The Christmas holidays are the best time to appreciate your employees for their hard work and dedication over the year and end it on a happy note. Even if not all of your employees celebrate Christmas, celebrating the end of a calendar year is a significant event. But sometimes it is best to look beyond the ‘traditional’ Christmas incentives such as yearly bonuses or an office party. Traditional Christmas rewards like food and wine no longer hold value to employees. A research done on their choice of gift shows that they prefer to be offered monetary benefits and feel motivated by items that are personalized or technological.

Mentioned below are some tips for spreading some festive cheer

1.Set the ‘Stage’
Come November end and flocks of people are seen shopping in anticipation of Christmas and New Years. The HR departments get busy trying to figure how to go about the celebrations this year around. Nothing screams Christmas like a well decorated Christmas tree. You can also surprise them with an office decoration competition – whatever you do, just make sure you put the effort in. This encourages your staff to get involved with putting up decorations and get into the Christmas spirit.

2.High Incentives- High Spirits
Another technique of kicking up your sales and the employees spirits is offering incentives to your employees. Employers can offer great sales incentives in December to encourage a good year end push to meet sales targets. This could be anything that goes a little further than what you’d provide during the rest of the year. Rather than something that employees can redeem instantly – which will be forgotten by the time the holidays are over – consider using something a little more long-term as an incentive. Something that is memorable and meaningful to employees. Travel vouchers, hotel stays or passes to events to use in the new year will be a great motivator that continues to inspire staff loyalty in the future.

3.Their choice matters
It is proving to be a good idea these days to give employees a gift voucher. This not only lets them choose the incentive, but it also opens up a wide range of choice as to which retailer or service provider the employer will decide to offer the employees. An increase in trend towards gift vouchers from e-stores that allows the customers to choose from options such as supermarkets, department stores, multiple stores or even experiential vouchers. Traditional gifts such as turkeys, Christmas puddings and hampers were popular a while ago, but there has been a recent shift in trend of gifting in the past few years.

Another added benefit of employees being involved in the choice of Christmas gifting is letting them know that you care about them and their preferences. This is the new trend, to give staff something with more flexibility to choose what they really want.

Personalizing gift vouchers for employees from one store shows you’ve taken the time to choose a gift for him/her. It is extremely important for the employer to let his employees know that they are valued.

4.Holiday enticement
The gift of time is a popular way of rewarding staff at Christmas with a number of employers giving a day or half-day as holiday to staff, to spend time with friends or family, or even to prepare for their Christmas feast. Social interaction at outings organized for the team members with various activities can prove to be a great way of boosting team morale as well.

A great example of a company that respects and celebrates its employee’s would be Raheja Constructions. To keep their employees engaged and happy they have adopted the motto of keeping the happiness of their employees at the top. They organize team lunches during important festivals, and the families of all the team members are also invited to these events. This allows the employees to enjoy the festivities along with their family.

The festival of Christmas is about getting together and celebrating whatever the age or religion of the employee. Employee demographic across all spectrum should be recognized and their needs should be considered.

5.Festive finances
A reasonable way to incentivize the employees during Christmas is handing out cash. But it loses value if given along with the salary as it doesn’t have as much as an impact and can become taxable too. Employers need to be giving their workers something that’s a little bit more of a memorable treat rather than an event that is forgotten very quickly.

Though few employers still want to treat their staff to the traditional Christmas party or a team lunch to save money. Parties during Christmas need not be heavily budgeted. Simple innovative ideas and clever organization of these events goes a long way in bringing festive cheer to the employees. A small gesture, a simple gift is a great motivational incentive that any employee would expect from his higher ups.

According to research done regarding gifts for employee’s , the popularity of the seasonal soirée is depleting among them. A whopping 92% of employees would rather receive a cash bonus at Christmas than have a party.

6.Personal service
An employer does not always have the budget nor the resources to offer bonuses or gifts at Christmas. It is therefore important to keep up communications to help dispel any assumptions or expectations employees might have in this case. It can be really counterproductive to them if that anticipated bonus check never comes thus making it necessary to keep employees in the loop.

