you to keep track of all individual and team accomplishments.  Asking the team to provide this information creates unity amongst the group and a chance for each employee to individually reflect and recognize.

Once you have your list of accomplishments, it is time to recognize!  There are many ways you can easily recognize your teams’ accomplishments.  How about a hand-written note that communicates specific achievements you are most proud of each team member accomplishing?  An email to the whole team or company that showcases individual and team accomplishments.  Or take advantage of everyone being in the same room for the office holiday party and publicly recognize and thank the team for all their hard work and dedication.  Even better, if significant others are included at the holiday party, thank them as well.  Everyone knows that the long work hours can take a toll on the family and their support helped your employee achieve great things this year.

Finally, we all know the importance of frequent feedback and recognition throughout the year.  Don’t reserve the holidays as the only time of year to provide it.  As leaders, make it a personal 2019 goal of yours to invest time in regularly recognizing your team members.  Make in timely.  Make it specific.  Make it meaningful.  Happy Holidays!