What you can give back to your staff

December 12, 2020
  • Admissions
  • Admissions and Recruitment
  • Competencies
  • Enrollment Management
  • Professional Well-Being
three shiny golden gifts with golden bows against a silver and gold sparkling background with gold ornaments, ribbons, and silver stars sprinkled around

With the holiday break approaching, 2020 is finally coming to a close. One of the most eventful, exhausting years in higher education is at last over and you hopefully get a well-deserved break. 

The holiday season is characterized by generosity. AACRAO participated in Giving Tuesday on December 1, and encouraged our members to give back to the community, whether in the form of funds or helping a neighbor. Now it's time to give back to staff and colleagues who are weary, burned out, and just about ready to hibernate over the holiday break. Here are a few ideas:

1. Consider extending the holiday break to two weeks. Some institutions are adding on extra days to their staff’s break, recognizing the burn out and need for down time. One week might not be enough. 

2. Make the holidays festive. Whether your staff members recognize a holiday at this time or not, lean into the break with some fun activities like virtual Secret Santa, themed Zoom parties or contests, or sharing recipes that you’re making at home.  

3. Let your coworkers know you appreciate them. Hand written cards or sincere emails expressing appreciation will go a long way. Additionally, gift certificates, books, or jelly-of-the-month club (shout out to those who get the [PG-13] reference) may be meaningful ways to recognize your people, especially with all the hard work they’re doing. And here are a few more worthy suggestions.

4. Ask them what would help them at work. For example, your staff might want professional development in a particular area or skill, or might really appreciate a particular tool or gadget. Give them a chance to tell you about it. Not only might it make a good gift, but it can open a line of communication and let them know you are listening. 

Don't forget to take care of yourself. If you are suffering from burn out, or difficulties with your mental health, consider accessing AACRAO’s Mental Health resources. From setting boundaries to self care, there are options for you.