A Holiday Gift that Costs Nothing
by Marnie Green
As we enter the holiday season I often struggle with "what to get people." It's customary to recognize colleagues and valued business associates with the token basket of goodies or gift card to a favorite restaurant. Over the next few weeks I'll undoubtedly wrestle with questions like: who should I give to and what should I give them? It's never easy.
Wrestling with these annual dilemmas reminds me that the one gift that most employees long for and that costs nothing is the one gift we give too little of: praise and feedback. If you're looking for a way to give a little to your staff without having to fight the crowds and blow your budget, try having a face to face conversation with the sole purpose of thanking them for the value they've added to your operation.
If this cost-free gift is a challenge for you, try starting the conversation with these statements:
"I really appreciate the way you. . . (are always positive when our customers call in with complaints OR are meticulous with the monthly reports)."
"I'm happy you are on our team because. . . (you bring a unique perspective that allows us to see our product from the eyes of the customer OR you help bring people together by focusing on the positive)."
"If it weren't for you. . . (our database would be a mess OR we wouldn't have increased our sales by 14% this year)."
"You're an important part of our office because. . . (without you the staff would not have the support they need to respond to client calls OR you bring new ideas that have lead us to develop new services)."
I know that you know you should be offering praise and recognition to employees on a regular basis throughout the year. We both know that it probably doesn't happen often enough. Before the end of the month, use this season as a reminder to connect in a positive way with each of the employees on your team. Tell them what you appreciate about their contribution. Granted, it's not a gift basket, a Butterball, or a gift certificate to Best Buy. Still, it's a "gift" that most employees will appreciate and one that will not bust your budget.
Marnie E. Green is Principal Consultant of the Arizona-based Management Education Group, Inc. She is the author of Painless Performance Evaluations: A Practical Approach to Managing Day to Day Employee Performance (Pearson/Prentice Hall). Green is a speaker, author, and consultant who helps organizations develop leaders today for the workforce of tomorrow. Contact Green at http://www.managementeducationgroup.com