The giving season is rolling around again, and most employees are more appreciated than ever before. The past few years have been grueling; businesses and employees struggled to keep pace with external and internal pressures. Rewarding the employees who helped you make it through the year with a little extra this holiday season recognizes what they’ve done in 2022 and anticipates more great things from them in 2023.
Holiday gifts from employers are a long-standing tradition. Even Scrooge gave Cratchit a day’s pay for no work. There’s more reason than seasonal guilt to offer employees a year-end reward. A survey from Snappy found almost 60% of workers said they’d be more likely to stay with an employer who provided meaningful holiday gifts to staff members. The small investment may reap significant rewards in terms of retention.
As the year comes to a close, look for new ways to bring on the holiday cheer that meet the needs of all staffers. There are many options, from no- to low-cost rewards to high-end gifts. Factor in your budget limits and your employee’s preferences when choosing just the right gift for each staff member.
Holiday gift cards for employees
Gift cards for the win. Data shows gift cards continue to be the top preference for employees. They allow staff members to purchase what they want or need. A recent poll showed that 84% of workers prefer prepaid and gift cards. Their next choice was additional vacation days, at less than half of the survey participants — 40%.
Gift cards are an easy purchase for businesses but choose them thoughtfully. Provide gift cards from stores that offer a variety of product lines. Grocery cards are a thoughtful gift at Thanksgiving.
Rewarding the employees who helped you make it through the year with a little extra this holiday season recognizes what they’ve done in 2022 and anticipates more great things from them in 2023.
Still, a card that allows employees to shop for food and gifts for the kids and family may be more appreciated. Big box stores may be your best option here: some even have discount days when you can purchase gift cards at less than their face value.
Some gift cards carry major credit card logos and can be used anywhere the provider is welcome. These may carry activation fees for the purchaser when bought in stores but are often fee-free when purchased online.
Look for the most widely accepted cards with no fee attached when making your purchase.
It’s estimated nearly 20% of gift cards are unredeemed at any point during the year. Six percent are never used. One poll found more than half of adults forget to redeem their cards. Some physical cards are lost, and unless the recipient has the gift card number, they may not be able to get a replacement.
Digital gift cards may be more welcome for employees who typically do the majority of their shopping online. These gift cards can’t get lost as easily and may be more readily redeemed. Depending on where they’re purchased, they may give employees as many options as brick-and-mortar locations.
Holiday gift baskets for employees
Gift baskets can be elaborate gourmet compilations or simple collections of hand- and homemade items. When creating gift baskets, remember your audience. Employees with small children may love a bottle of wine to help them unwind but toss in a few treats for the kids as well.
Premade gift baskets that include cheeses, meats, and crackers may not be the best option for employees struggling to meet basic needs in inflationary times. For these staff members, a few small items that accompany a grocery gift card may be more appreciated.
If you’re considering creating or purchasing custom gift baskets for staff members, kudos for the extra effort. You can create themed holiday baskets that include traditional items, like:
- A few mugs
- Cinnamon sticks
- A jug of apple cider
Add a bit more personalization with an afternoon off to handle holiday shopping during the week for an extra bonus.
Spa gift baskets remind employees that self-care is essential. You can include:
- Aromatherapy scents
- Eye masks
- Bath salts and bombs
- White noise machines
Toss in a redeemable card to leave work early to indulge. You may be able to support a local business with a gift card as well.
One for everyone
Family gift baskets can create an event. Movie night baskets spell fun with:
- Popcorn containers (usually available at local dollar-type stores)
Toss in a family-friendly DVD or a gift certificate for a digital download and give staff members a chance to connect with loved ones.
If you know your staff well and what they like, create personalized baskets.
Book lovers’ baskets might include night lights, bookmarks, a cozy blanket, and reading glasses.
A gamer’s basket might include batteries, earbuds or headsets, along with snacks that are easy to grab one-handed.
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Holiday gifts for employees
Whatever you choose to give staff members, take the time to ensure your efforts net results rather than resentment. The holidays bring joy and pressure. You’ll want to make sure you’re adding to the spirit of the season rather than the stress.
Make holiday gifts impactful
One way to make any gift more meaningful is to include a personal note. Include highlights of:
- The employee’s year
- Their achievements
- A short message about how grateful you are to have them on board
For larger businesses, this task may be best left to managers and front-line supervisors, who know their employees best.
In smaller companies, look for a way to single out each staff member’s contribution. Holiday cards can become generic, often with only a simple signature attached. Up your holiday appreciation quotient by adding a few personalized lines of thanks and praise.
Consider donating to an employee’s favorite charity or giving them an opportunity to take a volunteer day in its support. Many companies offer staff volunteer time off during the year. Adding more during the holiday season can help staff boost their contributions to the cause and reaffirm their connection with your company.
Make holiday gifts inclusive
Different employees enjoy the holiday season in different ways. Make sure you’re addressing the needs, either secular or non-, of all staff members.
Plan on gifts that recognize each employee’s individuality. A gift of food may be well-intended, but not if it violates an employee’s beliefs. Alcohol of any kind may be unwelcome.
If you’re choosing restaurant gift cards — and who doesn’t like a night without cooking or cleaning up — make sure the venue has a range of menus. To make the most of the gift, you’ll want to be sure all options are included:
- Halal, etc.
If you’re purchasing or creating gift baskets or cards, make sure the items included are generically branded. Happy holidays, images of snow, reindeer, or other less specific holiday references may be more inclusive than iconography.
Make holiday gifts relaxing
Paid time off is a benefit all employees enjoy. While it’s not the most demanded holiday gift, it’s something every business can include that’s free and appreciated. If your business is swamped during the holidays, offer a redeemable day or partial day off after the rush. If you’re slow during the season, let staffers take the time now to handle their holiday responsibilities.
No one says no to a holiday bonus, and when it’s paid before the bills come due, it’s even more welcome.
Another way to ease the stress of the holidays: cash. No one says no to a holiday bonus, and when it’s paid before the bills come due, it’s even more welcome. The choice to provide holiday bonuses is up to individual business leaders. Financial pressures may mean it’s a difficult trade-off for business, but it might be worthwhile.
Consider the impact of a bonus. Yahoo reported that 40% of workers would consider an employer change to a company that offered holiday rewards. The smaller cost of a bonus could be significantly less than replacing a skilled staffer.
Saying thank you is always appropriate
Holiday gifts are one way we say thank you to staff members for the work they’ve done all year and for the support they’ve given the organization. Thoughtful gifts reap more than immediate rewards for businesses.
Employees are grateful for the gifts when they’re received and are likely to carry that gratitude into the new year.