The holiday season is upon us and for many companies that means it’s time to thank employees for their efforts. Some companies hold an annual holiday party; others provide gift certificates, turkeys or perhaps an annual bonus. Any and all of those ideas are appreciated by the recipients. The only problem is that all too soon the holiday party is over, the gift card is redeemed, the turkey is gone and the bonus spent.
This year, in addition to the traditional end of year gift, why not also give something that says “I value you” for a lot longer. Here are some ideas.
- Care about your employees, not just the work they do. Make time to get to know them. What do they like to do outside of work? Movies, reading, gardening, writing? Knowing this also helps you customize gift cards to specific interests, which makes gift cards that much more meaningful. Be aware of special events happening in their lives, both the good and the bad. Births, deaths, weddings, separations. Letting your employees know they are not just an employee matters.
- Be transparent. Clearly outline your expectations. Don’t keep your employees guessing what you expect from them and what the priorities are. Performance standards need to be clear, they need to be understandable and they need to be shared with employees. Team members who know what is expected of them enjoy their job more.
- Provide the tools needed for success. Now that you’ve reviewed and updated your performance standards, be sure your employees have the tools they need to successfully perform to those standards. Start with training them; then ask your team members what else they need in order to perform to a higher standard and get them whatever you can.
- Provide regular feedback. In addition to making sure your employees clearly understand expectations, be sure to let them know if they are meeting or exceeding those expectations. Working in a vacuum is frustrating and de-motivating. Provide both positive and constructive feedback as close to the event as possible or it will lose its impact.
- Provide opportunities for your team to make a difference. We all want to feel that we matter, that we are valued and that our contribution matters. Ask your employees to contribute ideas and suggestions on how to improve customer service or increase sales or choose a local charity to support. Knowing they were part of the solution and are making a difference increases buy in and commitment.
What do you think? What are some other high value, long-lasting gifts leaders can give their team members?