10 Gifts That Really Show Employees You Appreciate Them
The holidays are filled with so much to do and so little time. This is a time where we hunt for gifts and special ways to tell the people in our lives that we appreciate them and all they have done. How can you give your employees a gift that honors a year’s worth of their time, energy and hard work?
We offer these 10 gifts for you to give to your employees as a way of saying, “Thank you,” “I see you,” “I appreciate you,” “You are a gift.” And know that when we give these kinds of gifts, we are gifted back one-hundred-fold.
We have carefully cultivated these from "Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay."
Enjoy! And happy holidays, whatever you celebrate!
1. Honor Their Families
How often did they have to choose between their family and their work this year?
Whether it was their spouse, children, cats, dogs or community there were times when those dearest to your employees' hearts had to be ignored or sacrificed for the work deadline.
Get creative with new ways to support your people in balancing or blending their work and their life.
2. Water Where They Are Planted
The biggest goals start right where you are, so design exciting growth challenges inside of their routine work. Listen with keen interest to their new and creative ideas — and then implement them. Delegate meaningful parts of your job, developing their ability to take more autonomy and authority. Invite them to a meeting that will expose them to new ideas, an expanded view of the organization, and important people in the organization.
3. Seek, See and Seize It
Having a goal feeds your soul. It inspires and drives you forward in positive ways. Goals help us grow and shine. Guide your people to have several career development goals. When they have more than one new possibility, hope and excitement replaces boredom and despair.
Related Article: The Season Is Always Right to Practice Gratitude
4. Charge Their Careers
How are you helping to grow their future? Clear space for them in their busy calendars to take action on their career growth.
Notice when they light up and find out why. Then put them on a project where they can do more of that.
Ask them what talents or skills they have that you might not know about, then give them the opportunity to use those. Ask them about their “impossible dreams” and help them take a few small steps in that direction.
5. Make Meaningful Connections
Who would you love to link together? A priceless introduction can be a gift of a lifetime.
It could be two people you connect. Or you could connect your employee to another part of the organization, an interest group, a special project, a learning opportunity, or an understanding of how their work contributes to the whole.
Give them linking leverage.
6. Go Ahead, Break Some Rules!
So much has been up in the air since COVID hit. Now is a great opportunity rethink any of the rules that seem to be hampering your employee.
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What would happen if every member of your team came to work focused on finding solutions and creating better results?
Ask your employees to share what silly rules get in their way. Hold a rule-busting meeting to bust those silly rules, systems, processes and procedures that no longer work. And give them to power to redesign things so they do work.
Related Article: What Happens When Employees Lose Their Fear?
7. Work Requires Wellness
Mental, emotional, physical and even spiritual fitness is a requirement for a healthy and vital workplace.
What fitness gift can you give this season? Take the time to really listen to what your employee is saying. Be curious and compassionate.
Take meaningful actions. Watch your tone of voice, body language, and timing so you don’t do unwitting damage. Give them unexpected time off to take a walk, be with their friend, meditate or pray.
8. Breathe Life Into Someone’s Potential
Do you know someone who would be a great mentor for your employee? Go on, introduce them! Or take a mentor-break and tell them stories of your journey that will instruct, inform and inspire ... “Here is how I got to where I am.” “Here’s what I learned really counts in this organization.” “What I know now that I wish I knew then.” “What surprised me about the culture.” Take off your manager hat and mentor your people. Your stories hold so many great gifts for others.
9. Recognition Is the Best Gift You Can Give
It’s always a gift. The one thing that builds trust more than anything is recognition. Think about the last time someone gave you a heartfelt “thank you.” Didn’t it make your day? Trophies, trinkets and monetary rewards are great, but not the only way. Get creative. Give them a gift of time freedom, or the opportunity to demonstrate their greatness to those that matter. Surprise them with praise, like, “you are right on the mark with that!”
Here are a few sentence starters for you: “You can be proud of yourself for ...” or “What an effective way to ...” or “You really got my attention with ....”
Related Article: How to Develop a Feedback System That Actually Helps Your Team
10. Tune In, Connect and Respect
The best managers are all great listeners. They are genuinely curious and interested in an employee’s ideas and point of view. If you ever had a manager like this, you know what a gift it is. They value you and what you have to contribute. They wonder what you might want and need, and they help you get it.
Take the time this season to really, really listen. Listen to truly understand that unique, amazing, one-of-a-kind (even if quirky) employee.
So, there you have it, 10 free and priceless gifts you can give to your employees that will keep on giving (to them and back to you) straight into the next year.
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About the Author
Dr. Beverly Kaye is recognized internationally as one of the most knowledgeable and practical professionals in the areas of career development, employee engagement and retention.