Driving (your internal comms) home for Christmas
12 Creative Christmas comms campaigns to spread some internal festive cheer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: but if you’re seeing productivity slump, sickness on the rise, or mentally checked out staff already looking to the holidays, it’s time to inject some festive feeling into your internal comms.
The holiday season is all around; it’s a time for celebration, reflection, for looking ahead to the promise of a new year.
It can also be one of the trickiest times of the year for employee engagement, with distractions and conflicting priorities stealing our staff focus. For internal communicators, however, it’s a unique opportunity to leverage the festive spirit and put a creative spin on our internal messaging.
Keep motivation up, engage your staff, and ward off the threat of ‘new year, new me’ staff turnover with these fun and imaginative Christmas comms campaigns that are guaranteed to resonate with your employees.
14 steps to great internal communications
#1. 12 months of ‘us’
Do away with the corporate newsletter and put a different spin on your end of year summary. Celebrating company success is a crucial comms must-have at the end of the year; it gives everyone a chance to reflect on what’s been achieved, and the contribution they’ve made to reach those goals.
Taking a spin on the ’12 days of Christmas’, pick out the top highlight from each month of 2019 to celebrate your organizations’ journey over the year.
Breaking your successes down into 12 bite-sized pieces not only makes for a more consumable format; it’s particularly effective at forcing us to really reflect back. It’s surprising how short-term our memories become at the close of the year.
#2. Company Christmas trivia
Everyone loves a good pop quiz, so why not look back on the year with a fun twist?
Going company-wide for titbits from each different office, department, or role will get everyone’s buy-in to participate. Get staff to join teams and make an event out of it; or, if you have a dispersed workforce, why not go for an inclusive approach with an online version?
Questions can be on absolutely anything: significant events, customer wins, funny moments, the name of the finance director’s new baby born in August. It will instill a collective sense of belonging and engagement – and may create a bit of friendly competition too!
#3. Tell a customer story
Retailer John Lewis absolutely nails it with their Christmas adverts, gathering over 6million shares of their campaigns since 2011. Why? Because each advert tells a story that resonates with the audience.
As communicators, we know the power of storytelling. At a time when attention is hard to capture (and hold), it’s a winning approach to build engagement with employees.
A customer story is particularly powerful because it sheds light on the end result: showing each employee what their work contributes to, and the impact that has. For those who are non-customer facing or working behind the scenes, this is hugely important. It also answers that all-important question: why am I doing this? What’s my purpose?
If you can get the customer to tell the story of how your organization has impacted them in their own words, or capture it on video to share internally, even better.
14 steps to great internal communications
#4. A season of goodwill
It’s a time for giving and charitable goodwill. Why not make the most of that mindset with a commitment and campaign around a festive cause?
There are several different options out there, from food bank donations to ‘buy an extra gift’ drives to ensure every child has something to open come Christmas morning.
Or if staff donations aren’t the way you want to go, why not give the gift of time? Refuge and homeless shelters, soup kitchens, community projects, and more are all in need of extra hands this time of year. Offering staff a free day or even a couple of hours to give to a good cause as part of your CSR strategy is an invaluable way to give back.
Capturing and communicating the experience internally is a feel-good way to share the holiday vibe.
#5. Unsung heroes of the year
It’s a perfect time to shout about those who make your organization the success it is: so, shed light on the unsung heroes who may otherwise fall under the radar.
Appeal to your line managers to nominate those staff members who go the extra mile, live your company values, do the behind-the-scenes work no-one normally hears about.
Share their stories on your intranet or internal comms channels; get leadership or even your employees to vote for their top heroes. It gives those individuals valuable recognition and their peers an opportunity to say ‘thank you.’
#6. Give your staff a festive #hashtag (&incentive!)
Employees will often be undertaking their own festivities in the workplace – whether that’s by decorating their desks, taking part in the team Secret Santa, or going along to the department Christmas drinks. Why not ride on the comms they’re already putting out on social media by getting them to add a dedicated festive hashtag?
Adding an incentive – such as the best #tagged holiday photo posted gets a bottle of something – will drive engagement and adoption up.
Follow their efforts and retweet, repost, or share on your company social channels, or pop the best up on your intranet to share company-wide. It’s a quick and easy win to use ready-made content, engage your employees, and unite your organization.
14 steps to great internal communications
#7. Christmas jumper selfies
Everyone loves a good cheesy Christmas sweater. They’re a fashion faux-pas completely unacceptable any other time of the year, but somehow the festive knit is a hit throughout December.
If your organization can commit to a dedicated Christmas Jumper day, why not tie it in with an important message? It could be to raise funds for your chosen charity or perhaps raise awareness about a cause your organization cares about.
