Black Friday and Cyber Monday came and went, and the holidays are fast approaching. That means a few things are guaranteed – busy malls, festive parties, and holiday cheer in the office. The holidays provide a great opportunity to reward your team for a year of hard work. Here’s how to thank your team during the holiday season – hopefully it keeps them focused on the tasks at hand right up to Christmas Eve:
Throw a holiday party, no matter how small. As soon as the snow starts falling it’s inevitable that you’ll get a barrage of holiday party invites in your inbox. Most of them involve hundreds of people, open bar, food passed on silver trays, and hip venues. But when your team is small and resources are limited, it’s not always possible (or plausible) to throw a holiday bash. If you have a small team consider having a team holiday night where you have dinner and drinks, or do something fun in your city like catch a comedy show or sporting event. It’s a great way to celebrate and make employees feel valued without spending thousands of dollars on a holiday bash. Just remember to offer employees a taxi ride home if they’re planning to have any drinks.
Open your office doors. An inexpensive way to celebrate the holidays with clients and employees is to throw an office open house. By spending a little bit of money on drinks and snacks, you can plug in your iPod and have people drop in and out all night. It’s a great chance to talk about 2012 planning with clients, thank your loyal customers, and give your employees a chance to mingle and celebrate. If your employees have children, consider holding it on a weekend and giving away toys.
Get creative with employee gifts. One advantage of having a smaller staff is the ability to get creative with holiday gifts. You don’t have to buy a branded umbrella or coffee mug; rather you can buy things specific to your employees’ tastes. Last year Sprouter’s founder Sarah Prevette decided to get our three employees her version of Oprah’s Favourite Things. She gave us each a tote bag filled with things she loved and knew we would too – a season of our favourite TV show; her favourite wine and glasses; her favourite book; etc. It was thoughtful, creative, and I still use many of the items today (especially the season of Glee).
Give a chance to give back. Many employees have favourite charities or causes, and the holiday season is a perfect time to support them. Since an employee charity drive won’t necessarily raise thousands of dollars with a small staff, give the gift of time instead. Give employees an afternoon off to volunteer with their favourite charity, or plan a team outing together at the local food bank. Or take a different approach and attend a holiday charity event like HoHoTO as a team – you can support a great cause (the Daily Bread Food Bank) while getting down.
Give employees flexible time off. The holiday season is busy with family get-togethers, vacations and events. With a smaller business there’s an opportunity to be flexible with the time you give employees off. Consider shutting down the office between Christmas and New Years and allowing employees to work from home for specific days, or give each person a certain number of days off during the holidays and let them plan accordingly. There’s no better gift than the gift of a lazy day by the fire drinking eggnog.
The holiday season doesn’t mean you have to shut down for weeks at a time, it just means you have to respect employees’ personal commitments and schedule. Find a way to balance time off with company priorities, and above all remember that at a small business your team is everything, so thank them in any way you can.
This post is brought to you by American Express Canada. Check out their new Amex for Business Canada Facebook page here for the latest news, information and resources for Canadian small business owners.
Image credit: thevibeagency.wordpress.com