With Thanksgiving on the mind, we’ve been carving out some creative ways that companies can show gratitude to their employees. And by “creative,” we mean that we’re thinking outside of the standard bonus check.
From recognizing exceptional employee performance to providing snacks in the kitchen, there’s a cornucopia of opportunities to show employees you’re grateful for them this season. Here are a few ideas to spark your creativity:
1. Send a personal thank you card.
Alright, this one seems like a leftover idea, but hear us out. We’re starting our list with thank you notes because, when done right, they can have a huge impact. Think about the times an executive sent you a card. Did you keep it? Even if you didn’t, the gesture probably left a positive mark on your experience.
|PRO TIP: Write the note on stationary instead of sending the standard email. This extra step will show that you’re truly grateful for the employee’s efforts. Also, try sending notes outside of the holiday season to really give the recipient some pep in their step.|
2. Cook dinner as a team.
Team bonding is an important step to building a solid company culture, and fortunately, it comes in many forms. Zenefits’ marketing team recently rented a kitchen and split up into groups to work on individual dishes. When everything was ready, we sat around a huge table and talked about what was going on in our lives outside of work.
There are countless ways to approach a team dinner. You can go to someone’s house, rent a space, throw a potluck at the office, or head to a restaurant. Ideally, you’ll take the opportunity to go offsite to take everyone’s minds off of their to-do lists.
3. Give a standing ovation at your next all-hands.
Recognizing an individual employee’s performance in front of the company should happen when a team member does something exceptional. Whether a person set up a volunteer program for staff or just killed it on a recent project, public praise can go a long way in showing gratitude - and in motivating other team members to also aim for excellence.
4. Pay for parking.
It’s not so glamorous, but paying for parking or offering ride-sharing credits shows employees you understand the obstacles that exist before work even begins each day. Work in an area where parking is free? Designate a spot by the office entrance for the employee of the month.
|PRO TIP: Invest in a commuter benefits > program. Not only do commuter benefits programs show employees gratitude, but they also can reduce your company’s payroll tax.|
5. Send employees to a conference.
Yes, conferences can be expensive and they often take employees away from the office for days at a time. But it’s worth it. Conferences motivate, inspire, and give perspective to attendees in a way that videos, books, and articles just can’t.
Choose employees who excel in their roles as a reward for great performance. They’ll get to hear from experts in their industry, and you’ll have an in-house resource on the latest trends.
Related: Employee Benefits: Here’s What Top Talent Wants
6. Bring in guest speakers.
Zenefits regularly schedules experts from a range of industries to come in and speak to the organization about their experiences. This “nice to have” is a great way to take employees out of their standard mindsets, ideally spurring creativity and conversation. When scheduling speakers, aim for a spectrum of personalities, experiences, and perspectives.
This season, take a little extra time to personalize your efforts. Regardless of your budget and time constraints, there are always ways to show employees you’re grateful for them.