How to Reward Your Staff Members During the Holidays
The winter holidays are right around the corner, and that means it’s time to start thinking about how you want to reward your staff members for their year-long performance. It’s common for employers, especially of larger companies, to reward their employees with year-end bonuses, corporate gifts, or celebrations that recognize their contributions in the past year.
But what are the best ways to do this?
The Benefits of Holiday Employee Rewards
First, it’s important to understand the main benefits of providing your employees with some kind of holiday reward:
- Morale and productivity. Everyone feels good when they receive a gift or bonus, even if it’s something small. Your employees, upon receiving a reward, will see a major boost in morale that could last for months (or years, if you reward them consistently enough). And of course, any boost in morale is going to come with a boost in productivity.
- Employee retention and loyalty. Employees who know their employers appreciate them are going to be much more likely to stick around for the long term. If they get an extra reward every holiday season, they’ll constantly look forward to the next year they spend with your company, and they’ll know they’re appreciated. This can greatly reduce your employee turnover.
- Brand image overall. Giving out employee gifts or other rewards around the holidays can also improve the public image of your brand. Any publicity you get for your generosity is going to be a good thing, increasing your reputation (and potential sales).
So what types of rewards should you consider?
First, you can consider corporate gifts. These come in many varieties, such as corporate gift hampers, bottles of wine, fruit baskets, or tickets to some performance or event. For a large company, generic gifts work well, because you can give one to every employee without spending too much time or energy. But for a smaller company, it’s often better to personalize these gifts. Is there something particular you know this employee likes, such as interest in a hobby or a favorite type of wine? This can help you display a whole new level of appreciation.
If you don’t want to put the time or energy into selecting corporate gifts for your employees, you could go the simpler route and provide them with a bonus check. Most employees will appreciate the extra money, especially if it comes in before the holiday shopping season. Here, most of your thought will be going toward how much to give your employees, and whether that amount will vary.
A Holiday Party
In addition to providing employees with a gift or bonus check, you could consider throwing a holiday party. Or, if money is tight this year, a holiday party could be a solid and inexpensive way to show your employees you appreciate them without hemorrhaging cash on individual gifts.
There are several options here, which will depend on your budget and how much time you want to dedicate to planning. For example, you could simply close the office down early on a Friday and host the party after hours. Or you could rent an event venue and have a more extravagant gala-style event on a Saturday night. You should provide food and drinks to your employees, and consider some kind of gift exchange, whether this is an opportunity to provide your corporate gifts to your employees or you sponsor some kind of white-elephant exchange.
If you have the budget for it, you could also host some kind of corporate outing. Again, depending on your budget, you could take the team on a mini vacation somewhere exotic, or keep things simple by going bowling or go kart racing together.
Like a holiday party, corporate outings have the added benefit of getting the team together for some personal interaction. This can improve team bonds, and help facilitate better teamwork on a day-to-day basis. However, outings tend to be time-intensive, and require more planning than other options on this list; accordingly, they can be hard to coordinate around the holidays.
Performance, Percentage, or Flat Rate?
One of the toughest challenges you’ll face in rewarding your employees for the holidays is determining how much to spend. Do you want to give each employee a bonus based on a flat rate? A percentage of their salary? Or do you want to reward them disproportionately based on their performance during the previous year? Each approach has advantages and disadvantages, and there’s no right answer.
Every business will approach holiday employee rewards slightly differently, and that’s completely fine. Consider your budget, the performance of your employees in the past year, and the collaborative potential of your team when making your decision.