20 Ways to Genuinely Thank Your Employees during the Holidays


By Bob Funk, Sr.

We learned a longtime ago that there is huge ROI from playing Santa during the holidays. You’ve already seen the trends/polls reflecting that associates rank recognition/appreciation above compensation and what better time to share your appreciation and promote generosity than during the warm spirit of the holidays.


Your upside?

· It’s the right thing to do and it feels great!

· Retention, Retention, Retention

· Word of Mouth and Digital Scoring of your company’s caring culture


Additionally, Gallup research shows that employees with higher levels of engagement:

· produce substantially better outcomes

· treat customers better and attract new ones

· are more likely to remain with their organization than those who are less engaged


Given these facts, consider the below strategies:

1) Deliver Supervisor to Associate messages (knowing holidays are the perfect time for recognition, engagement)


Through multiple studies and years of analysis, we know that organizations that recognize employees frequently are 50% more likely to see increased retention and 40% more likely to see increased engagement. Consider the below holiday messages to employees that you can include along with your recognition, gift, or ‘cash appreciation’ reward:

1. “You’re not recognized enough for all your hard work, but I’m happy to offer this gift as an acknowledgment of the unique value you bring to our organization!” 2. “In this holiday season, I want to acknowledge how much of a difference your hard work makes to this company. This reward expresses my appreciation for all you do!” 3. “Your energy, creativity and dedication are a gift to our company all year long. Here’s a token of our appreciation. Happy Holidays! 4. “You were recognized as our top performer earlier this year, and I want to take this time during the holidays to once again say how much you do for this company.” 5. “Thank you for keeping the holiday spirit alive year-round, by constantly recognizing others for their achievements.” 2) Arrange Peer-to-Peer holiday messages (words of appreciation from peers matter)


Gartner research shows that organizations that include peer-to-peer recognition as a component rate their recognition programs as more effective than those who don’t, and that peer feedback can elevate performance by 14%. These holiday messages to employees underline that value:

6. “I’m so happy you’re on my team! Happy Holidays, and I hope this is the start of the best year ever.” 7. “To the best teammate ever. Your recognition of everyone’s efforts brings us all together. Here’s wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season!” 8. “Your support of everyone on your team brings the holiday spirit to every month of the year. Thank you for your great and positive attitude.” 9. “You always step up and notice everyone’s successes, and you offer encouragement when things are difficult. Here’s hoping you and your family have a fantastic holiday season!” 10. “The way you recognize and appreciate all of us makes our jobs so much easier. Have a joyous, refreshing season, and I look forward to starting the best year ever!”



3) Facilitate C-Suite to Associate messages (simple and straightforward…with tremendous, long-range upside)


We know employees crave recognition from leaders and great leaders are typically ‘recognition champions’. Consider using these examples of holiday messages whereby top leadership can adopt and impact employees at all levels.

11. “We want to pause at this joyous time of year to thank you for your vital contribution to our team! Happy holidays!” 12. “Here’s hoping that your holidays are full of light and merriment. We’re counting our lucky stars that you’re part of our company.” 13. “Glad you’re on our team! Wishing you and your loved ones a peaceful holiday season, with plenty of relaxation and good company.” 14. “Your dedication, creativity, and great attitude make my job easier. I recognize that our company is only successful because of employees like you!” 15. “I want you to know that I am aware of your conscientiousness and hard work. You are a vital part of our company, and I want to wish you and your family the best holiday season yet.”





4) Next Level engagement tactics during the Holidays (be bold, creative and unique in this space…)


16. Arrange for each associate to pick up a free turkey just before the Thanksgiving Holiday (with a note of appreciation and recognizing the employee’s year-long commitment) 17. Dress up as Santa (donning a red felt hat) and walked through your headquarters with monetary appreciate gifts (checks) in mid-December (we have done this at Express for several decades; fun, genuine and impactful) 18. Have teams or departments GIVE BACK via simple, easy programs without burdening the already busy year-end activities (Angel Tree; Food Drive) 19. Bring in a small but impactful program (e.g., church or community carolers) and have them deliver ‘tidings and good cheer’ musically while you surprise associates with a complimentary lunch, dessert, food truck offering 20. Open up the home of the CEO or a dedicated C-suiter and arrange a ‘come and go’ holiday event so as to facilitate fellowship outside the workplace, engage spouses and genuinely express appreciation

I wish God’s love to be bestowed on my associates, many friends, colleagues, and family members. May the love of Christ fill your home with countless blessings surrounding the upcoming Holidays. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!


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