November 30, 2021

It’s the Time of Year to Say Thanks to Your Team

By Paul Bieber

Holiday bonuses. A wonderful pair of words for employees and a tough word for managers and owners to figure out. The most common holiday gift is cash. It’s easy to write the check, the employees can buy whatever they want and on January 1, you’re ready to start again.

It’s a shame that this type of holiday gift won’t give you the best bang for your buck. Someone will pay their electric bill at home, get their car aligned or send the check to their ex-spouse.

If you’re giving big bucks, say more than $1,000, then a check is the way to go. Be sure to take out the appropriate withholdings for your state. If you’re giving a smaller amount, go to a major shopping store in your area, such as a Home Depot or a department store and get $100 gift cards and give the amount you feel an employee has earned. When an employee uses the certificate to buy a TV, or dishes, or whatever, they’ll always think of the company when they use the gift. A $100 gift card actually costs you less than a $100 check, as you’re probably not paying worker’s comp or taxes on the amount. (You should be paying these taxes and taxing the amount given to each employee, but very few people do!) Also, you can probably get a 5% discount from the store for buying a large number of certificates. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

When you decide on what to give each employee, think back on the whole year, not just what happened in the last three months. Take time to think about each person and their contributions to your organization for the last 12 months. This is a holiday gift; it’s not a fiscal year-end profit-sharing contribution. The holiday gift is primarily based on the person’s contributions to your company, not the profit of the company overall. Save that commentary and bonus for the fiscal year-end of your company.

Meet with each person for just a couple of minutes, citing one or two points of their success for the year. This is not the time for corrections in job skills or attitudes. You will not please all of the people. It’s impossible. You know who you won’t please, so get over it in advance. Make an appointment to meet with the “troublemakers” after the first of the year and have a prepared conversation on how they can improve during the coming year. If the employee is a rotten egg, you may want to have a second person with you during this conversation.

Overall, the most important thing is to say thank you to the majority of your employees, whether you have three or 33. This is a day of good cheer and enjoyment.

One last thought, don’t wait until Christmas Eve to give the gift certificates or the money. Most employees will use the gift immediately to buy gifts for the people in their family.