Your guide to Christmas comms

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Your guide to Christmas comms

The John Lewis advert is out, so it must be official – Christmas plans can now begin in earnest.

I’m not here to debate whether Buster the Boxer is a canine cutie, or whether I love Mrs Claus, but to offer you a guide to Christmas comms.

Christmas comms guideMy twin sons were born on Christmas Day 2014, so this time of year has additional meaning in our household as we celebrate their birthdays.

If you’re looking for ways to mark Christmas and plan effectively in your organisation, grab a mince pie and let’s get cracking.

I’ve also got some free resources to share with you.

How are your work plans going so far? People inevitably look to internal communicators to pave the way through the festive season.

As internal comms pros work to position themselves as strategic and trusted business advisers, I know how much frustration there can be when your company expects you to suddenly be a seasoned events producer on top of your day job and you end up working tactically.

Anyone else experience the perception you have a magical cupboard bulging with Santa suits, Christmas decorations, advent calendars and the like?

Yep, thought so.

This year the ace Helen Reynolds @helreynolds kindly produced a cartoon she said was inspired by reading my comms cupboard mentions, which I now use in my Masterclasses:

commscupboard

Further reading: Learn about comms cupboards and much more via the All Things IC glossary.

Deck the halls
If you’ve worked with me, you’ll know that I love all things Christmassy and am often the instigator in decorating the comms area in offices and finding any excuse for mince pies in meetings.

I can see the value in giving employees a break from the norm, and a reason to do something different in a bid to make the working environment that bit brighter.

So what’s the answer when it comes to Christmas cheer?

Involving people is key and choosing appropriate ways of celebrating for your company.

Cancelling Christmas?

poolresourcesIn recent years it’s been a challenge for comms pros to keep morale up when budgets are being slashed.

You may be in the middle of or working through a change project and the timing to ‘have some fun’ may be awful.

Being seen to spend money on Christmas celebrations when people have lost or are losing their jobs for example, is just one challenge the festive season can bring.

I’ve worked in more than one organisation that had to cancel the Christmas festivities after inviting everyone. The impact on employee morale? I’m sure you can imagine…

However you don’t need to spend lots of money to create ways for employees to celebrate and mark the occasion. Honestly.

Based on my experience working in-house for more than a decade, I thought I’d share some top tips about Christmas comms.

Feel free to add your own by commenting below or Tweeting me @AllthingsIC.


Your guide to Christmas comms (Tweet this)

  • takepartPlan, plan, plan – identify what it is you want to achieve, and determine your approach, channels, timeline and budget
  • If you don’t know already, talk with employees to see what expectations are, particularly if you’re new in role
  • Work alongside other departments to pool resources and ideas e.g. Facilities and HR
  • No/low budget? Look at what was done last year to see if you can use previous content to get you started
  • If you’re expected to organise something for the whole company, can every department contribute financially?
  • Use existing methods of communication rather than buy something new e.g. turn the menu Christmassy if you have one or create festive backgrounds for your intranet or digital signage
  • Encourage employee participation e.g through competitions, creating videos, speed-networking events etc
  • Make decisions that are applicable and acceptable locally as well as globally – be mindful of culture and customs in your organisation
  • reviewDon’t create a ‘them and us’ Head Office vs other offices/location scenario
  • If you have a network of comms champions, now is the time to really use their eyes and ears (and hands!) to deliver Christmas cheer
  • Remember those who can’t take part. E.g. if you run a 24/7 operation and host Christmas parties or events, be sure to find ways to include and thank those employees who will be working
  • Post-Christmas ensure you review what you did and capture any feedback or thoughts to help you prepare for the following year’s festivities
  • Be creative, have fun and enjoy!

Got something to add to the list? Do let me know.

nativity1What is your organisation doing to mark the holiday season?

If you have a story or top tips to share, you’re welcome to comment below or get in touch.

Further reading: Segways and selfies – an alternative Christmas tale

Christmas freebies

As promised, here are some free resources to help you create Christmas content.

  • The images on this page were all designed using Canva. I have a paid-for business account, but the free version is just as good if you’re looking for icons, fonts, layouts and ideas. It also has an extensive library of images. Many are free or available for a nominal sum ($1).
  • If you want to create infographics, see Piktochart for free templates
  • Looking for a graphic design tool for photos? Check out Picmonkey

You can find many more freebies via my Free Stuff page.

Countdown to Christmas

Countdown to ChristmasFrom 1 December 2016 I’ll be featuring a guest post a day during Advent as part of the All Things IC Countdown to Christmas.

This is the fourth year I’ve published the series to give you a chance to read articles you may have missed throughout the year.

Professional communicators have covered topics including using Facebook at Work (Workplace), comms skills gaps, strategic internal comms, how to communicate company purpose and much more.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed guest articles this year, I’ll be publishing a post a day from 1 to 25 December 2016.

Good luck with your planning.

Thank you for stopping by,

Rachel

Post author: Rachel Miller

Published on the All Things IC blog 15 November 2016.

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