How to manage your employees through the holiday season

Managing employees in any industry is a major challenge. However, managing workers in the finance industry – especially workers in entry level finance careers who are getting their first taste of the professional world – is one of the toughest tasks there is. When you're handling your clients' money, you can't afford to take much time off, and that leads to a number of often overworked employees.

However, you always have to keep the well-being and health of your team as the highest priority. During the holidays, you have to do much more than that – you need to go out of your way to show your appreciation for all the hard work they've done over the past year. Here's a few ways to do that while also keeping your firm from being understaffed during the weeks surrounding Christmas and New Year's:

Be receptive to requests for time off – but ask that they come in advance
All employees need to spend time with their family and loved ones during the holiday season – no matter how much your team's projects are bearing down on them. So it's best to ask your employees to set their schedules for the coming month in stone well ahead of time, so you can plan coverage and deadlines accordingly. This will allow you to ensure that the firm is running at top shape, even when you don't have the full workforce at your command. 

Aim to be charitable – literally and figuratively
While it's important to settle time off requests as far ahead of time as possible, it's also important that you remain in the holiday spirit during the winter. Even if deadlines are looming, it's more important now than ever to be receptive to your employee's needs and limitations. Unexpected requests for time off – whether they are due to emergencies or something more frivolous – should be considered seriously, and granted whenever possible. Think of it as a gift to your workforce – they'll remember your flexibility, and reward you with their best efforts in the coming months. 

It's also important to be literally charitable throughout the winter months. Successful firms have an obligation to give back to the communities they operate within, so investigate some organizations you can work with that can allow you to do so. You can also publicize the collaboration throughout your office, in the hopes that your employees will also donate to the cause you've selected. 

Throw a party!
There's a lot than you're going to need to do for your employees over the holiday season, and there will surely be some requests you can't fulfill, as well. Yet the one thing you need to do, through it all, is show your employees that you've truly appreciated the work they've done for you over the past month. Whether it's an employee working one of the lowest-pressure accounting jobs at your firm or a top executive, everyone likes to know that they're doing an admirable job. 

A company party allows you to show your appreciation to everyone at your firm at the same time. You can give a speech where you applaud the team's performance, you can distribute bonuses on the same day to give your employees something to celebrate and you could even give "awards" or commendations to the individuals who have produced the best work for your firm over the preceding year. Whatever you do, your employees will appreciate the effort – and they'll kick off the next year knowing that all the work they do is very much appreciated by the management at their firm.