It’s the end of the year and you want to do something special to reward your hardworking employees. There’s just one problem: you’re on a tight budget! Well, I’m here to tell you that being on a budget shouldn’t have to stop you from showing appreciation to your employees at the end of the year. You don’t always have to go over the top, and for many start-ups and small businesses it isn’t an option to begin with. Below, find five ways to recognize your employees without breaking the bank.
1. Write a Note: If you really don’t have the extra funds for gifts or get-togethers, writing notes to your employees is a great way to show how much you value them. To go the extra mile, personalize the notes by telling each employee exactly how he/she has contributed to the company in the past year. Gratitude is often one of the best gifts, and employees appreciate knowing that they are valuable members of the team. Also, when you put your appreciation into writing, your employees receive the added benefit of being able to have an on-the-record example of their hard work to go back to in times of doubt.
2. Get Out of the Office: Around this time of year, many people feel a little extra pressure and can become overwhelmed with commitments. From last minute holiday planning to the end-of-quarter crunch, every employee (and you!) needs a much deserved break. Try taking the team out for lunch or a drink and let the fun begin. Whether it’s a surprise or an annual team lunch, everyone will enjoy letting off a little steam. This is a great way to promote team bonding too! Also, the time between Christmas and New Year’s can often be a dead-zone in the office. Think about surprising your employees with a day off or a remote work day when there’s not much work to do. You may just earn the title of “best boss ever!”
3. Give a Gift: Give a small personalized gift to each team member. There’s no need to spend a lot of money to show you care, as long as the gift is thoughtful and meaningful. Think about giving a cute coffee mug to the officemate who always uses the styrofoam cups or a nice pen to the employee who still uses the freebie one from the dentist’s office. Personalized gifts, even when small, show your employees that you are paying attention to their needs and aware of their unique tastes.
4. Recognize Their Talents: For your employees to give you their best work, they need to feel appreciated. One of the best ways to do this is to foster a culture of gratitude and support. Try making a bulletin board for the office lounge where photos and clippings recognizing outstanding achievement can be posted. Don’t only include achievements from the office either; if an employee was featured in the local news for his/her prizewinning garden, post that clipping too! This helps to recognize every employee’s individual talent, as well as show off the person’s out-of-office skills!
5. Give them some extra time off or let them work from home: Working from home is a luxury that most employees would never feel comfortable asking for. So, don’t make them! At TRUE Model Management, we encourage employees to work remotely during the holidays, if they feel it will be the best situation for them. Also, in a study published in the Harvard Business Review, it was found that employees who worked from home were more productive than those who worked in the office. So, not only will your employees benefit, you will too! Another great holiday gift, if your industry and business allow for it, is to give your employees a little surprise time off or half days during the slower holiday times. It is a great way to let your employees recharge and to get ready for another productive year!
If you’ve noticed a theme here, you’ve been paying attention! Appreciation and gratitude are the best gifts you can give your employees, whether it’s the holiday season or not. And if you’re a small business owner, your appreciation can’t always come in the form of luxurious gifts. But, if you try these examples above, I’m sure that your employees will feel the love this holiday season.