Make Your Employees Feel Valued With These 6 Festive Gifts

If you didn’t already finish your holiday shopping over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, you might start stressing as the end-of-year holidays inch closer and closer. Maybe you have picked out the perfect gifts for family members but don’t know what to get each employee on your team.

Don’t fret. These six entrepreneurs share gift ideas — from traditional monetary bonuses to experiential team-bonding activities — that you still have time to get for your team.

Offer employees a piece of the pie.

A monetary bonus may be standard corporate practice, but you can take it a step further by offering employees a share of company profits. Nicolas Gremion, CEO of free online book platform Free-eBooks.net, recognizes that a profit-sharing program is a twofold gift that gives your team a sense of ownership.

“If you don’t already have a profit-sharing plan in place, consider taking a slice of your profits and dishing it out accordingly among your employees,” he says. “First off, let’s be realistic: Cash is the most coveted corporate gift. Second, if you’re looking to boost team spirit, this will demonstrate that their efforts are rewarded.”

Tie the gift to a personal goal.

Angela Ruth, co-founder and marketing director of scheduling tool Calendar, knows that personalized gifts are the best kind. When you know your employees on a personal level, including the goals they are working toward, get them something that shows you support them.

“I had a boss give me running shoes and athletic gear because he knew I was intent on improving my health. I’ve seen a boss pay for a class or seminar that their employee wanted to attend to gain a professional or personal skill,” she says. “Any gift revolving around self-improvement is ideal because we don’t often spend money on ourselves.”

Gift a team experience.

“Holidays are about more than gifts; they are about family,” says Ryan Wilson, CEO of marketing firm FiveFifty. And there’s no better way to celebrate the holidays with your work family than by sharing a fun experience.

“I use the holidays as an opportunity to bring my team together and reinforce the strong relationships we have already developed. I have planned company-wide events to donate our time, go skiing and even enjoy a night out at the casino,” says Wilson. “As the year comes to a close, think of what your team might enjoy doing together to celebrate a great year.”

Send out time-off coupons.

Whether they need to travel for the holidays or just finish up their shopping, your employees could use an extra day or two off around the holidays. Drew Hendricks, CEO of full-service PR agency Super Duper PR, helps alleviate some of that holiday stress with redeemable coupons.

“Employees are often afraid to ask for time off. Sending a coupon that can be redeemed for time off says it’s okay to take that personal time to get something done. It can be for an extended lunch, a half day or even a full day,” he says. “It’s a booster, especially at a time of year when employees have so many personal obligations.”

Hand everyone a crisp $100 bill — to give away.

Derek Shanahan, general manager of virtual currency monetization platform SuperRewards, offers a unique twist on the cash bonus. Instead of giving employees money to spend on themselves, he enables them to spread that joyous feeling to others.

“Most people worry about money. That means they probably haven’t had the enlightening experience of handing a stranger $100 simply because they want to,” he says. “Give everyone a crisp $100 bill and tell them to carry it with them for as long as it takes to find the right moment to give it to a stranger. You’ll be amazed at the positive effects this can have.”

Match employee donations to a nonprofit.

“Match donations to a nonprofit that each employee chooses themselves,” says Roger Lee, CEO of 401(k) provider Captain401. It is the season of giving, after all, so this will provide a bump in both holiday and team spirit.

“They’ll enjoy researching and selecting the nonprofit they want to support and will be happy knowing they work for a company that cares about their individual causes and prioritizes giving back,” says Lee. “This is more meaningful to both employees and society than a typical holiday gift.”

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