As Thanksgiving approaches, the holiday rush starts to set in. You're so busy keeping up with your business and planning for the holidays that you might forget to say thank you to some of the most important people in your life: your employees. After all, you couldn’t stay in business without them. Try these ideas for expressing your gratitude this year.
- Give employees comp time. How about half a day off the day before Thanksgiving (or, better yet, the whole day off?) Employees who are traveling for Thanksgiving or hosting a feast will be grateful to have an extra day.
- Put it in writing. Buy Thanksgiving greeting cards and write a personal note in each one thanking each employee for what they've done for your business this year. Be specific: "Your hard work and willingness to stay late really made a difference in getting our orders out early this spring." Employees will appreciate you taking the time to handwrite a note.
- Say it with food. If your team is working extra hard this time of year, try bringing in treats every day for a week — bagels Monday morning, ice cream Tuesday afternoon, gourmet coffee Wednesday morning, afternoon snacks on Thursday and a catered lunch on Friday. It's a nice way to show your appreciation while also energizing your staff.
- Feed the family. Speaking of food, why not help your employees prepare for Thanksgiving by giving them gift cards to a local supermarket chain? They'll welcome the boost to their holiday meal budget.
- Give out gift cards. Buy gift cards in small denominations for places everyone likes, like Starbucks or Amazon, and keep them handy. Single out employees who do something outstanding and reward them on the spot with a gift card. Be sure the rest of the team knows about it, too.
- Invest in their development. Small businesses don't always have lots of room to move up the career ladder, but employees still want to learn and grow in their jobs. Reward them by sending them to an industry conference or seminar, or footing the bill for them to get a certification that will help them in their work.
- Consider giving cash bonuses early. Even if your employees expect an annual bonus at the end of the year, they may not expect one now. A little extra cash can make a big difference to their holiday shopping budgets. You can give out part of the bonus now and part of it in December if you don't want to eliminate the holiday tradition.
- Have fun together. Don't let the company holiday party be the only time your team celebrates as a group. Plan a casual but fun activity after work, like meeting up for karaoke or going ice-skating. Enlist your employees to help come up with ideas, give them a budget to work with, and let them organize the outing.