Company Christmas gifts that will be met with good cheer

Inc. Magazine

Studies show that in 2016, 44 percent of companies rewarded their employees with gifts or cash during the holidays.

It’s traditional to reward loyal employees for a job well done at the end of the year. And cash isn’t the only option, although it likely is the gift most preferred by employees. There are other ways to thank employees, and some of them also can boost your brand if you’re the boss.

Here are five holiday gifts that likely won’t be met with an inward groan:

1. Incentives

People will work harder if they know they’re getting more than a paycheck for their hard work. And feeling under-appreciated can send employees out the door. In fact, 76 percent of employees who do not feel valued are looking for other job opportunities, according to a recent Lifeworks survey.

As a business owner or manager, you can motivate your employees by offering an incentive. For example, if employees reach a sales milestone, offer a financial incentive or betterment bonus at the end of the year. Make the milestones achievable so everyone can join in on the fun.

Preloaded gift cards and vouchers for travel to cool places also are great incentives. These types of gifts will boost morale and set everyone up for good work in the new year.

2. Flexible working hours and locations

Who wouldn’t love a little extra time off during the holiday season? Instead of a gift that they won’t remember next year, why not offer them flexible work time?

Offer employees the option to start work early in order to duck out and get a head start on the holidays. Allow employees to work from home during a holiday week or provide longer lunch periods so staff members can get some holiday shopping done.

This type of gift allows your employees to not only feel appreciated but give them the time they need to unwind and also be more productive at work.

3. Brand gifts they’ll actually use

Is promoting your brand in the form of a gift tacky? Not necessarily. Your employees might be expecting a branded gift, but there are some that aren’t awful and might be welcomed.

Customized laptop sleeves or bags, brand fleece jackets or long-sleeve T-shirts are good ideas.

You also could do a customized Bluetooth speaker. This gift not only allows you to place your logo on the speaker, it’s also a one-size-fits-all gift that most employees will love.

4. Festive gifts

Tons of companies offer holiday parties for their employees. Have you noticed yours has become rather stale lately? Switch things up and host a holiday party your employees won’t forget.

Host a beer-brewing class at a local brewery or have a wine tasting at a local winery. You’ll show your employees your appreciation while simultaneously making connections with other local companies.

Have a small business? Why not invite all your employees over to your home for dinner and drinks?

Or try taking your employees out for a night on the town. Let them bring a guest, and provide a nice meal and a drink for them.

A casino is another option. Provide each employee with an allotted amount of money and let them try their hand at gambling. This is a great way to get everyone in the office together to have fun and let loose a little bit.

5. The gift of health

New year, new you. We’ve all heard the mantra. In fact, one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is losing weight and/or getting healthier. And as an employer, healthier employees mean better workers. Sometimes the only thing holding people back from becoming healthier is the cost.

You could get a Fitbit for every employee, if your budget allows it. Just ensure you are giving everyone on staff the same thing. You don’t want any hard feelings, and you certainly don’t want to make it appear that you are singling out anyone as needing fitness more than others do.

You also could bring in a yoga instructor for a class on a Friday afternoon or offer staff massages during this stressful season. Consider having a chef come to the office to cook a healthful meal for everyone.

A gift is great and lets your employees know you appreciate their hard work and dedication to your brand. But don’t forget that employees want recognition. They want to know they’re appreciated.

Make sure you’re taking time out of your busy schedule to personally thank each employee. Stop by their desks to say thanks or, better yet, give handwritten notes of gratitude.

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