6 Ways To Reward Employees During The Holiday Season When You’re On A Budget

Even if you’re on a budget, you can still do something meaningful for your employees to spread holiday cheer and show how much you value their support.

A few thoughtful acts can remind employees what they mean to your business, and in turn, you’ll be rewarded with a happier team that’s excited to build positive relationships with your customers.

Here are six simple ideas to reward employees during the holiday season: 

Share your smarts.

Teach your team members a new skill or trick of the trade. Get creative — if you own a retail store, consider holding a gift wrapping party where you help employees hone their wrapping skills. Restaurant owners may want to teach their staff how to create the perfect holiday cocktail.

Your employees will learn to do something they couldn’t do before, and you are building their confidence and capability.  Investing in your employees is something you should be doing all year round, but the holidays offer a great opportunity to have some fun with it!

Make music.

The music you decide to play at your business affects how you, your team, and your customers feel. What if you let your team members choose the music and try it out for an hour, or even for a whole day? Allowing them express themselves and take control over something will affect their mood and sense of belonging.

You can even create a playlist with all of your team members’ favorite songs. That way everyone has a chance to hear their song of choice!

Re-gift with flair.

Let’s face it, during the holidays most of us are recipients of well-meaning gifts that don’t really work for us. Rather than going out and buying more stuff that might end up in someone’s re-gifting pile, organize a gathering where everyone brings that perfect gift to exchange in Yankee Swap style. It’s good for the planet, good for morale, and easy on the wallet.

Pen a quick note.

That’s right, using a pen and a piece of paper. In our digital age, handwritten notes show a different level of caring. Craft a simple message that acknowledges something particular someone did that made an impact.

Then, tuck the message where they will undoubtedly discover it, like the sleeve of their coat or under their windshield wiper. Taking a few moments to write down your appreciation can do wonders in making people feel noticed and appreciated.

Give an hour.

Assume the goodwill that results when you enable a team member to pick an hour (honoring your “blackout periods”) where they can take off and take care of something important to them. Not everyone is at liberty to offer time off (with or without pay), but challenge yourself to acknowledge a slow period, or be prepared step in for your hardworking employees.

Time is precious — time is a gift. Think how much it would mean to you if someone said: “This hour’s just for you. Spend it however you want.”

Welcome feedback.

Honestly, what shows more that you care than wanting to hear from your employees and fostering their input? Asking thoughtful questions and listening deeply, without interruption, is an astounding act of generosity. Ensure that your team members’ voices are heard, that you’re working to support them, and you understand what’s important to them.

  • Here are some potential questions to get you started:
  • What is your favorite part of this job?
  • What’s one thing about this job that you think could be better?
  • What could I be doing better to support you?
  • What’s your dream job?
  • What are you favorite things to do outside of work?
  • If you won the lottery and didn’t have to work, what would you miss?
  • You don’t need to break the bank to give something valuable.
  • Whether you offer a holiday bonus or not this year, you need to make the time to reward your employees.
  • Hopefully, these ideas provided some inspiration — try to imagine what matters most to your staff and try to make it happen!
  • Your gifts will come back to you in the form of happier staff and customers in the New Year.

And don’t neglect to thank your customers and supporters this time of year, as well! Sending your mailing list a holiday email will strengthen your business relationships and remind your subscribers how important they are to your success.


Written By: Sue LaChance