RibbonIt doesn’t always feel better to give than receive – just ask anyone anxiously awaiting their holiday bonus. This is the season to greedily hope for as many greenbacks as you can get, during a time in which entrepreneurs and managers traditionally do their best or worst to show employees how much they’re appreciated at the company.

It doesn’t sounds like it should be a difficult process, does it? If your employee has performed well in his or her job this year, here’s your chance to say thanks and to offer them something extra along with their paycheck. Holiday bonuses and gifts for employees have bounced back after bottoming out a few years ago. In fact, a little more than 40% of organizations now award gifts or bonuses to at least some of their employees. Most employees say they’d prefer cash, but padding paychecks isn’t the only way your organization can say “Happy Holidays!” Meet some different ideas:

Gift1.Offer extra paid time off. Free up a day for employees to spend shopping or running holiday errands. Close up early on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Or surprise everyone with an extra day or two off before Christmas or between the two holidays without counting it against their regular vacation time.

2.Give each employee an inexpensive gift. Tie a bright ribbon around a small box of chocolates; select an inexpensive business book or give something your organization or one of your clients makes.

Health3.Give the gift of health. Sur­­prise each worker with a health club membership, even if it’s company-paid for just a few months. Or pay for smoking-cessation courses, weight watchers meetings or other health-promoting events.

 4.Close for the holidays. About 12% of companies shut down be­­tween Christ­­mas and New Year’s Day. Some offered the paid week off to employees as a bonus on top of regular vacation time. Others required workers to spend regular vacation days to “pay” for the break.

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5.Wrap up some technology. If your employees are using their own cell phones for business, consider handing out company-owned and -paid smart phones or tablets. The organization can negotiate bulk discounts on the items and the Internet service. This also lets you ensure that all em­­ployees have the same equipment and the latest upgrades to be efficient.

Gift 6.Hold a drawing. Include prizes for everyone. Along with restaurant, movie and coffee house gift cards, mix in two or three extravagant awards – like a resort vacation for two, two plane tickets, a long weekend at a hotel or popular sports or concert tickets. Throw in your own coupons that entitle the winner to flextime, a conference registration, a day off to volunteer or a one-on-one session with the company’s financial planner.

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7.Hand out gift cards for something that employees would value like dinner and a movie. Some organizations issue grocery store gift cards in an amount sufficient to cover the cost of a good-sized turkey or full Christmas dinner.Don’t buy gift cards that restrict what employees buy.

 8.Organize mini pre Christmas trip for your employees. Where they spent the entire bonus on first class airfare, deluxe hotel accommodations, and a new custom-sewn business wardrobe for each of them.

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Still having trouble deciding what to give? Think about giving something you’d want to receive yourself–and be fair about it. You may like one employee better than another, but don’t give $10 to one and $200 to another, if they’re both performing the same basic functions. If you’re a business owner and wondering what to give as a bonus, remember that whatever you give, your employees are going to remember, pretty much forever.

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                                              Happy Holidays! Xo-xo-xo

 

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