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Be "Jollay"! [Communication Tips for the Holidays]

Category: Communication, Employee Engagement, GCS Culture
Posted by: Laura Jollay on December 8, 2011

As far back as my 25 year-old memory can take me, I have heard “Jollay/jolly” Christmas jokes routinely around the holidays. As a kid, I thought it was cruel to be the brunt of some 8 year-old’s corny and somewhat unoriginal joke but now, it gives me a chuckle when I hear it and brings a smile to my face. Why? Because it’s a sign that Christmas is near!

Our contact centers got on the holiday bandwagon right on time this year. Reading their stories of Christmas dinners and seeing photos of twinkling trees and smiley snowmen are a delight each and every year. As I publish these stories, without fail, I always wonder if anyone is ever offended or felt left out. We live in a country where it is common practice to accept all beliefs and cultures, a melting pot of tradition and worldviews. Do you ever wonder if anyone feels left out?

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Organizational communication is only most effective when it can touch every person in the organization for the betterment of the company, to generate new ideas and create a sense of culture.

At GCS, our sites are so wonderful at communicating and planning holiday events specific for their teams. Our own site in Odessa is planning on having a Mexican buffet for their Christmas lunch because these proud Texans like to keep it spicy and native to their Hispanic culture. How wonderful is that?

Every organization is different. Some are more tolerant about new ideas than others but no matter the policy or idea, the holidays are no time to be divisive. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way when communicating with others around the holiday season:

  • Never assume. You might think that everyone reading or contributing to your newsletter celebrates Christmas or another major holiday but the odds are, they probably do not. Keep this in mind when communicating ideas or coming up with a central theme for a company publication of any kind.
  • Don’t get tunnel vision. It’s so easy to take an idea about Christmas and run with it but you have to be careful. Keep the tone of your pieces light and never mention specific religious figures or beliefs in a company publication. Have fun but remember, you are not pushing beliefs on others, you are simply sharing information.
  • Include everyone. If someone is of a different faith/belief and they feel the desire to express themselves like the rest of the associates, do not discourage them. Take their ideas and information and include it the best way you can. It gives them an opportunity to feel welcome and helps others to learn about a new culture.
  • Get creative. Even if there are folks who don’t celebrate or recognize significant holidays, you can still make the season special. Try writing features about great moments from the past year or top performing associates/contact centers that went above and beyond. This way, you are keeping information relevant enough for the audience but still special enough for the December timeline.
  • Solicit ideas. Don’t forget the power of communicating with your teams. Ask site management teams what storiesand articles their folks would be interested in reading this time of year. A lot of our folks here at GCS like to read about health and fitness tips and recipes. It’s a great resource and you know your audience will be satisfied.

No matter what your holiday season brings, be sure you are always bringing your team together. Communicating is the easiest way to do that.

Happy Holidays to all of you- from the “Jollay” girl, herself.

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