Your Internal Comms Holiday Messaging Checklist

Q4 is hectic, but don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to engage with your employees. So here’s a list of best practices, and check it twice!

While the holiday season is often full of workplace celebrations, gift exchanges, and feasts, Q4 also can be full of year-end madness for employees. Internal communicators- don’t want to pass up this important time to counsel leadership on the best approach for expressing thanks and appreciation for employees’ hard work.

More companies are abandoning fancy holiday celebrations (like the cringe-worthy 2016 movie, Office Christmas Party) for fun ways to express their thanks over the holiday season. The internal holiday message is a must-have. Are you looking to infuse your employee holiday communications with some creativity? I’ve thrown together a list of my top-ten. Now check it twice to ensure you’re conveying good tidings and holiday cheer.

1. Seeing is Believing

Video can be more impactful than a short-form email. Prompt leaders with personal questions about the holidays and edit their answers into a montage or have them deliver a heartfelt holiday message that reflects their gratitude for employees’ hard work and contributions to the company.

2. Transparency wins

What if your workplace had a lot of ups and downs this year? Recognizing the challenges and providing encouragement sends an authentic message to employees. If you allow comments on your intranet platform, consider posting the message and asking employees to share what they’re most thankful for to foster a two-way conversation. 

3. “Deck it out” with your brand

Give your holiday email message a visual punch. Create a design that incorporates your logo as snowflakes or tree ornaments. 😉How can you integrate your brand colors to ensure it looks like your company? Employee holiday messages shouldn’t be just red and green, including all the holidays this season. 

4. Make it personal

Cerkl gives you personalization tools to connect 1:1 with employees. Think about addressing the employee by name to convey a unique, personal feel with division-based or business unit specific messages. 

5. Share some holiday humor

Holiday messaging is your opportunity to showcase the fun, lighthearted side of leadership. How about a zany photo that captures the team’s favorite hobby or activity. Think of an executive with a tennis racket in hand, another with baking supplies, or wires and tech gadgets. Why not create a video of your executive team reciting a clever rhyme? They can recount the company’s 2019 wins and share gratitude for employees’ collective work to make them happen.

6. Say it with a special treat

Think about a small gift to accompany your holiday email message. I worked for a Fortune 500 company that gave out pies for Thanksgiving. HR would hand out tickets to each employee to claim their pies. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, employees would receive a thank-you message from the area leader, letting them know the time of day to pick up their baked goods. Deskless employees could travel to the closest office to pick up their pie or donate their pie to an area food pantry or homeless shelter. A follow-up email was sent out to employees reporting back how many pies were donated with a feel-good photo.

7. Spread joy evenly

Make sure your holiday message is targeting all employees. If your company is global, this is a great time to think about holiday messages to your workforce in other countries. When I worked for a global company, we made sure to send Diwali (a secular Indian holiday which is celebrated in the late fall) to employees in India and Lunar New Year (Jan. 25, 2020) messages to employees in AsiaPac. We also made sure that we scheduled messages appropriately, knowing that the workforce takes time before the Lunar New Year. 

8. Connect with the community

This is a great time to share how your company helps the community. Think about a holiday giving or volunteer program and integrating a holiday thank-you to employees for representing the company with community volunteer work in 2019. Many large companies have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs with strategic giving priorities. Make sure your holiday giving project aligns with your CSR focus to make the most impact. 

9. Wrap it up with your mission, vision, and values

A leadership holiday message of gratitude is amplified when you weave in your company’s mission, vision, or values. Maybe it’s teamwork, excellence, or integrity. Thanking employees, by citing specific examples of these values in action, can enrich your message. Often mission statements describe how the company delivers value to its customers. A holiday message is perfectly suited to affirm that employees make an organization’s mission possible. 

10. Curate a merry montage

Vividly recap the work of 2019 with photos and short video snips of employees working, volunteering, and celebrating the past year’s successes. Solicit submissions across the organization and build a 2-minute montage that represents your entire workforce. Have members of your company’s leadership create voice-over messages of thanks and holiday well wishes to employees. 

Whether you are incorporating one or a handful of these ideas this holiday season, taking every opportunity to thank your staff for their hard work helps foster employee engagement and is just the right thing to do.

I'm a strategic business partner who is passionate about supporting clients' internal communications programs in order to personalize the employee experience and give life to a brand's message through storytelling.

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