Traditionally, the months of December and January are the time of year when companies take the time to show their appreciation for employees through holiday parties, bonuses or profit-sharing cheques, and gifts.
As many organizations are opting out of hosting big holiday parties in favour of smaller get togethers or virtual or hybrid affairs, it’s important to put in extra effort to show your employees that their continued hard work this year hasn’t gone unnoticed.
In any given year, one important consideration when selecting employee appreciation gifts is budget.
The ongoing pandemic and resulting financial crisis means that many companies are working within a limited budget, or have no money to spend at all on employee appreciation initiatives.
If you do have a budget, divide it up equally and spend the same amount on each employee (or consider purchasing the same gift). No budget at all? No problem. Thoughtful holiday cards from your CEO and each employee’s manager or supervisor are a great and sincere way to give a personal gift to each employee and thank them for their hard work over the last year.
The way to an employee’s heart might just be through their stomach.
Offer gift cards for meal delivery services, such as Doordash or Skip the Dishes, or local restaurants. This is a great way to help support employees who may be struggling with isolation and the stress of preparing home-cooked meals. It also helps support local businesses.
Many restaurants are still struggling to stay afloat, with seated diners having declined. According to Fond, “while this decline is necessary for the safety of public health, restaurants need to take drastic measures to stay afloat while they wait to reopen dining rooms. Gift cards and takeout orders are how they are staying in business”.
Meal delivery gift cards also offer flexibility to let you give as much—or as little—as you can to each employee towards a free meal.
A company cookbook is another fun way to show your appreciation through food.
Ask each employee to contribute a favourite holiday recipe and compile them together in a cookbook to distribute. You can get it printed and bound professionally, or go for a more cost effective option (i.e. free!) and share it as a PDF.
A company cookbook also allows your employees to get to know one another better through special family recipes.
Hosting a virtual Secret Santa is easier than it sounds. This is a fun way for employees to show their appreciation for one another.
You can use an application such as Elfster to set a budget, determine who shouldn’t get certain people (e.g. for teams that don’t work closely together), and give participants the option to create wishlists.
Participants then share their mailing address, so all anyone needs to do is pick what they want to get for their giftee and send it off to them. You can then host a gift opening where everyone opens their gifts over Zoom or Meet.
Another affordable employee appreciation gift idea is offering extra time off over the holidays.
While offering additional time off doesn’t necessarily work for everyone or every organization, it does show that you appreciate your employees’ hard work and understand that they may need a break or more time to spend with family, virtually or in-person.
Affordable employee appreciation gifts don’t have to be expensive—just expressive. A thoughtful gift that shows employees you value their hard work can go a long way in ensuring employees feel appreciated.