When it comes to thanking your employees with gifts, branded pens and gift baskets are good, but there are more meaningful ways to show your appreciation. Here are five things you can do this holiday season to break from the generic employee gift-giving pattern and try something different.
1. Unexpected Perks
You probably already offer your employees perks that provide an incentive for their hard work and dedication. The holiday season is a great time to give a little extra. Unexpected perks can cost your business very little, such as an extra day off, shortened workdays during the holidays, casual dress days, or even the ability to work from home for a day or two. Or you can invest a little bit to give your employees an office party or a holiday bonus.
2. Handwritten Notes
Take your holiday cards to a new level by handwriting a personal note to each of your employees. Specifically, mention some of his or her biggest accomplishments during the year and express your gratitude for the hard work that was required to meet those goals. This is a great way to show your appreciation in a way that makes your employees feel valued by you and the company.
3. Business-Funded Family Days
Many of us struggle with finding work-life balance in our day-to-day lives. Give your employees a chance to achieve the perfect balance for a day by paying for them to take a local day trip with their family for a little relaxation time. You can fund the entire day (admission fees, meals, travel), or you can give a gift card for part of the day, plus a "free" day off from work. This is not only meaningful for the employee receiving the gift, but he or she is also likely to come back refreshed and ready to be productive.
4. Practical, Personal Gifts
You know a lot about your employees by working side-by-side with them on a daily basis. Let that knowledge guide your gift selection to ensure you are giving something that will be valued and appreciated by each employee. If an employee is into health and fitness, consider giving a fitness tracker or a healthy snack of the month subscription. If she has a candy addiction, a basket filled with her favorites is a great idea. What about the employee who loves his pets? Giving a gift that is meant for his cat or dog can be the perfect pick.
5. Dinner With the Team
If you have a relatively small team, you can treat everyone to dinner to show your appreciation and create an opportunity for team bonding. Consider taking everyone out to a favorite local restaurant, then pick up the tab. Or, consider hosting dinner at your house for a relaxed and enjoyable evening. It doesn't matter if you cook the meal yourself or have it catered, the end result is the same: time to unwind and let your employees know how much you appreciate their hard work.
Small businesses generally do not have big budgets for gift-giving, but that doesn't mean you have to skip showing your appreciation to your employees or simply go with the quick and easy options. These and other meaningful gift ideas will help you thank your employees for their hard work over the year.