Celebrating the Holiday Season and Other Festivals on Your Intranet

By Simpplr Marketing
A social intranet is an excellent place to reflect and acknowledge the festivals and holidays that are celebrated by your diverse workforce.

At this time of year there will be many employees who are celebrating Hanukkah or getting in the mood for Christmas or Kwanzaa. Throughout the year there are many other major festivals for different religions and nationalities including Eid, Diwali and Chinese New Year.  

This provides a fantastic opportunity to champion the diversity of your workforce and get everybody in the holiday and festival spirit. Here are six tips on how to use your social intranet to celebrate the season.

1. Give your intranet a seasonal design

Giving your intranet a temporary redesign which reflects and references the festival being celebrated is a fun and light-hearted way to get your intranet into the holiday spirit. It’s a little like putting up festive decorations. The holiday design can be as subtle or extensive as you want, depending on your intranet capability, company culture and available effort.

Redesign ideas include changing a background color, loading up a new header image or adding a widget to your homepage which counts down to the holiday. We’ve even seen intranets and websites that have introduced animated snow on the background!

Sometimes a more restrained and subtle change can be just as effective. For example, consider Google’s doodles which change the Google logo to reference different events. You could change your company logo in your intranet banner in a similar way, such as including a light coating of snow.

2. Publish a holiday closure list

Publishing a list of holidays and festivals around the world and which work locations will be closed as a result is not really a way to celebrate the season, but it is extremely useful! In global organizations it helps employees plan their interactions with coworkers across timezones, as well as with customers. It also acknowledges diversity in your company.

There are different ways to communicate this. If you use an events calendar with key dates, holiday closures can be incorporated into this. You could have a separate page with a full list of holiday dates, with a widget on the homepage showing upcoming dates for the next month. If you have pages dedicated to different workplace locations, these could also include the relevant dates.

3. Share a message from the CEO

A nice touch is to publish a holiday message from your CEO. This is a good time for leaders to thank employees for their contributions and to consider your organization’s wider role in the community.

It’s critical that any message from senior management feels authentic and personal. Any post which feels hollow or like a box-ticking exercise will backfire. Using a video format or an informal blog is a good way to ensure that the festive message is perceived in the right way.

4. Publish a fun video (or two!)

A fun and different way to celebrate a holiday is to make a light-hearted video. From flash mob dancing, to your CEO serving breakfast in the staff restaurant, a video can convey a spirit of celebration and show that work is not just about working!

A video might not be appropriate for all companies, cultures and occasions, so sensitivity, early planning and getting buy-in will be key for success.

5. Enable holiday messages between employees

A nice touch on a social intranet is to encourage employees to send holiday greetings to each other, particularly when they are visible for everybody to read. This simple mechanism has the power to strengthen connections and drive a sense of community throughout your organization.

There are multiple ways to do this, including using a forum discussion group or blog template which everyone can contribute to. There may also be additional tools that you can use, such as the ability to send e-cards to each other.

6. Run a holiday-themed competition

A festive competition is a tremendous way to have some holiday fun on your intranet! It’s also a good way to get employees to contribute as part of your wider program to drive adoption of your social intranet.

Here are a few competition ideas:

  • A photo contest to see which workplace has put up the best festive decorations
  • A scavenger hunt to find answers to festive questions that are scattered throughout your intranet
  • An online ‘suggestions box’ on how the company can best celebrate the spirit of the holiday
  • Support for a wider festive contest, such as publishing photos of the finalists in a holiday-themed cake-baking competition

Don’t forget the bigger picture!

Celebrating the holiday season on your intranet has lots of positives, including driving employee engagement, encouraging intranet adoption and celebrating diversity.

It’s also important to remember that many festive holidays have a wider, more important underlying message that stresses the significance of community and other key values. In using your social intranet, make sure the spirit of that wider message is also alive and very clear. From all of us at Simpplr, happy holidays!

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