Small Business

5 staff appreciation ideas that won't break the bank

The holidays are a busy time for many businesses, which can often mean long hours, extra weekend work, and hurrying to make your lists (and check them twice!). While the radio is proclaiming “it’s the most wonderful time of the year,” you and your employees may be feeling more holiday strain than Christmas cheer.

That’s why it’s extra-important to make your team feel loved this time of year. But as a business owner, cash might be tight. What’s a savvy and budget-minded boss to do? While you may not be able to afford a holiday bash featuring celebrity performances, here are five ways to show your appreciation on a budget.

1. Host a holiday happy hour

Hold the top-shelf liquor and forget renting a pricey photo booth: with some time and clever budget management, you can handle this one all on your own. Hang some streamers as a festive background, provide a few props (think Santa hats, enormous sunglasses, and sparkly beads), and set up a camera. Add some soda and snacks, and you already have a celebration going — all you need is a hashtag for everyone to share photos!

2. Give everyone a half-day

If you can spare the time, close the office early and give everyone a partial day off to complete their holiday shopping, bake some cookies, or just spend time at home with family. In the absence of a party, employees are sure to appreciate some company-paid time to relax and unwind.

3. Organize a potluck celebration

You may not be able to afford caviar and champagne for all of your employees (no matter how much they deserve it), but you can set aside some time for everyone to raise a glass to the company’s accomplishments this year. Organize a simple lunch potluck, and encourage everyone to bring their favorite holiday dish, whether they make killer mashed potatoes or have their great-grandmother’s apple pie recipe. Bonus: have employees vote for their favorite dish, and give the winner a special prize.

4. Set up a holiday gratitude tree

…and be the first to contribute, by including how thankful you are for your staff’s support! During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be hard to take the time to remember to be thankful. Lead the way by creating a reminder in a hallway or lunchroom, and encourage employees to contribute their thankful thoughts!

5. Send a card to say “thanks”

Never underestimate the sentimental value of a handwritten card. Sincerely thank the addressee for their hard work, and let them know they’re a valued part of your company. Be sure to customize each one — if your employees figure out you’re giving everyone the same card with the same generic message written inside, it loses its meaning. If you have the money to include a small gift card to the local coffee shop or the team’s favorite sandwich spot, do — a little goes a long way.

 

Whether your budget is $50 or $500, remember that the point is to make your employees feel appreciated — not only because ‘tis the spirit of the season, but also because studies show that when employees feel valued and happy at work, they tend to work harder. Happy holidays to you and your business!

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