October 8, 2013

Let’s Structure A Holiday Gift Program That Really Helps Your Business!

By Paul Bieber

Yes, now is the time to start actively planning the holiday gift program at your company.  Most companies have cut back on this in the last couple of years; our glass industry is no different.  I am hearing that this year was better in many parts of the country and there is renewed optimism.  I hope this is true for every reader here.  Not only do you recognize this, but your employees are probably seeing it too.  Maybe a little more O/T, or  you have a new truck or two.

While most emloyees won’t come to you and directly say, “It’s our turn now,” they are thinking it and hope your hear their thoughts.  So, let’s discuss your holiday gift program.

Many employers use this program to say “Thanks” to their employees as well as to give a holiday gift.  Some employers don’t recognize the need for this annual ritual and don’t spend an extra nickel.  Don’t worry about them as competitors.  They will not attract nor retain high-quality employees.  Some employers are glad to give a gift, but are more focused on how giving this gift will help their employees and by extension, their company.  This is how you get the strongest impact for your gifted dollars.

Let’s build a program for you.  How much do you want to gift this year?  Pick a dollar amount.  It may be an arbitrary amount, or the equivelent to one week’s salary for all folks, or whatever you decide.  Now, don’t backslide and just give everyone one week’s salary.  That rewards the slackers and doesn’t reward the hard workers.  You have the number, let’s say it is $20,000.  (Add as many zeros as your company needs)  Now look at the breakdown of your organization…you have glaziers, shop workers, office and sales. 

Let’s say that the glaziers, as a group, earn $10,000 a week, the shop folks earn $5,000 and the office and sales people earn $5,000.  What happened this year in your business?  Well, the shop workers totally rebuilt the inside of your warehouse, reorganizing the place to make it more effecient.  They did this in addition to their regular work.  So, I reccomend that you start with this plan:  The glaziers get 40% of the budget, the shop workers get 35% and the office gets 25%.  You want to reward the folks that have done the work that has helped your company; that is the key.

Now your budget is:  glaziers, $8,000; shop $7,000 and office $5,000.  Next who are your most reliable workers?  Who are the ones that get things done with the least problems?  Who are the ones that cause the problems?  Who are the ones that make it on time, even when there is a foot of snow?  And who gives you plenty of notice when they need a day off?  This is the time to reward these people.  Give more than one week to the good folks and a lesser amount to the problem creators.  This lets the good people know you acknowledge their work ethic and do appreciate it.  Get your foremen and office manager to help you set each employee’s amount.  Their input is invaluable here.  Let them advise you on who gets more and who gets less.  It will help the supervisors realize who is pulling their weight.

When you give the check to the weaker links, let them know they could have earned more had they done better in certain areas, giving them an incentive to improve.  You do have this detailed in your employee reviews, don’t you?  If not, now is the time to start this for next year, and don’t backslide on this.  Reviews are important for many reasons, the holiday gift is just one of them. 

Remember, your $20,000 gift will probably cost you $25,000 when you add FICA, worker’s comp and any other expenses you have.  A program rewarding the better workers takes time and effort on your part.  It will anger the folks on the downside of the equation.  But, the good workers will really appreciate it, and if you upset some of the folks who are not contributing their full effort, is that really bad?