If there’s no extra money to go around because of theand no possible way to give employees one day or an afternoon off during this hectic time, then you’re left with two options: gifts and parties.
Parties can be fun and enjoyable for employees and their families, but, as Michael points out, corporate holiday parties run the risk of being events that employees feel forced to attend. There’s also the chance of inappropriate party behavior and the issue of drinking to address.
Because of these issues, we’re going to focus on the gifts route today. Times are tough but there are still plenty of gift options for small business owners. First, we’ll start with tips to help you stay under budget. Then, we’ll offer gift ideas.
How To Stay Under Budget
- Start early. Identify gifts you’re giving early to give yourself plenty of time to shop around and find the best deal.
- Do your homework. Look online before purchasing and compare several companies’ prices.
- Buy in bulk. Often places will give you discounts for purchasing large quantities and might even offer free shipping for large orders.
- Buy in advance. Order items well in advance to avoid high shipping costs if buying online.
Inexpensive Holiday Gifts That Employees Will Love
- Gift cards – Gift cards are the closest thing to cash employees can receive. As we mentioned, cash is what employees really want for the holidays. Even $5 gift cards are appreciated when accompanied with a genuine note from a manager. Plus, an employee would rather have $5 to spend somewhere than a cheap promotional item that will end up in the trash one day.
- Food – Small jars of jams; dry mixes for hot chocolate, cookies, soups, and other desserts; or salsa and chips can make nice gifts as well. Stay away from nuts or other highly allergenic foods.
- Company or department meal – If your budget per person is $10, then a nice company lunch one day – either catered or out of the office – can be a nice alternative to company parties. Employees get a free lunch and don’t have to spend their free time at a party that they may or may not want to attend.
Above all else, make sure the gift is about the employees, not the company. Don’t give them a company-branded bag or promotional item—those have the ulterior motive of promoting the company.
Making Employees Happy – Genuine Thanks
Don’t forget the purpose of holiday gifts — to show your gratitude and appreciation for the work your employees do. A sincere, hand-written thank-you note can have a much more powerful effect than a $100 present.
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