Holiday season lands in Q4, often the busiest time of year for all companies. In the midst of annual goals, holiday parties and vacations, it is easy for HR executives, managers and employers to put off thinking about employee holiday gifts until the very last minute. Often, this results in a last-minute gift basket or a well-intentioned bottle of wine landing on the desk of an employee who doesn’t drink. Despite the frenzy that holidays can inspire, employee gifts are one of the simplest and most meaningful ways to demonstrate your appreciation for your team’s hard work and dedication.
In a world where many employees are confident they can find a better position, gratitude is key in retention. If you manage employees or teams on a daily basis, gifting during the holiday season demonstrates leadership, thoughtfulness and your dedication to investing in the betterment of your employee experience. It facilitates a positive close to a frenzied Q4 season and kicks off the new year on a positive note as a token of your commitment to your team’s happiness, well-being and retention.
Whether you want to purchase individual employee gifts or send gifts in bulk, it pays to start thinking about holiday gift giving early. Here are five tips to provide the most effective employee recognition program for the upcoming holiday season.
1. Be thoughtful.
Research shows that employees who are engaged are 59% less likely to look for a job because they are happier. The key to showing appreciation through gift giving is ensuring that the gift feels thoughtful. For smaller companies, it may be feasible to purchase individual gifts based on each individual employee’s lifestyle. This often feels challenging for large teams and companies, and that’s when we start to see generic gifts such as new T-shirts with the company logo.
While a customized, personalized gift goes the farthest in showing employee appreciation, it can be daunting to send 100-plus personalized gifts at one time, while staying on budget. There are several good solutions for this:
• Gift cards or straight holiday cash: If there are too many people, a good option is a holiday cash bonus or gift card. Many companies opt for this as a way to let employees choose what they want themselves. The only downside is that the employee knows exactly what was spent on them.
• Gift choice platforms: Consider giving your employees the flexibility to choose what they want. This is the idea behind my company, Loop & Tie, a platform that enables you to send a personalized link to a pre-curated selection of gifts that your recipient can “shop” to find what they love.
• Airline tickets: Buying credit on an airline, maybe through company points, is another great way to let people pick what they want to do, especially if you have a lot of travelers on your team.
2. Steer clear of wine and food.
As allergies grow and with personal choices on cutting out alcohol or specific food items on a rise, it’s best to steer clear of gifting a bottle of wine or a basket of food. Unless you know for sure that your employee drinks, you shouldn’t be risking a gift of alcohol. Similarly, unless you know that your employee is a pear aficionado, a basket of pears is a surefire way to feel impersonal.
3. Give the gift of giving.
Another good way to foster a sense of giving during the holiday season is to give a gift that gives back. This can take the form of giving to charity on behalf of your employees or giving your employees a set number of dollars to donate to a charity of their choice. For example, CharityChoice allows employers to buy gift cards and the recipient chooses where the funds will go. We give employees the option to either select a product that is social good first or donate the gifted amount to a charity like Charity: Water.
4. Be practical.
If budget is an issue, opt not to go low-budget by gifting items like branded tote bags. The question to ask at that point is, what does my employee need that will make them feel appreciated? Maybe give out a few extra hours of vacation or award an extra floating holiday for the holiday season. The key is putting the recipient first.
5. Show gratitude.
Whether you go high-budget or budget-constrained, it’s important to show gratitude toward the people who are helping you grow the company. For 46% of HR leaders, employee burnout is responsible for up to half of their annual workforce turnover. Gratitude can help lessen that impact. Every part of the gift-giving process should feel like a show of gratitude for their hard work. This goes miles in terms of employee retention.
Holiday giving develops a culture of gratitude throughout the organization, promoting happiness regardless of the organization’s size. Purchasing holiday gifts for your employees should feel like a meaningful chance to celebrate your employees, rather than a stressful task in a Q4 frenzy. Here’s hoping that these tips help you create great micro-moments with your team and kick off a great year in your business.