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5 holiday gift ideas that will have your employees feeling valued

(EDITORIAL) The holidays are a great time to foster internal camaraderie and team spirit within your staff, including making your employees feel valued.

Office Holiday Party: Being valued idea 1.

The holidays are a great time to foster the internal camaraderie and team spirit within your staff. One of the best ways to do this is by making your employees feel valued. There are many different ways to do this. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling.

Start with the Right Questions

Before we discuss specific ideas, it’s important to start by asking the right questions. A few of the most important include:

What is your budget? Do you have a certain amount of time, money, or other resources that you can commit?

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What are your employee’s shared interests? Make sure not to hone in on what would make one or two members of your staff happy at the expense of the interests of others.

Are you working in person or remotely? The current state of your office post-pandemic (remote, hybrid, or in-person) can have a big impact on how you show your employee appreciation.

Alright, once you’ve set some parameters, review the list of ideas below for some employee-focused holiday fun. And before you assume that these are boilerplate recommendations, think again. Sure, they revolve around common themes such as gifts and gestures, but each one focuses on a different creative or practical element that is ideal for the post-pandemic work environment. Oh, and don’t feel like you have to follow each option to the letter, either. Instead, use them as jumping-off points. Tailor them to your particular situation.

Two people looking at laptop in office for wrapping gifts.

Okay, ready? Let’s do this!

1. Brew Up a Classic

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If you’re after a gift option and want to keep it simple, you can’t go wrong with coffee. A bag of coffee beans has near-universal appeal.

If you’re a smaller operation, you can even address each employee’s selection individually. If certain individuals don’t drink coffee, feel free to tailor the gift. Opt for tea or hot chocolate for the coffee-averse.

Coffee is also a good gift that adapts to the current times, as well. If you’re back in the office having in-person workdays, you can give your employees a bag of high-quality coffee right at their desks.

However, if you find that your teamis working remotely from different areas, you can adjust. Look for a good coffee subscription to send your employees. You can even pick one that is adjustable so that your employees can choose their own preferences.

Coffee being porched from pitcher into cup on table: Valued idea 1.

2. Get Something Silky

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The next item on this list is great for any boss or team leader looking to find an out-of-the-box idea. Something silky is a great gift option for a few different reasons:

Silk is a diverse material that is used in everything from pillowcases and pajamas to scarfs and even eye masks.

There are many benefits of silk, such as helping with anti-aging or skin hydration. This gives it the appeal of a thoughtful gift.

Silk adds a certain luxurious aspect to any gift. If you give your employees a silk-themed gift, it can add a certain sense of finesse to a normal gift item.

Silk may not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to classic gifts. However, its trending appeal, many benefits, and variety of uses make it a unique way to show your employees that you care.

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3. Give Some Time

If you feel like you don’t want to go the physical “gift” route, you can always opt for something even more valuable: time. Consider giving your employees an extra day or two off around the holidays this year.

By shutting down your business around the holiday season, you can show your employees that you value their time with their families.

Removing your business from your employees’ lives for a little longer can be less splashy on the surface. However, it can pay you back with interest in the form of loyalty and goodwill toward you as an employer.

4. Give Thanks and Shout-Outs

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One of the simplest ways to give your employees a sense of value is to state it. Directly. To their face — or at least a computer screen during a Zoom call.

There are a couple of ways that you can do this. First, there’s the general “thank you” approach. This doesn’t have the same instant impact as a bag of coffee beans or a silk scarf. Nevertheless, the simple act of thanking your employees for their hard work can do wonders on their morale and their perspective of their workplace.

The other option is to engage in direct shout-outs. These should be targeted and specific. Don’t single out Larry and then start talking about how he’s “just been such a good worker and a great guy all these years.”

Instead, find real ways that each employee has impacted your company in a positive way. Then start dropping these shout-outs at random times to cultivate that happy, satisfied feeling amongst your employees.

Multi-member Zoom call on a Apple Mac laptop with a blue mug of black coffee next to it: Valued idea #4.

5. Do Something Together

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Sometimes the best way to make someone feel valued is to spend time with them …outside of the workplace. If you feel that your team can use some fun social time together, look for a way to do something as a group.

Now, there are a few things to take into consideration here. First, try to do this on company time without disrupting workflow (i.e. plan ahead) if you can. It’s a tall order. But if you ask your employees to give up their valuable free time — around the holidays, no less — the request is going to come across as an inconvenience rather than an appreciative gesture.

It’s also important to adapt this “group activity” mentality to your circumstances. For example, if you’re all together, go out for a meal, head to a bowling alley, go to the movies, or even volunteer in the community.

If you’re working remotely, set up a group watch party session where everyone can tune in together to enjoy a holiday classic. You could also set up a time to play some online interactive games together over a Zoom call.

Two people in an office prepping to wrap gifts.

There are plenty of ways to show your employees some appreciation this holiday season. You can show your recognition through tangible gifts like coffee or silk. You can acknowledge your staff through shout-outs and verbal thanks. You can show them that you care through extra time off or even a group activity or an online game night. Whatever makes them feel the most valued!

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Whatever you choose, make sure to remember those criteria questions. Don’t follow your own interests or the desires of a few. Consider what gift or activity will truly make your entire staff feel valued and seen this holiday season. That way, you can start next year with everyone in a positive, healthy, engaged state of mind.

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. When he's not consulting, glued to a headset, he's working on one of his many business projects. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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