holiday season

While company events shouldn’t be limited to once a year, the holiday season is an excellent time to enhance morale and celebrate success.  High morale has proven to boost employee retention and reduce turnover.

Property managers and landlords need to pay especially close attention to ways to improve company culture and reduce turnover rates. A 2008 industry survey by the National Multifamily Housing Council revealed an employee turnover rate within the apartment property management field of 36.1 percent. In comparison, the retail industry has an average turnover of only around 27 percent, according to the NMHC.

With the stress of leasing season dying down, fall creates a perfect time to prep for holiday celebrations in the rental industry. Here are 10 creative solutions to reward your employees, enhance team connections, and spread the cheer office wide and beyond.

10 Ways to Wow Your Employees This Holiday Season

The easiest and most obvious way to celebrate with your team is to host a party. Bring food, drinks and music into the office. Go bowling with the team. Reserve a party room at a local restaurant.  All are great ways to bring a group together.

The most important part is to feed everyone and leave work conversations back on the desk. This is a time to celebrate, not discuss the numbers. Parties also provide an excellent platform for the boss to make a short toast that acknowledges his appreciation for the team.

Free Food
While on the subject of feeding everyone, you can keep the idea of a party atmosphere on a friendlier budget by bringing in lunch to the office on a weekday for your team. You can keep it simple by ordering pizza for a team lunch or step it up with a taco bar catered by your favorite Mexican restaurant.

There may be few things an employee enjoys more than getting an unexpected cash bonus around the holidays. If handing out large amount of cash is unrealistic, you can get creative with how the cash is delivered to your employees – check out these great ideas for giving cash on BuzzFeed. These fun presentation ideas make it easy to stick to small bills while still being valued and appreciated.

Make a game out of the holidays. Each holiday from Halloween to New Year’s lends itself to workspace decorations in which the best decorator would score a cool prize.

Other holiday themed contest could include: A Halloween costume contest. An ugly sweater costume contest. Raising money for charity, and giving a prize to highest earner. An apple pie contest. A pumpkin carving contest.

Whether small or large, a wrapped present can put everyone in the holiday spirit. Great employee gifts can include local wine, tech gadgets (Tablet, FitBit, Roku) fancy water bottles or coffee mugs, candles, or gift certificates.


Family Day
Time is precious for all your employees. One great way to reward your team is to give them a day off to spend with their families. Anyone with school aged children will love having a bonus day off to spend with their kids during winter break. And I am sure you won’t hear any complaints from the employees without kids for getting a day off too.

Extra Vacation
If letting the whole office take a day off at the same time is unreasonable, what about the gift of an extra vacation day for them to use anytime during the next year?

You could simply add it to their vacation time or make it a little more fun and give each person a card with something like: “Get out Jail Free Card – a no questions asked day off because you rock!

Give your team a real day off with the gift of extra vacation days this holiday season.

Give your team a real day off with the gift of extra vacation days this holiday season.

Host A Charity Event
The holiday season is a time for celebrating but also a time to spread the seasonal cheer to those less fortunate. Creating a holiday charity event can build a sense of community and give your employees an easy and fun way to give back.

Team Vacation
Take your team on a weekend retreat. A cabin in the woods, beach house, or ranch can create a good environment for company bonding. Open the invitation to your team members’ families to improve the chances that everyone will attend.

When budgeting the trip, plan to accommodate each person/couple in their own room. It is unrealistic to expect professionals to share a room (and absolutely no bed-sharing for non-couples).

Shopping Trip
Allow the team to take the day off and take them shopping.  Coordinate transportation, whether you carpool or arrange for a chartered van. Let people go off on their own and then meet back up for a group lunch. Employees can use the time to purchase holiday gifts or items for their own holiday hosting duties. This idea works wonderfully for companies that live half-hour or more away from a major shopping center or mall. Bonus points if you surprise your team with a little cash to spend on the shopping trip.

Keys to a successful employee celebration

Start planning early: Reservations fill up fast during the holidays. Start planning and booking your event 2-3 months ahead of the date. This timeline allows you create a realistic budget and makes it more likely that you will stick to it.

Don’t make it mandatory: If the event takes place outside of work hours, allow your team to spend that precious free time with their families if that is the only time they have. A mandatory work event doesn’t scream fun for anyone.

If an event is during work hours, offer your team the option to continue working or join the celebration. Employees shouldn’t just take the time off to do something on their own.

Don’t exclude people: Schedule events at a time that will work for everyone, not during work hours for people that have to be at their desk to answer phones or greet clients.

Turnover rate is directly linked to employee morale. Companies should show appreciation for hard work and loyalty beyond simply offering a paycheck. Even small businesses with thin profit margins can get creative in their morale boosting activities.

Hosting and planning events for employees that reward, celebrate and appreciate success when goals are met or just letting them blow off steam and have fun can go a long way toward building a company culture.  And the holiday season is a perfect time to start!

How does your workplace celebrate the holidays? Let us know in the comments!