Christmas is on the horizon. The holiday season is close and everyone in your office is likely to be getting ready for the festive break with their family. December is always a funny month for businesses. Everyone is winding down for Christmas and this means a lot of annual leave and office activities.
There’s also a big push to get everyone’s work squared away before the break too. This means December is a month of ups and downs. Frantic work punctuated by team get-togethers, meals and nights out. All of this is happening while your business is probably operating at 70%. With so much leave being taken in December, it can leave departments short-staffed which can be extra stressful considering most companies are ‘out of the office’ from the 24th to the New Year.
Add to this situation the stress and burnout brought on by the pandemic and you can see why December and the Christmas period can be quite stressful for business leaders. Even though everyone’s in a good mood and looking forward to the holidays, it can be a challenge getting your company into a position you’re happy to leave it in while you go off on holiday.
Every department in a business can do their part to make this month less stressful. Nobody wants a hectic December and every team and department head will pull together to make the month as stress-free as possible.
The HR department can do a lot this month to help alleviate the stress and pressure of Christmas. They can make sure everyone is having a fun time and firing on all cylinders in the build up to the festive break.
In this article, we’ll look at 4 ways HR software can help your team and business reduce Christmas-based stress in the office and we’ll share how you can use your HR software to make your December a stress-free zone.
December is a busy month for businesses. With fewer working days in the month, staff have to work extra hard to get everything sorted before they go on holiday. This pressure can lead to simple HR processes being forgotten and staff struggling to stay positive at work. Thankfully HR software can help immensely with these issues. Below, we’ve listed the 4 ways HR software can help you thrive in the Christmas period.
Lots of employees like to use their annual leave in December. Since most businesses shut between Christmas and New Year a savvy employee can maximise their time off with some extra annual leave.
Also, if your company renews employees’ holidays in January, you could find yourself dealing with an influx of holiday requests as staff put them in at the last minute so they don’t lose their holiday days.
This flurry of holiday requests can put pressure on your HR team, as well as department managers, as you collectively struggle to keep up with the requests. So it’s a good idea to pre-empt this request rush by reminding your employees and managers how your HR holiday request systems work.
That way you won’t be dealing with stressed employees trying to book holiday days at the last minute and you won’t need to chase up managers to approve holiday days that are pending.
By holding a “holiday request” refresher session at the end of November you can make sure everyone in your business knows the holiday protocol they need to follow when booking and approving time off. This will help managers know when to approve someone’s holiday, how many team members they can have off at one time and it lets employees know how far in advance they need to put in their requests.
You can also share any special exceptions you’re making because it’s the Christmas period. For example, you might allow for more members of one team to be off at the same time because it’s Christmas.
This refresher session can take multiple forms. It could be an announcement to the office, a training session in a boardroom or a video sent via email. Whichever method works best for your HR team and business.
In fact, one of the best ways you could disseminate this information is through your HR software. However you do it, you should make sure everyone in your business is happy and confident using your HR tools to book holidays. It will equate to less stress all round.
As your office winds down for the Christmas break, there’s a chance to work on less urgent but still important projects as you cross all your Ts and dot all your Is for next year. One thing a lot of HR teams like to do in December is organise and review all their people analytics and processes to get ahead of their reporting for the next year.
Doing this essential admin work now means you can hit the ground running in the New Year and provide your leadership team with accurate and relevant data on your company’s people, HR and Payroll activities.
You can also look ahead at what your business is planning in the next year and decide ahead of schedule how you can report on those initiatives from a HR perspective. You can then create those report templates now and save yourself a job in the new year.
Doing this now might not directly make your Christmas period easier but it’ll put you in a good position for the year ahead. You can also use this as an opportunity to connect with other department leaders and employees in your business. You can find out what’s troubling them about your HR software and make your HR team a bit more visible in your company.
And of course, it’s the perfect opportunity to catch up and chat with your colleagues.
When it’s business-as-usual in the office, it can be a nightmare getting all your employees to check and update their personal data in your system. Everyone is so busy you can often find yourself chasing staff members with requests to sign into your HR platform and update their information.
December is a great time to ask your employees to do this quick and simple task. People tend to have a bit more admin time in the run-up to Christmas so asking employees to have a look at their information will likely get a better response than any other time of the year.
It’s also good for your HR department. Starting the new year with a correct data set can save you hassle and heartache later in the year. You could set your HR a goal to make sure every employee has signed into, and reviewed the personal data you have on them ahead of the break.
The last thing your HR and Payroll teams need in the New Year is issues with incorrect employee data that can cause trouble when it comes to payroll.
Using the month of December to refresh and check all this data will make the New Year much easier.
Don’t forget it’s Christmas! A large part of the HR department role around this time of year is making sure everyone is engaged and having a fun time. Company culture is vitally important to reducing churn in your business and how eager employees are to engage in office Christmas celebrations is a good indicator of how happy your workforce is in your business.
You can use your HR software to engage and organise Christmas activities, wish your employees a merry Christmas and keep them informed about the events you’re planning for the Christmas holiday. You can also use your HR software to ask your staff what they’d like to do for a Christmas celebration.
By tailoring your office party to what your employees want, you can reduce the stress of organising it and you can guarantee everyone will have a great time with their colleagues just before the Christmas break.
Do you think your HR software and processes could be improved? Maybe you’ve audited your software and feel it’s time for a New Year upgrade. If this sounds like you, we can help at Phase 3. We’re a HR and Payroll consultancy that helps HR teams improve their processes with HR software. We help businesses of all sizes, if you’d like to find out how we can help you contact us here.