While I may be in the minority, I’m not a fan of giving cash at the holidays. Even though conventional wisdom says employees always appreciate cash, employees often forget what they purchased with that cash (Groceries? Gas? A movie? Bills?) and if that happens, they forget you gave them something.
You want to be memorable.
So, here are three tiers of appreciation that will be remembered:
Tier 1- Tell them. Take the employee aside, off the floor and tell them how much you appreciate the job they do. Be specific about one thing that you really either admire about their performance, their work ethic, or how they have helped you grow your business this year. Yes, you have to find time to do this during the busy season but it’s worth it. Bonus points if you also say these things to a parent or spouse when they come in to your shop. If you have too many employees, send your employees who work fewer hours a handwritten note expressing the same appreciation.
Even if we’re talking about a part-timer that will be gone in January, you can still give the gift of appreciation this holiday season. It costs you nothing but gives back tenfold.
If that’s all you did that would be great.
Tier 2-Feed them or give time off. Show them how much you appreciate them by buying the staff lunch or dinner during a busy day. Offer to work the closing shift so your manager can go home and be with his/her family. Or have a breakfast meeting at a local restaurant for all your employees.
Tier 3– Gift them. If you want to gift them, consider something other than cash. There’s a reason so many employers give turkeys or hams during the holidays. Its because when that ham or turkey is served, the employee will let everyone know of their boss' generosity. This goes a long way to making it an "us" rather than a "them" with your staff.
You want to hit it out of the park for an exceptional crew? You do all three.
What have you used that you felt really was memorable and appreciated?