Is your company on track to make extra revenue in 2022? Then, it’s time to consider how you will reward your employees for their hard work. To retain employees and continue your great success, it’s essential that your team feels valued and like they belong.
We know we belong when someone notices us or does something special that is personal. One year my boss asked every person what their favorite candy bar was. Throughout the year, here and there, a 3 Muskatees or an Almond Joy would show up on my desk. I’d look over at the boss — our eyes would meet, and he’d give a thumbs up. Then I knew that he’d noticed my Herculean effort the day before. That seemingly small effort meant more than I could ever adequately express.
Another time a boss flew in from out of town to work out of our West coast office. He handed me a large paper-sized leather-bound book with copy paper inside. The book had my initials on the front cover. I still have it, love it, and write in it — thinking of his thoughtfulness every time.
It’s not enough to offer standard benefits and paid time off — but that candy bar fixed many things through the years. Likewise, my leather-bound writing book with my initials on it makes up for and fixes many things that have gone on before. So keep your eyes open for opportunities this year. By doing so, you offer a finer look into leadership and how your team can conduct their lives and relationships with others.
What can you do that will lift and reward your team?
How will you show your employees that they are cared for after a year of big wins? Most people will want to know that they are essential to the company’s success. Here are 11 ways to show your employees appreciation.
1. Give Special Swag
Your employees probably already have mugs and pens with your logo. However, they may not have a nice embroidered jacket with the company’s name. Show your employees your appreciation by gifting a particular swag item — something you only give to unique clients. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Ditch the bumper stickers and get creative with a practical, customized battery pack to charge their devices or something similar. Try harder this time to make it something they’ll use.
2. Offer Financial Appreciation
When in doubt, a monetary bonus or a raise is a great gesture. While it doesn’t have to be a significant increase, a little bump in their annual salary will keep them engaged. Showing your appreciation financially can prove to your employees that you don’t just care about the bottom line. If salary raises aren’t doable, consider bonuses for your team. Money is a pretty sweet thank you.
3. Contribute to Their 401(k)
Contributing to your team’s 401(k) can be a tremendous end-of-year bonus. If you’re looking for extra incentive, this profit-sharing method is tax-deductible to employers. End-of-year 401(k) contributions can benefit the employee more than a direct bonus payment. If you’re looking for a gift that keeps giving, you may just find it in this profit share contribution. Decide as a leadership team if this is the right move for your business.
4. Be Charitable
Offering a financial contribution to your employees’ favorite charity is a great way to show your appreciation for their hard work. Many people have organizations that are near and dear to their hearts for one reason or another. To make the process fair and simple, have your team vote on which organizations you will donate to. This is also a great way to engage your company in corporate responsibility efforts.
5. Provide Extra Time Off
If your employees have been hustling in quarter four, they’ve likely been putting in a few extra hours. To thank them for their hard work, consider offering additional PTO. Whether it’s a mandated company quiet day or a floating holiday to use as they wish, your team will be grateful. You could even initiate a new PTO day for 2023 — a birthday day. Try allowing employees an additional day off to celebrate their birthdays next year to say ‘thanks.’
If you don’t want to wait until next year, consider closing the office for a mental health day. Some employees are super dedicated to their work. They may not be actively taking their PTO, let alone an additional mental health day. Creating a mandatory day off for your employees will show that you value them as people first. Protecting your team’s mental health will only lead to more productivity long term.
6. Encourage Development
With a high-achieving team comes a desire to learn and grow. If this sounds like your staff, they may value personal or professional development stipends. Personal development may look like taking a painting class to learn a new hobby. At the same time, professional development may take an online coding course to grow in their career. Whatever the case, allow your staff flexibility and creativity to learn something new to bring back to your organization.
7. Host a Team Event
If your team is primarily in-person, consider hosting an event to rally everyone together. This could be a nice dinner or a fun night out on the town. It could be mini-golfing or an on-site concert. Regardless of your budget, be sure to be mindful of your audience and make everyone feel included. If food is involved, check with your employees for allergies and unique accommodations. The little things will make your team feel seen and cared for.
Even with a remote team, you can still host fun virtual events. For example, try throwing an end-of-year celebration online. Deliver party boxes to your staff filled with treats. Play competitive games to build team spirit. There are endless things you can do with an online crew. You may just have to get creative!
8. Pay for Subscriptions
If your team happens to be primarily remote, try offering subscriptions as an appreciation tactic. With countless streaming services and various apps that cost, there’s a lot to choose from. Create a list of subscription services and let your employees decide which they’d like. Think about a diverse group of subscriptions like DoorDash, Uber, HBO, Spotify, or Headspace.
Giving your team the autonomy to choose their gift will feel extra special. For example, some may choose to sign up for a meal kit service or a mental health app. Whatever your employees choose, they’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness in ensuring it is useful.
9. Give a Gift Card
With hybrid teams across the country, leadership can’t go wrong with sending a gift card. Virtual gift cards simplify the process by sending them straight to the recipients’ work inboxes. If you have a small team, get creative and send a gift card to a local restaurant. Consider gifting a delivery service gift card if you’re working with a large-scale operation.
Keep it simple and valuable. A Starbucks gift card is a quick and easy way to say, “I’m thankful for you,” without breaking the bank. Whatever your budget, make sure the gift card is relevant to the recipient. You don’t want to give a vegetarian and gift certificate to an all-you-can-eat steakhouse.
10. Cover Transportation Costs
Gas prices and public transportation costs are on the rise. As more employees turn to remote work, show appreciation to your commuters by covering their transportation costs. Whether a gas gift card or a pre-paid train pass, your commuting employees will notice your attention to their needs. Keeping an in-person workforce is complicated in 2022. Show your commuters you care.
11. Upgrade Equipment
Creating an environment that promotes productivity is another way to show your employees appreciation. If technology needs updating, start there. Outdated and slow computers can create barriers to efficiency. Spend your extra revenue on a system or program your employees have asked for. Oddly, this will add to your employees’ success in the future.
In addition to technology upgrades, think about what could make the office more comfortable and inviting. Consider offering stipends to make your staff’s offices cozier in traditional or remote workplaces. Allow them to spend it on what they see fit. Whether it’s an ergonomic chair, an extra monitor, or a standing desk, your team can work smarter.
Remember, one size does not fit all when it comes to appreciation. Before spending your hard-earned dollars, be sure that you know your employees well. It can’t hurt to provide options for them to choose from. Either way, your efforts will not go unnoticed, and your team will be ready to dive into 2023.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Belle Co; Pexels; Thank you!