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Different Ways to Recognize Your Employees at Year End

December 18, 2015

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Twelve Days of Small Business Badge

We’re recognizing small businesses across the country for the positive impact they make on their local communities throughout the holiday season and all year long.

Non-monetary rewards can play a major role in keeping your staff motivated. As the holidays approach, companies want to show their appreciation for a year's work well done and hit a celebratory note over the winter holiday season. Yet many companies lack the budget to give cash rewards to employees, or want to find an alternative to cash that's not taxable. It can be challenging to find options within your budget and that will appeal to a wide cross-section of the workforce. Here's a closer look at some non-monetary options to show your appreciation for employees.

Differentiating Between Performance and Holiday

According to the  Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), one of the most important aspects to consider when developing holiday strategies is differentiating between performance recognition and holiday events or compensation. Many companies combine the two. Yet it's important that your business has a clear strategy that workers understand. Employees want to see a clear financial progression of raises, bonuses and other compensation related to their performance. Performance and compensation must be inextricably linked. Holiday-related compensation or celebrations should be a separate item altogether.

Events and Team Building

Some businesses choose to focus on celebratory events and team building activities to show their appreciation. One option that's very popular is holiday events such as parties or dinner gatherings. The advantage of events is that it allows your workforce to enjoy and relax together, building bonds outside the office. An end-of-year party can be managed within a specific budget, from an office lunch to a black-tie affair – with an eye toward your company culture and what's appropriate based on your company's financial performance.

Time Off

Beyond a cash bonus, perhaps the most valued potential gift that you can give employees is time off. Staff want time to spend with their families and friends, enjoy hobbies outside of work, devote time to the holidays or simply rest. Many businesses show their appreciation by giving time off. There are many different approaches to this, from bonus days off during the holidays to a floating day off that employees can use as needed. In other cases, providing time off to your employees is as simple as allowing staff to go home early. Shortened holiday hours are another way to address the desire for time off, without adding to your company's PTO.

Gift Cards or Small Gifts

In other cases, companies are opting to give small gifts to employees. There are numerous ways to approach this. Gift cards are an extremely popular option, such as cards to a major retailer like Amazon or Target. Others choose perishable gifts, from dessert items to fresh fruit. Many HR departments choose branded items that their staff can use, whether it's monogrammed clothing items or a practical gift such as an external hard drive. A small gift shows recognition to your employees without being a major hit to the bottom line.

Taking the time to offer a gift or experience to your employees can help boost morale and show your appreciation. Rewards don't always have to be cash-based. From time off to celebratory parties and creative gifts, there are numerous ways to say thank you to your employees in the season ahead.