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Elevating festive spirit of employees while continuing WFH



Suvarna Mishra - Human Resources Head, Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services, India


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Festivals play a significant role in bringing people together, giving them a chance to disconnect from everyday work routine and providing an opportunity to connect. Organizations can take a few small but significant steps to provide their employees with the support and reassurance they need through various initiatives that fosters togetherness and supplement it with monetary or non-monetary rewards.

The Indian festive season captures the imagination of employees and corporates who work to create a unique workplace atmosphere each year. Everyone looks forward to this season in anticipation of bonus and incentives as well as celebrations at office. However, with the pandemic, this year is not the same when it comes to celebrating festivals.

With 'new-normal' becoming an integral part of the lives of people, organizations and their workforce are now well adapted to the remote or hybrid working set ups. However, there are times when employees experience feelings of low energy or exhaustion, leading to burnout. In response to the multifaceted impact of new working conditions, management and leaders must offer timely appreciation, rewards, recognition, and abundant motivation to make employees feel valued.

As the employees enter the festive season with a subdued mood, HR must indulge in understanding what would help keep the festive spirit alive. Here are a few thoughts:

1. Add a virtual personal touch to festive celebrations

In the times when team outings or social gatherings are not advisable for employee wellbeing, the virtual version of Diwali celebration is a great way to engage with employees. A virtual celebration will also give great enthusiasm for employees to dress up in traditional attires and reconnect with colleagues. One way to make the virtual get together more fun, is to organize contests & talent shows where employees and their families can participate together, keeping aside the routine work for half-a-day.

2. Offer healthy meal experiences

Food is an integral part of festive occasions and celebrations in India. When lunching out with colleagues for the usual buffet at a restaurant is not an option, HR can plan to provide memorable meal experiences virtually through gifting digital solutions that give employees access to the same. It is imperative for leaders to adopt unconventional and modern methods to ensure an enhanced employee experience at the workplace and beyond.

3. Indulge in open communication

Businesses have entered a busy time, and employee work schedules have become busier. While concentration and productivity are of paramount importance, it is essential to emphasize on transparency and dialogue between colleagues especially during the festive period. A key aspect of festive celebrations is for employers to show gratitude to employees and share insights on goals achieved, the company's accomplishments and vision for the future. Therefore, continuous performance conversations help achieve this, through regular feedback on goals, acknowledgement on the work done and future goals of the organization. This also helps in nurturing a transparent culture and improves the trust quotient for the organization

4. Enable Peer to Peer Recognition

Recognition and reward have always been a critical enabler for engagement, and it gains even more importance in the virtual way of working. The expectations of employees on recognition are largely from the management, but recognition from colleagues is also very valuable to engage virtual team members. It fosters collaboration, increases social interaction, and makes them feel noteworthy/valuable. Leaders must look at enabling digital recognition platforms allowing employees to connect and publicly recognize one another for their accomplishments. This will not only help to ensure productivity but also a cheerful work environment during the festive season as employees continue to work remotely.

5. Show appreciation with personalized digital gifts

In the era of contactless payments, employees seek gift cards and non-monetary rewards over cash bonuses. Exchanging physical gifts in the present scenario is not a wise choice; hence, corporates can turn to virtual gift cards to help boost employee engagement, productivity and help employee engagement transcend physical barriers. The power of digital gift cards is undeniable and has the perfect element of surprise and freedom of choice.