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How to Empower Employees Around the Holidays — And Why You Should

When the holiday season hits, businesses and workplaces can sometimes get especially busy. Even worse, with all the craziness of the season they can fall into a holiday slump. But even if the holidays have thrown people off, you can still empower employees to be balanced and productive. And, in the long run, it’s better for everyone if you do.

So how do you maintain your business’s health and employee consistency? You empower everyone in your workplace to make the schedule changes and project decisions required to reach their end-of-year goals. This empowerment can be a tremendous motivating factor. It also makes everyone feel more fulfilled, helping your workplace genuinely thrive.

Here are a few ways you can make empowerment happen, and a few reasons why you should.

More Freedom

One of the best ways to encourage your employees to be productive and get things done is to offer more freedom with their schedules and hours. Though this may seem like it will let employees slack, it can actually empower them to get more done and fit work in where they can. Additionally, allowing more leeway around remote working can have the same effect.

Self-Determining Performance Goals

Another great way to empower employees to achieve more around the holiday season is by allowing them to set their own performance goals so they can manage their expectations according to their capabilities.

This autonomy allows more leadership opportunities in your workplace, as employees can encourage each other and self-motivate. This way, people can move at their own pace and perhaps achieve even more than you may have anticipated.

Team Meetings and Connection

Some of the best devices to motivate people and empower them as a team offer connection. Meetings, mixers, and team-related activities can bring people together and remind them of the communal spirit your workplace fosters. It doesn’t even have to be all business — some fun perks can go a long way, as satisfied employees tend to work the best.

Regardless of what you put together, remind people they’re a part of a team, and focus on your collective goals — not just individual objectives. In addition to establishing a focus on purpose, this approach enables a motivated workforce.


Another excellent reason for why and how to allow some leeway and freedom during the holidays is enabling your employees to recharge and find some balance between their work and personal lives. You may wonder how encouraging employees to take time for themselves results in better outcomes.

The answer is quite simple. When employees have time to recharge, they produce higher-quality work, and they do it more efficiently. They can re-energize themselves, which means they come back with a better work ethic than someone who feels burnt out.


Another reason to empower employees is that it helps maintain consistency — both within their work schedules and for your workplace as a whole. While some workplaces get into a holiday slump and then have to ramp up again in the new year, you can remain consistent. This means no slump over the holidays. And, just as critical, there’s no need for a correcting crackdown in January.

Your End-of-Year Bottom Line?

Encourage your employees to find balance and take control of their goals and workplace performance. You’ll see better results during the holidays – and beyond. And by doing so, you’ll create a healthy, consistent work environment full of individuals motivated to get the job done.


DPR Construction Builds Culture That Works For Millennials

The founders of DPR Construction must have had a crystal ball when they launched their firm 24 years ago.

The small cadre of engineers that formed DPR embraced a flat culture over a hierarchical one, and that has proven to be a winner with young employees today.

Peter Salvati, a member of DPR’s management committee, says the general contracting firm abides by the principle of “what’s right, not who’s right” — that is, listening closely to all employees, regardless of position. “The person with the right answer may be who you least expect,” Salvati says.

Peter Salvati

Peter Salvati

“The Millennial generation fits in with ‘what’s right vs. who’s right.’”

Indeed, they do. Earlier this year, our research ranked Redwood City, California-based DPR as a Great Workplace for Millennials. This honor came on top of the company earning the 10th spot on the Best Companies to Work For 2014 list we produce with FORTUNE. DPR also is a winner in the general contracting world, where it boasts clients including Facebook, Pixar and Genentech.

Not only does the company snag high-profile projects, it connects its construction jobs to bigger purposes. When the company reached a milestone on a project to expand a biotech manufacturing facility, for example, it invited a cancer patient who would benefit from the drugs to be manufactured at the plant to speak to workers. This framing of work in terms of ultimate goals taps into Millennials’ desire for a sense of meaning on the job.

Says one Millennial: “DPR continues to empower employees and remain true to the core values and mission that it ‘Exist to Build Great Things,’ and you really feel like you are making a difference alongside some amazing people.”

Alongside—rather than under—is right. DPR is so egalitarian that it has no CEO. Instead, there is a shared leadership structure with a management committee of seven people. The company also is employee-owned, with all staffers getting phantom stock units that vest upon five years of tenure. And it is willing to give young people a great deal of responsibility, Salvati says.

On the other hand, he says, the firm expects junior staffers to be humble and savvy enough to seek assistance if necessary on stretch assignments. “You’ve got to be smart enough to realize you may need help,” he says.

Salvati can see himself in today’s ambitious young professionals. He was one of DPR’s earliest employees, and was given the responsibility of opening an office for the company in San Diego at the relatively tender age of 34. These days, the San Diego office is one of DPR’s strongest performing locations.

Salvati’s story highlights the original DPR vision, which works so well with young people today: hire quality people and trust them to take off. Says Salvati: “Really good people want to do really good things.”

About the Author: Ed Frauenheim is editor at workplace research site Great Rated!™, where he produces content and reviews companies.

photo credit: Trevor King 66 via photopin cc