Slideshows

Top 6 low-cost ways to reward or recognize employees during the holidays

Personalized note Personalized note

Take some time to write a note to each of your employees, reflecting on the past year and the personal victories he or she had in their job. This doesn't take much time or effort and the payoff in goodwill and sincere appreciation from one’s supervisor is significant. “An honest, sincere and timely ‘thank you’ never goes out of style,” says Nelson.

Holiday card signing party Holiday card signing party

Hill, Chesson & Woody, a benefits brokerage firm in North Carolina, hosts a holiday card-signing party in which employees gather to sign cards to clients. It’s a simple and fun way to celebrate business relationships and get to know other employees.

Praise barrage Praise barrage

Either in person or via notes on index cards, have employees each provide feedback as to what they enjoy about other team members they work with.

Shopping spree Shopping spree


Give members of your team some cash, say $50 each, and some time to leave the office with one or more other team members and go shopping for something for themselves. When they return, have everyone share what they got and why they got it. It’s a fun team-building activity that allows everyone to learn about each other.


“A lot of people don’t ever get anything for themselves,” says Nelson. “Permission to get something just for them is a fun thing.”

Pay it forward Pay it forward

Challenge everyone to do one thing each day throughout the holiday season to make someone else’s life a little easier. This could range from buying gifts for a needy family to paying for the person’s coffee behind you at Starbucks.

Popcorn lunch Popcorn lunch

Take an afternoon off and treat team members to a movie and box of popcorn. It’s important to keep holiday rewards fresh so employees don’t get bored year after year. “Try to do something different because that becomes memorable,” says Nelson.


Employee recognition doesn't have to break the bank. Dr. Bob Nelson, Ph.D., author of 1501 Ways to Reward Employees (Workman Publishing, 2012), offers the following low-cost ways to reward or recognize employees this holiday season.


For more with Dr. Bob Nelson be sure to read the January issue of EBN.

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