“I’m not going,” Julie insisted to her husband. “No way.”
She was referring to her company’s annual Christmas party. A non-drinker, she found herself increasingly uncomfortable as the years passed and the parties got rowdier. At the last one, an employee found the chairman’s executive assistant passed out in the restroom of the restaurant.
Giving Christmas gifts employees will really appreciate has become tough for employers in an economic downturn. Many of them have axed personal gifts in favor of a holiday party on the company. And many of these parties, like the ones Julie attended, get out of hand.
Here are some tips for celebrating employees’ contributions with meaningful holiday remembrances:
Cold, hard cash. Due to the economy, many companies have cancelled bonuses typically awarded after yearly performance appraisals and have announced no cost-of-living increases for the upcoming year. These days, especially with health insurance premiums on the rise for both the company and its employees, just about every worker would appreciate holiday cash.
Catered holiday lunch. It can be non-alcoholic and as simple as sandwiches, salad, cookies and sodas or bottled water for $10 to $15 per person, including the gratuity. This is a great way for a company to mark the holidays when their employees are of various faiths. When scheduled for a weekday, it lets employees avoid having to go to the expense of dressing for a more formal occasion. Those really pressed for time can help themselves to some food and return to work after just a short time to socialize.
Starbucks gift card. Lots of health-conscious people now avoid caffeine. However, a trip to Starbucks doesn’t necessarily mean a huge latte. The stores sell bottled water and other goodies. Purchase gift cards at a Starbucks location or here.
Amazon.com card. It completely solves the problem of how to please all employees, especially if the company allows them to redeem their gift cards online at work. They can order anything from DVDs to perfume to the latest techno-gadgets. These cards start as low as $5 and are available here.
Charitable donation. Many employees will appreciate Christmas gifts that are corporate contributions to a charity. This might involve donating to a local homeless shelter or to a charity like the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Time off. Working parents are particularly rushed during the holidays. A thoughtful gift might be an extra half a day off work for all employees. If it’s necessary to have a skeleton crew present, one alternative is to stagger the half days.
Gift with company logo. Some companies like to give their employees Christmas presents that have the corporate logo or name. A great place to find them is Things Remembered, either online or at a local store. One suggestion is a Reflections Premier silver-plated ballpoint pen that can be personalized with the company or the employee name. Its regular retail price if $25. Another is a silver metallic USB optical mouse with an engraved name and address or other message for $20. This retailer typically offers holiday sales.
In addition to giving each employee a corporate holiday remembrance, managers should realize that just a few minutes of their time, chatting one-on-one with each employee they supervise, is an excellent way to spread holiday cheer.