Two things likely come to mind when thinking about how to show your employees some appreciation this Christmas: have a party and/or give them a gift. There are many different ways you can go about that, though, in addition to other team-building exercises and non-conventional displays of gratitude.
Dozens of "working smarter" contractors were asked how they plan on saying thank you to their employees this holiday season. Read on to hear what they have to say—and maybe steal an idea or two.
Traditional party ideas
Most contractors like to stick with the traditional Christmas party—either at their facility or at some public venue. "A holiday party is a good way to get everyone together, invite their partners, and say thank you to employees," says Daniel Sadler of Michael Bellantoni & Sons in White Plains, NY. "Another great way to say thank you is to surprise them with a small gift. It doesn't have to be big or expensive, just something to say that we recognize their hard work and appreciate them."
Here's a look at some of the more interesting ways "working smarter" contractors are putting traditional Christmas parties together this year.
Christmas breakfast is held at a local resort hotel. We offer gifts for all employees, such as a pre-paid American Express card or a gas card. We also hire entertainment such as a magician or comedian.
We're having a family potluck Christmas party with all employees and their spouses and children. Everyone can share their favorite holiday dish, which makes for a great way to enjoy each others' company.
Each employee is encouraged to bring a guest to the party, and we vary the location year to year. This year we're looking at local wineries.
We like to encourage employees to bring a guest to our party at a restaurant/pool table place. I think they appreciate the meal as many of them don't get to go to restaurants too often. We also hand out a Christmas gift/check.
We have a party with a big thank-you theme right at our garage. I also get a small gift for my men as a token of gratitude, although I'm not a big fan of a monetary bonus as it just seems like the easy way out, although I'd be interested to hear what others think.
A unique spin
We're having a potluck and management roast, which is a synopsis of the year in pictures, funny bits, etc. It lasts the morning and is truly a great, humorous event.
We will celebrate in typical southern fashion: a catfish fry with all the trimmings, coupled with gifts and giveaways that are drawn from ticket stubs in random fashion. Last year we rented a "cash cube" and filled it with 500 $1 bills and five $100 bills. It created lots of laughs and excitement.
We host a holiday party with hors devours and beverages at a local, festive Italian restaurant. We run a slideshow with pictures of our crews and staff at our annual summer picnic, at training events, working in the field and at our facilities, in addition to some photos of our clients’ properties so the employees can show their families where they work.
Usually on December 23, production employees work a half day, and all branches come into our headquarters facility. We decorate the warehouse and have a catered lunch of Mexican food. We solicit our vendors to provide gifts for a raffle. Usually we have enough gifts so that everyone wins something. The Christmas tree in the warehouse is also raffled off, lights and all. Finally, we recognize an employee of the year and manager of the year with an award. The past few years we have given an additional gift to each employee, last year was a nice “hoody” company sweatshirt. I personally shake everyone’s hand and thank them for their service to the company.
We usually take our employees and spouse/significant other to a local Yacht club for dinner, fillet Mignon, cigars and scotch. We hand out the bonus checks to the spouses and significant others and give the staff at the yacht club some cool landscape flair from our uniform stash.