How to Choose a Holiday Gift for Your Employees

Employee incentives and gifts, especially around the holidays, are a token of goodwill that can do wonders to improve employee morale and enthusiasm. During prosperous years, some businesses give holiday cash bonuses or a type of profit sharing gesture that rewards employees for a productive year. During slower economic times, holiday gift giving and year-end bonuses are often not in the budget. No matter how large your business or your budget, show your employees you care during the holiday season.


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    Decide how much your business can afford to spend on employee holiday gifts, and then do the math to determine how much that translates to per employee. If appropriate, you may want to divide employees into various tiers and determine gift spending limits based those tiers.
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    Personalize gifts by buying unique items for each person. Only consider doing this is you have a small number of employees whom you know well.
    • Listen when employees talk during the year. If you hear someone mention needing or wanting something, make a note of it. Make sure they haven't already gotten it for themselves before holiday time, and if not buy it for their holiday gift.
    • Solicit letters to Santa from your employees and then choose an item off of each person's list as their gift. You can also hang the Santa letters in the break room as part of your holiday decorating.
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    Choose one gift that you think all employees would enjoy, such as a fruit and cheese basket, and buy one for each person.
    • If you budgeted for different gifts at different employee levels, buy baskets based on price, the size and contents of which are predetermined for each level.
    • Pick a gift that can be personalized, such as a pen set or picture frame. Then have the gift engraved for each employee with his or her name or initials.
    • Give everyone a chance at a gift of money by tucking lottery tickets into holiday cards.
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    Gift cards to local businesses can make good employee gifts at the holidays, as long as you choose the right business. Unless you know there is a certain restaurant in town that each of your employees loves, a gift card to a local department store, office supply store or grocery store is more likely to provide something everyone can use.
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    Consider giving your employees the gift of paid time if you can't hand out large holiday bonuses. For many people there are two things they can never have enough of around the holidays: time and money.
    • Hang a calendar that shows the periods during the holiday season when you expect business to be slow. Let each employee write her name on the day or days she is taking off as her holiday gift from you.
    • Give extra time off as the opportunity arises. If business is slow and you have more employees on than you need, send some of them home with pay. Keep track of who you send home and how early, so everyone gets equal time.
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    Pick up the tab for lunch, a late afternoon pizza, or morning donuts and coffee more often during the holiday season. Holidays are stressful times for everyone; show your employees you appreciate them as part of your holiday gift.


  • Factor in the holiday party, if you have one, as part of your gift to your employees. An informal afternoon party at work may be enough if you are also giving your employees other gifts. If the party is the entire gift, consider having it in a restaurant or renting a hall and having a sit-down dinner.

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Categories: Gift Giving | Holidays and Traditions