The holiday season is a perfect time to show your team members how much you value their hard work and dedication. Don’t despair if there’s no budget for presents or if company policy prohibits giving gifts. There are plenty of creative, inexpensive ways to make your appreciation known. Consider these ideas:
“The most favorite gift in the entire universe for employees is time off,” says Noelle Nelson, author of The Power of Appreciation in Business. “If you can’t give everyone time off at the same time, stagger the time. Make sure everyone participates. Make a big deal of it—the time off is in appreciation for everyone giving their best throughout the year.”
Another way to honor deserving employees is to host an in-house break. Tell everyone to bring in their favorite book or magazine for a department-wide silent reading hour on Fridays during December, or fire up the microwave to make popcorn for a movie marathon of staff-chosen flicks.
Four leaders at Trinity Logistics delighted staff members by spending a day giving free car washes outside the office. Unexpected tokens of appreciation stand out and make people smile, so think creatively. Decorate cubicles with flowers, balloons or banners from each person’s favorite sports team, or clean out the refrigerator and leave the sparkling space with an assortment of beverages and treats.
Remember that every employee likes to be recognized for his or her unique contributions. Host a gathering for coffee and doughnuts in the morning or cookies and cocoa in the afternoon to thank everyone for their hard work. Say something positive and specific about each individual.
Alternatively, Nelson suggests giving each person a handwritten note with targeted praise. “In an age where communication is almost entirely digital, a handwritten note is much more meaningful. Managers should personalize the note with something specific that the employee did well that year.”