Ways to Reward Your Employees for the Holidays

Large corporations often distribute cash rewards to employees as part of a profit-sharing program or hand out bonuses over the holidays but small business owners need to come up with other ways to reward their hardworking team. While a handwritten note card of "thanks" over the holidays will be appreciated, you can show your appreciation in several other, even creative, ways. If you're a small business owner on a tight budget, you might even need to steer clear of cash gifts and holiday bonuses altogether.

Here are five creative ways to reward your employees this holiday season:

1. Give the gift of time. If the budget doesn't allow for gift cards or cash bonuses, give your employees the gift of paid time off. Schedule the time off on a Friday or a Monday so that employees can enjoy a long weekend over the often-stressful holiday season.

2. Host a post-holiday party. Instead of trying to get everyone together in the middle of a super-busy holiday season, host a party in January to toast to the New Year ahead. I worked with a small business owner who would host a holiday party offsite <i>after</i> the holiday season. It was an employee appreciation party that included a short, inspirational presentation about the past year, and the company's goals for the upcoming year. This was a great way for employees to get together after the busy holiday season and also served as a pep talk to boost motivation.

3. Give out annual awards over the holiday season. Instill a new tradition where you give out annual rewards for "most valuable employee" and other similar recognition awards to honor your hardest workers. The holidays can be the perfect time to give "thanks" to these people or an entire department, and you can turn the event into a holiday-themed dinner or gala. Make sure <i>every</i> employee is thanked in some way, even if they don't win an award this year.

4. Host a wellness day at the office. Book chair massage services and order a healthy catered meal from a local company as part of a wellness day event at the office. Encourage employees to sign up for a block of "time off" in the office so they can enjoy a free lunch, socialize with coworkers and get a chair massage. This can be a great way for employees to de-stress over the holiday season and many will appreciate - and remember - the day.

5. Serve free holiday beverages and snacks for an entire week. Get everyone in the holiday spirit with a week of complimentary hot chocolate, flavored coffees, holiday cookies, and other treats, courtesy of the company. Enlist the help of some avid bakers and catering enthusiasts so that you have a variety of free treats available all week long. You could also kick off this week with an employee baked goods exchange or a potluck.

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