How to Boost Employee Retention during the Busy Holiday Season

Employee retention sticky note underlined as important.

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Did you know? The end of the year is when most people start to seriously think about switching jobs, with January being the most popular month for career changes. 

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help increase the chances of your employees sticking with you and to foster a growth mindset in the new year.

For example, a positive and collaborative work culture is essential for increasing productivity and improving staff retention.

Below, we’re going to highlight 6 ways to boost employee retention and start strong in the New Year.

6 Ways to boost employee retention through the busy holiday season

Here are six strategies you can use at the end of the year (or throughout the year) to boost employee retention and avoid burnout during the busy holiday season:

1. Encourage employee-led initiatives

Satisfaction survey with smiley box checked

Employee retention starts with strong communication and engagement.

According to a Gallup Report, 64% of employees are disengaged in the workplace, which has negative effects on employee performance and contributes to low workplace morale. 

That’s why it is vital to encourage employees to engage and participate in discussions. This can mean anything from gathering opinions on business operations to deciding on the travel destination for the year-end company trip. 

If an employee feels like their feedback and input are being taken into account, they’ll be much more engaged and invested in the business.

Use a survey to gather feedback

Sometimes, it is easier for employees to outline how they feel in an anonymous survey rather than face-to-face. 

At the end of the year, send out a survey to your team and get their honest feedback on business operations. Ask them about their thoughts on their workload and work efficiency and what could be done to improve things.

If a team member has a great idea on how to do things better, don’t let your pride get in the way. Take the feedback to heart and use it to make improvements that will benefit both the team and the business.

2. Provide professional training and growth opportunities

Smiling female employees at training

The ideal company is a place with opportunities, where employees can learn and grow.

Your employees should be clearly aware of their career opportunities and experience personal growth throughout the year. 

Employees can feel unfulfilled and unmotivated when their jobs become repetitive or redundant or when they feel like they’re not getting anywhere.

Think about it. Would you want to continue working in a role where you felt like you’d never level-up?

No, you wouldn’t. None of us would.

So, review your employee’s workload, tasks, and priorities every year and think of ways to help them level up.

Not sure where to start? Use surveys (suggested in the previous section) to find out what they’re most interested in.

For example, improve employee training in-house with cross-training exercises, or sign them up for a remote course that will add to their professional skills. 

Give team members new challenges and a goal to work towards, and incentivize them with rewards to foster a sense of purpose. They’ll be more likely to stick around if they know you’re willing to invest in their growth.

3. Prioritize self-care and work-life balance

Work and life in perfect balance on a scale

When employees feel stressed or overwhelmed, they’re likely to stop showing up for work. Stress can affect physical health and productivity, too.

Encouraging a solid work-life balance and prioritizing self-care can help employees feel more in control of their life and improve their well-being.

You can empower employees to make time for self-care during the holiday season by offering the following:

  • Financial incentives to help save money on hobby workshops or one-day retreats.  
  • Gym memberships to encourage exercising and leading healthier lifestyles.
  • Holiday gifts like a self-care kit or ergonomic chair for remote employees.
  • Earned Wage Access to improve employees’ financial well-being and sense of control.

By fostering a culture that shows concern and support for your employee beyond their work, you will be able to create loyal employees who are happy and engaged when they are at work.

4. Be flexible and put people first

Employees spending time with family during the holidays

The end of the year is a time of holidays and family gatherings. Giving employees the freedom to manage their hours or the option of remote work can help boost retention. 

Employees who prefer working from home can save the trip and complete their work while staying close to their family members.

However, you may be in an industry where this isn’t feasible – frontline work in restaurants, grocery stores, and retail establishments can get very busy around the holidays, for example. With these roles, remote work just isn’t an option.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible.

Shift swaps are a great way to give employees more control over their schedules while ensuring that you still have enough shift coverage.

(Tip: If you’re looking for an easier way to manage employee time off requests, shift swaps, and work schedules, consider giving TimeForge a try. It simplifies all of these things.)

Another idea is to incentivize and reward people who work during peak holiday times.

Offer them enhanced pay or extra time off during non-peak times. This will reinforce the idea that you appreciate their sacrifice and hard work during periods that are important to the business.

5. Recognize and celebrate achievements

Employee recognition ideas on a chalkboard to help boost employee retention

Recognition can go an incredibly long way toward boosting employee retention. Acknowledging and thanking your team for the year can make them feel valued.  

Whether you host an award night, casual party, or corporate annual dinner event, show your thanks for your employees’ hard work, dedication, and contribution. 

Focus on the good and show your appreciation through gestures like giving everyone a fun new year gift or bonus. 

More importantly, validate and celebrate achievements throughout the year by offering great gifts and incentives to your top employees.

Ways to celebrate and show appreciation

This doesn’t just mean celebrating achievements, but also celebrating holidays together to boost employee morale and encourage them to feel more comfortable in the workplace.

Corporate holiday gifts are one way to let employees know that you appreciate their work and also want them to take the holidays off to enjoy themselves and relax. It’s also a great way to build a healthy environment that focuses on rest and mental health as well. 

But you know what else works wonders? A hand-written thank you note or team call dedicated to thanking team members individually by name.

Besides having a massive impact on their loyalty to the company, honoring your best employees can set an example that will motivate the rest and build a high-performing team.

Praising your hard-working employees can also give them good recommendations to put on their resume so that if the time comes and they do move on to a new job, they’ll have wonderful things to say about their time with your company. They may even send qualified job candidates your way!

6. Have fun with team-building activities

Employees creating a column with their fists in a game

Strengthening social bonds between team members is another crucial factor in boosting employee retention. So as the end of the year approaches, remember to have fun with your team!

People who feel connected to their work, teammates, and organizations don’t just show up at work but are engaged and committed to doing their best work.

So plan some social and team-building activities where your employees can disengage from work to relax, laugh, and connect.

A few quick ideas for social activities during the year-end are: 

  • Competitive puzzles and challenges like a scavenger hunt or escape room can build collaboration and communication among team members. 
  • Icebreaker quizzes or trivia, like two truths and one lie, can get your team members to mingle and share more about their personal life. 
  • Volunteer work or charity fundraising events are an excellent way for employees to bond, get involved in something meaningful, and give back to their communities. (Tip: Provide employees with VTO to do this!)


Supporting your employees is a vital part of a successful company. It shows your commitment to your team and helps build trust with your staff. 

By applying one or several of these strategies, you can boost employee retention and ensure that your workforce is ready to take on challenges in the new year. 


Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She is passionate about sharing stories with the hope to make a difference in people’s lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.  

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