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10 Ways to Show Gratitude to Your Employees During the Holidays, and Year-Round

As a business owner, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to show employees that you’re thankful for their contributions to your company. And according to the Harvard Business Review’s “Do You Tell Your Employees You Appreciate Them?” your extra efforts can have huge payoffs by boosting morale, productivity, performance, and employee retention.

Following are ten ways to show your employees gratitude and appreciation—with little impact to your bottom line.

Extra Paid Time Off (PTO)

Paid leave gives your employees time to de-stress, recoup, and spend time with friends and family—without losing income. If budget allows, consider offering shorter workdays before holidays or during the summer, or gifting paid time off for special events, like birthdays and off-site volunteering.

Gift Cards

Gift cards are flexible, fun, and increasingly popular among Millennial and Gen Z employees—who often use prepaid cards to shop on mobile apps. Poll your employees to see which cards they prefer and hand them out for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, or to show appreciation for a job well done.

Meaningful Gifts

A gift with meaning—one tailored to a specific employee’s unique needs or interests—can go a long way toward demonstrating your gratitude for their hard work and dedication. Concert or sporting event tickets, a wine-tasting experience, cooking lessons, or a spa day are a few options to consider.

Free Food (and Drinks)

Ramp up employee appreciation with donuts once a week, pizza lunch on Fridays, a specially catered meal during the holiday season, or food establishment gift cards for remote employees.

Health and Wellness Perks

Show your commitment to a healthy work-life balance and the health and well-being of your employees with perks like paid wellness days, flexible work options, registration reimbursement for local 5ks or marathons, and/or access to wellness programs that provide physical and mental health services.

Employee Recognition Program

Develop processes to recognize employees for their accomplishments or acknowledge important events in their lives. From reaching sales goals or earning high customer service ratings to celebrating birthdays, marriages, and births—let employees know you value them, inside and outside the workplace.

One-Time Bonuses

If salary increases don’t currently make sense for your business, consider a one-time bonus as a gesture of employee appreciation. Bonuses can be offered as incentives—such as signing bonuses, profit-sharing or referrals—or as general recognition for a job well done at any time of the year.

Professional Development Opportunities

Show your employees that you’re invested in their future at your company—and their career, in general—by offering on-site or online training courses, conferences, or professional development classes.

Company Celebrations

The holiday season is an ideal time to throw a company-wide celebration for employees and their family members. If you’re on a limited budget, you can decorate the workspace, put on a festive playlist, serve up some delicious food, and give gift cards or company swag away for party favors.

Get tips to spread holiday cheer with hybrid employees as well.

The Power of “Thank You”

Oftentimes, simple recognition and a kind word—such as a handwritten note, email, or an unexpected “thank you” in a team meeting—can go a long way towards increasing employee satisfaction. Your employees work hard. Let them know you see it.

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