The end of the year is a great time to reflect upon the successes of your business and show your employees how much you appreciate their hard work and dedication. While Christmas bonuses are a common way to reward your employees, it important to consider other methods of showing your appreciation. Implementing programs that empower your employees, provide them with a voice and offering real connections are a few ways to make your business stand out.

Create a holiday tradition

Creating a holiday tradition to show employee appreciation doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. If your business has had a successful year, certainly the holidays are a great time to share in that success by throwing a safe office holiday party. Some years may be more challenging and not quite as successful, but a tightened budget doesn’t mean that a holiday tradition can’t be started or continued. Big company-wide parties can be replaced with smaller team-based holiday traditions. Whether it’s secret Santa, group volunteering, a team lunch or even just getting out of the work place for an afternoon celebration, giving employees the opportunity to celebrate the holidays and end-of-year with their co-workers is a great way to show employee appreciation. Having an ongoing tradition gives them something to look forward to for the years to come.

Start a peer-to- peer recognition program

Think beyond the holiday season and look ahead to the New Year and ways you can show appreciation every month. While we all like to be recognized for our hard work and dedication, especially when we go the extra mile to ensure success, it matters where that recognition comes from. Management isn’t always in tune with the day-to-day details and successes that are going on between team members. That’s why it’s a good idea to implement a recognition program that allows employees to formally recognize each other for hard work. Once an employee has been nominated by their co-workers, you can provide a gift or recognition on a larger scale. According to a research report by Globoforce, companies with peer-to-peer recognition are 35% more likely to report lower turnover!

Give employees a voice

It’s important to listen to your employees. Whether they’re the highly engaged hard worker or they suffer from low engagement, employees probably have a lot on their mind. They may have questions to ask or opinions they want to voice but are apprehensive about expressing them in a public space. Giving them the opportunity to have their voices heard, anonymously if requested, helps show them that you not only appreciate their hard work, but are actively listening to their concerns. You’ll also get the chance to address concerns that you might have not been aware of.

Add some personal touch

All sorts of communications have been “personalized” without being authentic, like that automated e-mail or social media message that is coded “Hello

[first name]”. It’s easy to see through. If one of your employees is being recognized for going above and beyond, write or speak to him or her directly. Taking the time to write and personally deliver a hand-written note of appreciation goes a long way compared to a hastily typed e-mail. In the always-on business culture of non-stop electronic communications, a truly personalized and authentic message will resonate with your employees.

Be flexible

Offering flexible work hours and providing work-life balance is a top concern for Millennial employees, even more so than career progression, but thinking about providing flexibility to your employees can be helpful across the board. Developing a policy where workers can begin and end their day at different times, as long as they complete their work successfully, can let them develop a schedule that’s easier for their life. This is especially true if your employees have long commutes and want to beat traffic, or if they have children at home they need to get to school. Alternatively, allowing a tele-commuting or work-from-home schedule on set days can also be very helpful. Studies have shown that allowing more flexibility results in happier and more productive employees!

Showing employee appreciation is a critical part of running a successful business because it helps create a supportive work environment that can lead to better engagement, retention and productivity. And as an added bonus, having a highly engaged workforce can make your business stand out for potential employees in the future!

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.