But how do you show your staff how thankful you are for them? Sure you can give them a canned ham or tin of turkey-shaped cookies, but why not go all out this year to let them know just how special they really are? Some may require an expenditure, but some are things that don't necessarily cost a penny. Let's take a look at ten ways you can show your thanks.
1. Short work day (or extra vacation day)
If this is something in your power to grant (and you're not bound by a corporate policy), this one is easy. Nothing is appreciated more than a bit of extra R&R. This could be either before or after the holiday – but anything to give a bit of extra time with family and loved ones. It will be important to make sure all work is complete before this is allowed – but don't turn this into "You get X if you get Y done" because that dilutes the whole meaning behind the "gift".
2. Go the extra mile
If you're looking for the best way to show your co-workers and staff how thankful you are, especially at holiday crunch-time, work even harder than usual or volunteer to help out with a project that needs a boost. Naturally, the concern with this is that it could set a precedent you might not be able to live up to year 'round – and you can't really say, "This is just for the holiday!" But if you really want to show your co-workers how thankful you are to be a part of "the team," you'll go the extra mile year 'round. Sorry, for the added pressure.
3. Buying power
If your company has the ability to offer discounted purchasing on various goods, open that buying power up to the staff during the holiday. Everyone is looking for ways to cut costs at this time of year, and being able to purchase a few extra items through a company account would certainly fit that bill. Just use discretion when doing this to make sure you aren't breaking any rules with your accounts.
4. Catered lunch
Everyone likes a free lunch – literally. So much of this holiday centers around eating, why not show your staff how much you appreciate them by having a catered lunch brought into the office. Just make sure to go the extra mile (hint) and not have pizza or wings delivered. Do this up right and you'll have a very happy staff returning from the holiday (barring drama at home).
5. Group gift
During my long career as an actor, one of the traditions was for the cast to get the director an opening night gift. This was a great way to show a collective appreciation. This gifting goes both ways – all of management could get together and offer gifts to the staff as well.
6. Industry trade advertisement
This may seem a bit grandiose, but purchasing an ad in an industry trade magazine showing your appreciation for your team not only helps you and management, but the company as well. Yes, this might be a costly endeavor, but the payoff will far outweigh the investment. You can extend this (or transfer the idea) to a billboard or mass transportation ad. Either way, you'll get a lot of mileage out of the thought and execution.
7. Telecommute pass
Even if it isn't your standard operating procedure, if your staff can work from home, let them – at least for the days surrounding the holiday. Make sure they are aware all duties must be performed to standards – but be flexible with the time frame. You'll find allowing staff to be close to family, even if they are working at home, will show appreciation in ways gifts cannot. And if you cannot allow them to take the days surrounding the holiday off, this is the best compromise.
8. Company email
It's not nearly as powerful as the spoken word, but sending out a mass email to your company helps to make everyone know you are thankful for such a hard working, dedicated, and thoughtful staff. This should only be done by higher ups in the company.
Although this singles people out, so long as you can spread the love across the staff, awards not only show your appreciation, it also shows you actually see the work your staff is doing and can serve as a motivational tool to help nudge them forward. Doing this around the holiday season also allows you the flexibility to roll sillier awards into the serious ones.
10. Tell them
Nothing shows thanks like words. It's easy to jot a note in an email or card, but speaking face to face shows and proves meaning behind the words. When you speak the words face to face, it shows you not only mean them, but the relationship you have between your staff is strong and trusting.
There are countless ways to show your staff or your management how thankful you are for the quality of their work, the care they put into their jobs, and their dedication to the company. Take the time to show your appreciation...you'll get it back in more ways than you can imagine.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.