The HR Strategist: December 2020
In this issue:
- The Future of Company Holiday Parties
- Ideas: Gifts for your Team
- Keep your Career Growing Amidst COVID-19
10 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays, Remotely
So, your 2020 office holiday celebrations are going to look… a little different this year. But that doesn’t mean they should be any less fun or rewarding! Here are some fun ways to celebrate the holidays with your remote team while working from home:
Buddy the Elf put it best: The best way to spread holiday cheer is singing loud for all to hear! Get your team together and warm up those windpipes to karaoke your favorite holiday tunes. YouTube has a variety of holiday lyric videos available to stream across members’ screens. Want to get even more creative? Stop the carol mid-song, and reward whoever can guess the next line!
Online Secret Santa
Not in the office? Online platforms like Elfster make it easy to do Secret Santa no matter where your team is working. This is a great activity that can include the entire team. And who doesn’t love presents?
Virtual Holiday Party
A holiday party isn’t completely out of the question… thanks Zoom. Keep your scheduled holiday party date and conduct it virtually. Encourage your employees to come dressed up, bring a guest, and even decorate their virtual background to achieve that perfect holiday vibe.
Ugly Sweater Contest
Who says you can’t host one virtually? Tried-and-true, ugly sweater contests are fun for all. As a bonus, offer funny awards.
Holiday Mask Competition
If you don’t do a holiday mask competition, is it really 2020? Invite your employees to craft DIY holiday-themed masks — and even better, send them the supplies ahead of time. Amplify the fun by voting on superlatives like Most Spirited, Worst Mask, and Scariest!
Virtual Cooking Class
It’s likely that many team members who usually spend the holidays with family members won’t be able to this year, and will instead be cooking at home. If that’s the case, a virtual cooking class could be a game changer. Invite your team to pop a bottle of bubbly and tune in virtually as you cook “together”!
Holiday Movie Night
Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas can now happen company-wide! Pick a day (or several) to screen-cast a holiday movie to play during lunch hour or after hours. This is a great activity for employees with children at home, as it creates the opportunity to invite them into a workday.
Are you most likely to be a Grinch this year? End-of-Year superlatives are a great way to round out Q4. Send out a survey accepting nominations for meaningful titles such as Most Resilient, Best Team Player, and Most Encouraging. But don’t forget the fun ones too, like Most Likely to Have a Dog Barking in the Background, Never Not Drinking Coffee, or Most Likely to Be On Mute.
Holiday Tradition or Not?
This fun game is the holiday version of Two Truths & A Lie! First, invite each player to submit three of their holiday traditions — two true ones, and one not. Then, let the other players guess which is which. In addition to being fun, this game is a great way to get to know your team better, as well as building respect for team members’ traditions that are different from your own.
Company-wide Holiday Playlist
Looking to spice up your lunch hour, or need some music for one of your other virtual events? Create a company-wide Spotify playlist and invite everyone to add their favorite holiday tunes!
Getting a Gift for Your Employees: 5 Points to Remember
You want to show your employees your appreciation this Holiday Season. So, keep the below 5 tips in mind when getting them a gift.
9 Ways to Keep Growing in Your Career During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed nearly every aspect of our lives, including work. Millions have been laid off due to the economic downturn, and many companies have had to tighten their budgets in other areas, freezing pay, promotions, and hiring, meaning the competition for new opportunities is fierce — when those opportunities exist at all. No matter your situation, you may feel like your career growth has stalled out.
Don’t fear, here are some tips for professional development during the COVID-19 pandemic and surrounding economic downturn. They can all be done remotely, and they’ll all set you up for success once the job market rebounds and company budgets recover.
Identify How You’d Like to Grow
The first step toward professional development is figuring out what you’re working toward. Take some time to consider where you want to go in your career. What’s your next step once the economy improves? Do you want to move up within your current company? Or is a role at another company a better next step for you? If you’re unemployed, what do you want your next job to be? Is there an aspect of your current or previous roles that you want to focus more prominently on?
Once you’ve clarified your goals, figure out what skills you’ll need to develop or strengthen, what types of experience you need to gain, and what connections will be helpful to cultivate before you make your next move.
Set a Meeting with Your Manager to Discuss Your Career
If you’re worried your career is stalling, set up a meeting with your manager to discuss your future and where they feel you’re going within the company. When you schedule the meeting, be sure to give your manager a heads up that you plan to discuss your career progression. This will give them time to prep as well and allow for a productive discussion. Come prepared to the meeting with what you want to discuss, and during the conversation, be positive, but express what you want clearly.
Communicating what you’re looking for will help your manager keep you in mind for opportunities. This will also help keep you both on the same page about what your goals are and give your manager a chance to provide you with feedback about what hard skills they want to see you develop or soft skills they want to see you embody.
Volunteer for Stretch Assignments
If your manager or senior leadership needs help on a new project related to your career goals, be the first to raise your hand. Managers will remember who wanted to take on more responsibility, which will help you grow within your company. This will also be a chance to develop new skills, practice skills you learned outside of work in a professional setting, or learn about a new part of the business, all of which can make you a better applicant for a new position.
Get Innovative and Pitch New Ideas
If there are no stretch assignments on the horizon, you might try to create your own by thinking about ways to improve your current company. You might propose a new program that will help fill a gap, or share your ideas for streamlining a current process. Identifying problems and proposing solutions is an essential skill that not everyone has — but leaders embody this regularly.
By identifying and solving problems, management will see you as someone ready for more responsibility when the time comes for promotions, or you can tell the story of your achievement in your cover letter for future jobs, especially those with managerial components.
Grow and Maintain Your Network
Having strong connections with the people you work with is a must for career growth. It can help position you for a future promotion or get you in on that new project in another department. Your colleagues might also know people hiring elsewhere or have insight that can aid your professional development.
Attend Virtual Networking Events
If you previously frequented happy hour networking events or professional conferences—or even if you didn’t—go virtual. Most organizations that sponsored networking events have moved to virtual events. Even if the event only features one speaker with no interaction, it can help you grow your skills or understanding of an industry trend.
Find a Mentor
Professional mentors can provide unique insight into your field and give great advice from someone who has previously been in your shoes. Now is a great time to reach out and try to connect. There’s nothing to lose. The person you admire is likely doing most of their work online already, so a virtual coffee will seem natural.
Take Online Courses
There are tons of online courses that you can take on your own time to set yourself up for career future opportunities—and the best part is many of them are free or low cost! Refer back to the list you made earlier of skills you want to grow and where you see your career going to make sure you identify a class that will help you achieve your goals
You can find online classes on websites such as Coursera, Udemy, or LinkedIn Learning that will have what you’re looking for across a number of industries.
Take Control of Your Self-Development
If some of these tips feel a bit overwhelming for you right now (you’re not alone if you’re feeling a bit burned out!) or you feel like you don’t have many other opportunities for growth, books, podcasts, and other media like documentaries or even YouTube video series might be a way to keep learning and developing. If you’re feeling too busy, make a commitment to listen to a podcast that will help with your growth for five minutes a day. These “small investments in yourself” add up.
When you can’t achieve the usual markers of career growth, it’s natural to feel stuck. But even now, you can invest in your own professional development and set yourself up for larger opportunities and new jobs once the economy recovers.