To promote motivation levels of the employees sometimes during the holiday period it is great to personalize the greetings of the season. It doesn’t have to be anything that costs money. A simple but heartfelt thank you to the employees for their hard work and dedication through the holiday season can go a long way in boosting their morale. A face to face interaction helps in giving a personal touch and gets your appreciation across to the employees.

For many employers Christmas can be the busiest time of the year even though it is generally considered as a time of giving.

Therefore asking the staff what they would like, instead of wasting time and money on gifts that would not be memorable to them and will be forgotten as soon as the festivities are over, is a better solution.

Asking the employees to write down their own Christmas wish list let’s them know that we as a company will listen to your needs. We’re not talking about gifts necessarily, but rather let them have their say on what would be most beneficial to them over the festive period. A unified decision regarding shortened work hours or an extra day off if they manage to meet deadlines is a key to gain the confidence and trust of the employees and make them realize that the management listens and cares about them. Employers need not be always motivated by cash incentives. Instead they can be motivated by being recognized for their work and appreciation for a job well done, flexible work schedule and of course promotions!

Rather than trying to impose their decisions regarding the festive celebrations on their employees, bosses can take a back seat and let the employees lead the way thus making them feel responsible and in the process prescribe a Christmas reward that everybody wants. Not only will this raise morale simply from the perspective that you took the time to think about what people would like – it also ultimately provides staff with a Christmas reward that they prefer.

7.Let them let off steam!
Everyone may not celebrate Christmas and some might not even enjoy the festivities. At the same time some go overboard and all out thus spreading the festive bug. It could be a personal choice or due to religious beliefs, some people would not want to join you to celebrate. And that is completely okay. Forcing someone who isn’t keen on being a part of a Christmas lunch or party is not the right way to celebrate. But one would not hesitate to say that festive fever is contagious too. Seeing someone enthusiastic can send the onlooker into the same mode. Make sure you keep their preferences in mind before planning group activities.
Understand that no two people are the same and respect everyone’s personal preferences and beliefs around the end of the year.

8.Goodies and sweets
Enjoying the christmas day with a best possible and well laid exotic dishes is the all awaited event. People do tend to over-indulge a bit traditionally during Christmas, and a great way to get on the good side of your employees is by giving them the best gift there is to give, chocolates and pies! Feed them all the mince pies and tarts you can as this is a great way of spreading some Christmas cheer. Exchange of well thought of gifts and surprises and best of all receiving a gift that you always were dreaming of, is god sent. Bringing a smile on the employees face is a joy to watch.

9.Use of technology
The advancement of technological resources has brought about a revolution in the gifting world. Employers are using digital resources to incentivise staff at Christmas such as e-coupons or online gift cards. Incentives that are web-based are great because people are more into buying things digitally these days.
The use of technology has become more prevalent across the board. A decade ago nobody would have thought that paper voucher-orientated gifts would be taken over by the e-gift and e-cards to reflect a similar solution to how people like to shop.

Even though e-mails or e-vouchers are not as effective as employers may believe. They may seem comparatively easier to personalized notes and gift cards but the overall outcome is less effective to charm the employees. Seeing their elated faces is the ultimate goal of any organization.

To summarize it is essential to let employees know that you know them and their preferences. So Christmas gifting can become a menial task and an expensive one at that, especially for an organization with a large number of employees. But if done correctly, gifting can become the best way to lift the spirit of your employees and make the most of the opportunity. Knowing the preferences of employees for example some who like coffee can be given vouchers to their favorite coffee outlets. Or if someone likes books he/she can be given vouchers for bookstores.If employers are not sure what to gift their employees it is better to let them choose as nobody likes getting a gift they can’t use. Prepaid debit cards and voucher cheques are a very simple way to provide your staff with a spending limit that they can use anywhere they please. In this way without disappointing anyone everyone can get something they love.

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