The holidays are a traditional time to express appreciation to others, and many businesses take this opportunity to thank their employees. Big businesses routinely offer year-end bonuses, elaborate holiday fetes and fancy gifts in gratitude for employees' hard work. Small businesses may have a tighter budget, but with a little planning and imagination, they too can offer a much-appreciated "thank you" to their employees.
As you determine how best to acknowledge your employees for their efforts in 2006, remember to include all staff members in your gift-giving plans. This is particularly important for a small business. Every person contributes to some aspect of your operation and they each deserve your gratitude.
Here are some employee "thank you" suggestions from the Better Business Bureau:
- Holiday parties. If you decide to host a holiday party or celebration, consider extending the invitation to the spouses or partners of your employees. If your employees have worked a lot of over-time, their family members might value recognition for their support. Select a venue that has an "ambiance" and a convenient location that would be appreciated by all employees. Some businesses organize an employee committee to select the venue and menu for the holiday party.
- Gifts. Steer clear of "promotional" items stamped with your company logo. Instead, select a food gift, a small electronics product, a gift card or other item that would be appropriate, no matter what the gender, age, religion or race of the employee. Gifts that the whole family can enjoy may be a popular choice if your employee base is family-oriented.
- End-of-the-year bonuses. Bonuses should be measurable and tied to performance goals. If you did not set goals with employees in 2006, consider giving another type of gift this holiday season and start setting goals with staff members in the New Year.
- Give the gift of time. If you can't afford cash bonuses, you might want to offer employees extra time off during the holidays. If it isn't possible to grant an entire day of leave, permit them to come in later or leave earlier on a given day.
No matter how you decide to express gratitude to your employees, remember to include a personal touch. Give each employee a hand-signed card or letter from the business owner expressing his or her appreciation for their contribution to the business in 2006.