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Category: Staffing

How to Show Appreciation to Your Staff This Holiday Season

The holiday season is fast approaching.  For some businesses, this is the beginning of their busiest season.   For others, this is a time of year for reflection and planning.  For almost everyone, year end and the associated holidays are a time to reconnect and strengthen relationships, including with employees.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught businesses anything, it’s just how vital good employees are to the survival of any company.  Showing gratitude to employees is always important but this season is an especially good time to acknowledge employees and thank them for their hard work.

If you’re an employer who wants to recognize and reward employees this holiday season, start planning now. Here are a few things to consider before we get into the thick of the holiday season.

What if I Can’t Afford Gifts for Everyone?

Can you afford to give a bonus?  If so, have you determined your budget? If cash is not an option, are there affordable alternates that your employees will value?

Employees gifts don’t need to be flashy or expensive.  In fact, a heart felt note accompanying even a small gift or gesture can improve morale.  Giving employees a little extra time off is always appreciated but not always practical, especially if the holidays are your busy season.  Maybe a company luncheon or a small outing is more affordable than providing gifts to every employee.

If you can afford personal gifts, take the time to determine what employees really want or need.

Should I Give Cash?

Holiday bonuses and cash gifts are a time-honored tradition for many companies.  Everyone can use a little extra money during the holidays.  Some companies base bonuses on annual performance.  Some base bonuses on length of service.  Still others give every employee the same amount.

If you choose to give cash gifts, be consistent.  Employees often discuss and compare bonus amounts and discrepancies will be noted.  What you intended to be a reward or sign of appreciation can turn into a point of contention if employees don’t feel their bonus measured up to that of their coworkers.

Unique way to give cashA cash (or check) bonus doesn’t just need to be a bump in your employees’ paychecks.  Most company gifts, including cash, are taxable but giving employees a bonus separate from their usual paycheck makes a bigger impact.

You can find creative ways to distribute a gift of cash that will add to the seasonal merriment.

What Type of Gifts Are Appropriate?

If you opt for something other than cash, consider a gift card and gift certificate alternative.  These make great gifts if they are for businesses that your employees will use.  Some companies will offer you a discount if you purchase certificates or gift cards in bulk, which will help you stretch your budget even farther.

If you decide to purchase actual gifts, take time to think about your business culture and your individual employees.  What types of gifts will your team appreciate and use?   What gifts are appropriate for your entire staff.  We’ve compiled a list of some ideas to consider.

A Holiday Care Package

Holiday care packageA gift box filled with snacks, seasonal gifts or personal care items are fun ways to show appreciation.  A holiday “care” package might be filled with warm gloves or a scarf along with sweet treats and even some company swag.

Gift boxes don’t need to be expensive but should show you gave some thought as to what went into them.

Useful Items

Branded pens or stationery sets may not seem like a holiday gift.  Add apparel with your company logo, an upscale padfolio, or even a custom keychain and you’ve created a company kit that employees will actually use.

Practical giftsCompany apparel is always a popular gift.  But skip the usual t-shirts in favor of more popular wearables like trucker’s caps, rain jackets or fleece vests.

If your employees spend time in the field, on the road, or working from home, consider a branded travel mug or product specific to your industry.  Almost anything can be branded with your company logo or message.  But shop early!  Supply chain disruptions may cause delays in the delivery of certain types of products.

Company Collectables

How to Show Appreciation to Your Staff This Holiday Season-4Did your business reach a milestone during 2021?  Commemorate any achievement with a specialty gift like a collectable medallion, trophy, or lapel pin.

Service awards are also great holiday gifts and acknowledge individual accomplishments.  Special packaging can create a great presentation and keepsake.

Tickets to Local Sports, Events or Entertainment

If you’re not working with a tight budget, giving employees tickets to local events could be, pardon the pun, just the ticket.  Be sure tickets are to events your employees will attend and enjoy.  You can often get a discount if you buy tickets in bulk, especially if you purchase them for the same event on the same date.

Bear in mind that childcare needs and other situations at home may make it difficult for some employees to attend an after hours or weekend event.  What you think of as a fun outing, may be a logistical nightmare for some employees.

Start Planning Now

Whatever you decide to do for your employees this season, start planning now. Supply chain disruptions may cause shortages or delivery delays this year.  If your holiday plans include custom-printed cards or any import products, the time to place those orders is before the end of October.  Don’t miss an opportunity to show your employees a little love and appreciation this season because you waited too late to get started.

AlphaGraphics Franklin can help with your holiday card and corporate gift needs. We have a team of talented designers who can create the perfect season card.  Our sales and marketing team can help you match the right gift products for your team and your budget.  We can even handle the mailing, kit assembly, shipping or distribution.

Time to Hire?

Times are good.  Business is up.  As an owner or manager of a business, you’re no longer worried about keeping the doors open.  Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day to manage all the business you have.  In fact, you’re wondering if it’s time to hire more help.  But how do you really know when it’s time to staff up?

Every business has guidelines specific to their industry.  Peak seasons in construction and retail determine when it’s time to add staff and whether that staff should be full time, part time or temporary.

In other industries, business owners often opt to pay existing employees overtime to manage the extra workload.  However, with new overtime laws going into effect in December of 2016, overtime may prove to be much more expensive than increasing headcount.  Beyond the financial impact of overtime, employee job satisfaction and performance can suffer if overtime becomes a job requirement. High turnover can also result from working your team too hard.

There are certain signs that it’s time to consider hiring new employees.  An astute business owner or manager will be able to spot these and determine when it’s time to staff up.

When to Hire

1.  Your business has sustained growth over more than one quarter in the last 12 months.  When sales are consistently increasing or when forecasts indicate continued growth, it may be time to hire.

2.  New business opportunities are on the horizon but you don’t have adequate human resources to seize them.  Any time you put off an expansion of services or products simply because you don’t have the people on staff to do the work, it’s time to hire.

3.  Your employees are experiencing burn out.  Stress, excessive complaints, mistakes, absenteeism, team dysfunction, and decline in customer satisfaction are all signs that you are asking too much of your current staff and it’s time to hire.

4.  Employees feel stuck in their current positions.  Every business needs a workforce that is capable, well-trained (preferably cross-trained) and primed to move up the ladder.  If you can’t offer opportunities for career growth because you don’t have new people ready to fill vacant slots, it’s time to hire.

5.  If owners and/or managers are handling day-to-day tasks because there’s no one else to do them, you’re understaffed.

Employees need their bosses to be leaders, not co-workers.  Your job is to lead and manage.  If you don’t have time to do that, then it’s definitely time to hire.

No responsible business owner or manager wants to add staff in peak times only to have layoffs if business falls short.  However, no business owner or manager can afford to lose business because of customer complaints or lack of manpower to service the needs of the client.  Often it makes good business sense to hire new employees so they can be trained and ready to handle new business.

Is it time for your business to hire?


-LG, AlphaGraphics Franklin | July 2016