A selfie wall – whether physical or virtual! – to showcase the weird and wonderful winners of the day is a great way to get everyone involved, while also ensuring your message is seen and heard.
#8. Make some resolutions – together
Who doesn’t love making (and inevitably breaking) a few New Year’s Resolutions?
The end of the year is always a time for looking forward, planning, setting new goals or objectives, lining up budgets for the year ahead. The danger is, staff may be doing the same: and as the spike in turnover in January shows us, those goals don’t always include your organization.
Help deter the ‘new year, new me’ mass exodus by giving everyone something to look forward to and work towards in the new year. For an inclusive and fun spin, have senior leaders communicate – ideally face-to-face by town hall, video, or in a meeting setting – the organizational ‘resolutions’ or goals for the year ahead. Then, ask your staff to chip in with one resolution apiece that can contribute to achieving those big goals.
It can be as small and simple as, “My resolution is to up my average support tickets resolved by 1 extra a day, which will contribute to the company goal of reaching 98% customer satisfaction rate.” If you publish the organizational goals to your intranet and just ask everyone to comment, it makes for a low pressure yet inclusive approach – while also focusing staff on the coming year.
#9. Give the gift of gratitude
For many organizations, the end of the year signifies bonus time: the big payout as part of structured incentive programs or packages. However, it may be unnecessarily costing you – and actually, given it becomes an expectation rather than a goal, counterintuitive.
82% of employees think it’s better to give someone praise than a gift. Take this opportunity to give your staff the gift of gratitude with personal tokens of thanks and recognition. Ask line managers to write a single sentence about each team member on a Christmas card; or, if you have the resource, consider an interactive version with a clickable present in an email.
If you do physical gifts for staff as standard, couple them with a personal note – it will prove far more effective at boosting morale and engagement.
#10. Collect and share the highlights
Ensure staff leave for the holidays with a positive mindset. Given that we trust the word of our peers more than that of the organization, tapping into your employees for positive feedback is a sure win for this one.
Ask your staff to share their favorite moment or highlight of the year. Keep it light-hearted and fun, encouraging staff to share the funny and informal alongside the business-related bits.
Depending on your channels and resource, you could start this as a thread on your ESN or intranet with a leading title such as, “My favorite highlight from 2019 is….”. Or, you could even get staff contributing in the form of video snippets, just a few seconds long, to edit together against some festive tunes. Then share, share, share. Your employees will leave with a reminder of what makes your organization a great place to work.
#11. Create Christmas Competitions
If attention and productivity are waning, why not inject some fun (and a welcome distraction) into the office with a festive competition?
There are a wealth of weird and wonderful options – an office decorating competition, pin the red nose on Rudolph, guess the missing word from the Christmas lyrics – but if you have some necessary evils to communicate over the festive period (who to contact for IT support when the entire support desk is on leave, for instance) this may be a way to get the message out with a more light-hearted approach.
Consider a virtual treasure hunt, ‘hiding’ the answers within your intranet for staff to find with the help of some crafty questions. Or perhaps an advent calendar of clues (or answers) to incentivize everyone to seek out the information in return for a prize.
#12. If all else fails… bring in the festive treats
If competitions aren’t really in line with your culture or your staff shy away from the idea of a festive knit, you can’t go wrong with holiday food and drink.
Get attendance up for the end of year town hall wrap-up or encourage employees to attend the (otherwise dry) departmental debrief by introducing some festive goodies. If there are important messages to get out or you simply want to ensure everyone hears from the boss before heading off on their holidays, it’s a small – but effective – motivator to get them along.
Don’t forget your remote workers or frontline staff, though. If you’re scheduling a message, organize some treats to arrive or coincide with the live stream. A sweet, festive treat is surprisingly good at reminding staff to log on, and tune in.
Happy holidays make for a solid start to 2020
When the year draws to a close, it’s often the small things that make a big difference.
Internal comms may not be top of your priority list as things begin to wind down, but tapping into the vibe of the season and introducing just a few, simple comms tricks can make a huge difference to staff morale.
Mix up your mediums, messaging, and mood to ensure you’re covering all bases and catering to different staff demographics. Celebrate successes – both big and small – as you reflect back. Get staff buy-in to your 2020 goals by not only making them aware of where your organization is headed but involving them in their creation. Most of all, have a little fun. It’s a chance to embed your culture and drive engagement across your whole business.
With these creative mini-campaigns, you can be sure you’re leaving a positive last impression before your staff clock off and check out: and, hopefully, get them back through the doors come January ready and raring to go.