Dr. Doan also noted the connection between holiday observances and morale. Festivities, like his practice’s annual potluck and holiday gift exchange, even with its “modest” $10 limit, “builds a lot of collegiality,” he said. “It builds morale — morale is very important. If people are happy, they are more productive, they care about their work place, they feel important. These are very critical things that you need to do to show appreciation for each other, and it just provides a more pleasant work environment for everyone. Plus, I like the gifts!”
Dr. Shriver said one of her favorite employer gifts is the turkeys her hospital provided the staff for Thanksgiving. “That was really nice. Every employee got a coupon for one turkey. And if you didn’t use it, I think it went to a non-profit organization — the Salvation Army or something.”
Dr. Shriver added that it’s not unusual for her practice to mark several holidays throughout the year, at least in the form of decorations. “You know, we’re in Florida,” she said, “ so the weather’s the same all the time. It’s kind of nice to have a little bit of decorations to show the changing of the seasons, because otherwise it’s sunny and beautiful most every day. It helps to mark the transition throughout the year.”
Traditions can change as well. Dr. Shriver noted that her hospital no longer holds the Halloween costume contest it used to, while Dr. Holloman said her small practice has “graduated out of the office Christmas party.” Given their small staff — five full-time employees and two physician owners — and the length of time two of the women have worked there (20 years in one case, nearly 30 in another), the group’s working relationships have evolved over time. End-of-year festivities might not be that big, but “one of the ladies bakes a birthday cake for everybody’s birthday.” And Dr. Holloman and her partner close the office for the week between Christmas and New Year’s — providing a week of paid time off, in addition to the staff’s regular vacation. “I hope they think that that’s a nice benefit to working at our office,” she says. “I think they do.”
I’m sure Frank Capra would agree.
Issue Index | Related Articles
* * *
About the author: Christi A. Foist is the managing editor for YO Info and the Web and Member Communications Editor for the Academy. Her favorite holiday food traditions are brewing apple cider and baking gingerbread.