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TIP TUESDAY: Keep Employees’ Spirits Bright During the Holidays

by Susan Healthfield at The Balance online

Want to keep productivity and employee spirits positive during the holidays? You can start by not causing stress. As an employer, you control many of the variables that create holiday season stress for people.

Almost everyone wants to make extra money for the holidays, but excessive overtime hours and working on paid holidays lowers employee morale. Losing weekends needed to prepare for the holidays causes even more negative feelings.

Short deadlines for important projects and pressure to reach end-of-year-goals can add additional stress to the holidays. Even simple, fun events, such as purchasing a Secret Santa present or baking for a cookie exchange, can add to holiday stress; they create just one more thing to do.

The following tips from the Society for Human Resource Management tell you what employers are doing to limit employee holiday stress.

SHRM staff asked human resource professionals, “Does your company engage in any of the following practices to help alleviate holiday-related stress among your employees?” These are the actions most frequently cited:

  • 32 percent encourage casual dress for holiday parties.
  • 30 percent provide holiday food.
  • 23 percent give the quarterly or annual bonus early for holiday shopping.
  • 20 percent provide floating days for holidays worked.
  • 14 percent offer reduced hours so employees can run errands.
  • 13 percent allow time for volunteer opportunities during work hours.
  • 8 percent provide extra shifts for people to earn holiday money.
  • 1 percent cover child care for employee errands.
  • 15 percent of employers provide other employee perks and opportunities.
  • 51 percent schedule holiday events during normal business hours.
  • 39 percent remind employees of their Employee Assistance Program.
  • 33 percent show appreciation for employees who work during a holiday.

Want more ideas? Try these, too.

  • Give every employee a gift from the company. One company gave an impressive pen with the company logo. Holiday dinner food is a great idea if the store is convenient to all.
  • Offer flexible schedules so people can take time when they need it for their holiday preparations and celebrations.
  • Provide bonuses for attendance, or other gifts you might offer in the normal course of events, in spendable formats such as grocery store gift cards, gift certificates or phone cards.
  • Consider allowing employees to telecommute on some days during the holidays to save the time spent on getting to and from work. This is time that then becomes available for employees to pursue their holiday season activities and events.

Ways to help employees control, manage and eliminate holiday stress are endless – and endlessly appreciated.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: The History of Modern Thanksgiving

On November 26, 1941, President Franklin D. Rooseveltfdr signed a bill officially establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

The tradition of celebrating the holiday on Thursday dates back to the early history of the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies, when post-harvest holidays were celebrated on the weekday regularly set aside as “Lecture Day,” a midweek church meeting where topical sermons were presented. A famous Thanksgiving observance occurred in the autumn of 1621, when Plymouth governor William Bradford invited local Indians to join the Pilgrims in a three-day festival held in gratitude for the bounty of the season.

Thanksgiving became an annual custom throughout New England in the 17th century, and in 1777 the Continental Congress declared the first national American Thanksgiving following the Patriot victory at Saratoga. In 1789, President George Washington became the first president to proclaim a Thanksgiving holiday, when, at the request of Congress, he proclaimed November 26, a Tuesday, as a day of national thanksgiving for the U.S. Constitution.

However, it was not until 1863, when President tdayAbraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to fall on the last Thursday of November, that the modern holiday was celebrated nationally.

With a few deviations, Lincoln’s precedent was followed annually by every subsequent president–until 1939. In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt departed from tradition by declaring November 23, the next to last Thursday that year, as Thanksgiving Day. Considerable controversy surrounded this deviation, and some Americans refused to honor Roosevelt’s declaration. For the next two years, Roosevelt repeated the unpopular proclamation, but on November 26, 1941, he admitted his mistake and signed a bill into law officially making the fourth Thursday in November the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day.

TIP TUESDAY: ‘Tis the Season NOT to Give These Gifts!

bad-giftThe holidays are quickly approaching. Are you prepared? If so, did you remember to include your supervisor and other coworkers when purchasing gifts? In a recent survey from staffing firm Accountemps, the majority of HR managers said it is acceptable for employees and managers to exchange presents in the office.

So how much money should you be spending? According to the survey, HR managers said employees should spend an average of $20 on their boss and $24 as a suitable amount for supervisors to spend on staff.

The survey also revealed what not to do. Managers reported the most inappropriate gifts they’ve seen, including:

A department head who gave employees a picture in a frame of himself.
An employee gave a regifted gift that the manager had given the year before.
A big order of frozen pork.
A lavish gift—something that was very valuable because of favoritism.
A mug with a satirical phrase on it, used to make fun of someone.
A wig.
A $700 gift card.
Liquor.
A dozen roses.
Cash was given discriminately in different amounts to different employees.

Were you the recipient of a horrible office gift? Share it by commenting on this post, or e-mail us at info@thehiresolution.net and we’ll post it and others’ comments in our blog this season.

If you’d like credit for your gift story, include your Facebook or Twitter handle and we’ll mention you in the article and on social media.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Making Standard Time Standard

central-time-zone-1883At noon on November 18, 1883, the railroad industry changed how the world keeps time. Standard Time went into effect throughout the U.S. when the daily telegraph signals sent from  the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. first conformed to the new system of dividing the continent into four time zoned. The main sponsor of the controversial system was the American Railway Association, in order to deal with the scheduling chaos of long-distance trains going through local communities that kept their own time, independent of other towns and cities, all of which set their local clocks based on sunsets and sunrises. Every city in the U.S. used a different time standard so there were more than 300 local rr-clock“sun times” being used. Railroad managers tried to address the problem by establishing 100 railroad time zones, but this was only a partial solution to the problem. To further add to the confusion, railroad timetables were printed with these idiosyncratic local times.

In October of 1884, representatives from 27 nations met at the International Meridian Conference at Washington D.C. adopted a proposal that the prime meridian for longitude and timekeeping should be one that passes through the center of Greenwich Observatory in the United Kingdom. The adoption of the proposal established Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as the world’s standard time. The international 24-hour time-zone system grew from this, in which all zones referred back to GMT on the prime meridian.

WEDNESDAY WORKFACT: Top Ten Worldwide

b-apple-logoThe importance of a brand’s reputation can’t be stressed enough. The Reputation Institute has released its annual list of the world’s most reputable companies.
rolexRolex made the leap to the top spb-bmwot after hanging around in the top five for the past few years. Notably, in the wake of its emissions scandal, Volkswagen fell from No. 14 in 2015 to No. 123 this year. Inb-google a statement, Reputation Institute’s executive partner, Kasper Ulf Nielsen, said that in order to succeed in a global marketplace, “companies need to deliver on all seven dimensions of reputation.”
b-lego“The top three companies all demonstrated strong or excellent scores in each dimension, which means that consumers are more b-disneylikely to buy and recommend their products and services,” Nielsen said. The study was based on interviews with more than 61,000 consumers.

The top 10 most reputable companies in the world are:

1. Rolex
2. The Walt Disney Company
3. Google
4. BMW Group
5. Daimler
6. LEGO Group
7. Microsoft
8. Canon
9. Sony
10. Apple