Now is the best time of year to get together as a company and celebrate the season of joy. As an HR professional, you’re likely in charge of the holiday festivities and your most important task is getting employees excited about the events you’ve planned. Not only are these holiday events a chance for employees to mingle and get to know one another, but they’re also a way of saying “Thank you” for all their hard work throughout the year. This makes it important that everyone is in attendance.

Between tight deadlines and long hours, however, it’s not always easy getting everyone to participate in holiday events. That’s why you need to empower everyone to get involved and give them something to look forward to. Use these simple tips to do exactly that.

Poll everyone ahead of time

If attendance at your last holiday party was low, it may be because the event didn’t spark enough interest. Rather than assuming how people want to celebrate, ask them. After all, people are more inclined to attend events if they have a say in what goes on.

A couple weeks before the holidays, send an office-wide poll with 3 to 5 options for holiday events. Smaller offices can even ask about dates and times to ensure high attendance. To do so, conduct a company-wide survey. Or if you use an office-wide chat tool, you can use that to poll employees as well. Just make sure everyone knows and participates so you can get a clear picture of how your coworkers want to celebrate this holiday season.

Create a social committee

Social committees are responsible for organizing and coordinating office social events. Social committees encourage collaboration and help to create a sense of togetherness amongst co-workers. According to a study conducted by Gallup, a leading contributor to employee well-being is relationships with fellow co-workers.

To improve employee well-being and empower employees to create a holiday event they want to attend, put together a social committee. Recruit a few engaged and outgoing employees and use weekly meetings to plan your holiday events. Their enthusiasm can help get everyone on board for a fun-filled holiday season.

Put in the effort

Instead of sending another generic holiday evite that will get dragged to the trash, design marketing materials like you would for any other event. If you don’t have any design experience, use free templates. All you have to do is edit the text to include your details, then print it in the office, and distribute it across the office.

Repurpose the flyers to act as an invite and leave them on employees’ desks before everyone gets into the office. Don’t forget to hang them in visible places around the office, as well, like the kitchen, bathrooms, and outside meeting rooms. Making this experience a little different can engage employees in a way that gets them excited about what’s coming up.

Make it a friendly competition

Everyone likes a little friendly competition every now and then. Plus, as Doug and Polly White, business experts, speakers, and consultants, suggest: “Competition motivates people to achieve more, to push past their limits. Competition also inspires innovation and improves quality.”

Get employees excited about the holidays and drive innovation company-wide by organizing holiday competitions rather than a singular company party. For example, you might do a few small holiday events, including:

  • Christmas cookie competition: Who can bake the best cookies?
  • Giving back competition: Which team can raise the most money or collect the most goods to give to a local shelter?
  • Snowflake making competition: Who can make the most unique snowflake using just scissors and a white piece of paper?

Hosting multiple competitions ensures everyone can participate and keeps everyone excited and involved in the weeks leading up to the holiday break.

Focus on giving back

Giving back is good for everyone. The Doing Good is Good for You Study found that 93 percent of people who volunteer report an improved mood, 79 percent report lower stress levelsm and 88 percent report increased self-esteem.

Charitable giving also instills a sense of pride amongst employees and gets everyone excited to participate. To get employees excited about a volunteer event, plan it on a workday—don’t expect them to take the time away from their personal life—and promote the benefits in your invites and emails. Remind employees how great they’ll feel afterwards to get them excited and ready to give back.

Get employees excited about holiday events

The holidays are an important time to bring your office together and celebrate. Use the tips and tricks above to get employees excited about spreading holiday cheer with their coworkers.

Don’t limit your efforts to just the holiday season. Learn how to engage your employees all year round by checking out Achievers’ webinar recording, “Real-Time Recognition and Feedback: The Key to Driving Sustainable Engagement.”