With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about employee appreciation. From extra vacation time, to holiday parties, to bonuses, it’s up to you to set your own precedent for holiday perks. A little goes a long way for your employees. It’s often more about being appreciated by the management team than it is about monetary value.
The bonuses that you give (or don’t) at the end of the year send a message to employees. And, especially during the holidays, employees are listening. Keep the below guidelines in mind when deciding what, how, and when to give holiday bonuses.
Decide what to give out.
A holiday bonus shouldn’t be tied to specific performance expectations. Therefore, the amount can vary according to what you can afford to pay out. Decide the appropriate amount to give. It can be a flat amount, a percentage of each person’s salary, or even an extra week’s pay. Just be sure that you’re being fair—holiday bonuses should be given to all employees and calculated on an unbiased basis.
Consider giving gifts.
If you’re a smaller company and can’t afford to give out nice, cash bonuses, it’s important to consider non-cash holiday bonus ideas. Receiving a thoughtful gift, being invited to the company party with food and drink provided, or even receiving a small gift card can go a long way towards building positive employee morale. A bottle of wine accompanied by a nice, handwritten note is a great way to show employees you appreciate them. If you aren’t able to afford gifts, extra time-off is valued by employees and is essentially free to give.
Decide when and where you’re going to give the bonus.
You can present checks or cards with cash at your holiday party, or you can include them in your employees’ paychecks. The latter may be a little more impersonal, especially if employees have direct deposit. Hand delivering the gifts around the office is a nice gesture as well.
Make sure to align expectations.
If the amount of the gift you give is based on company performance, make sure to let employees know. When business is slow, employees should be forewarned, so they aren’t disappointed when they don’t receive the same bonus as in a previous year.
Giving employees nothing at all during the holiday season will make them feel as if they are not valued and can be hurtful. Especially during a good business year, they’ll feel like they were for a greedy, thoughtless company.
As you decide how to handle the holidays, the bottom line is that whether it’s cash or wine, to employees, it’s your appreciation for their hard work that counts the most.
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