I started thinking about holiday gifts over the last few days and it´s interesting to me how prevalent gift cards are now. People want what they want and nothing really compares to cold, hard cash except, I guess, a gift card. Charitable giving is another way to express your appreciation to someone. You make a donation in an individual´s name and then that person presumably receives a card announcing your contribution. It feels pretty good. The money goes to a good cause and the other "recipient" becomes associated with an organization that´s doing good. Even teachers are shifting their positions on gifts. Instead of being presented with another mug schools are asking parents to make donations in teachers´ names to local educational scholarships. I think that´s a great idea.
I think it´s also a great idea to consider gifting your staff with training. They win, you win, the company wins, and, let´s face it, somebody benefits from the revenue brought in by your gift. Why not offer your employees a chance to improve their skills, grow their talents, and otherwise pick up some much needed training?
A few might grimace and wonder what the heck you were thinking, but it´s a creative approach that you might not have thought of before. Certainly, you could attach something to make the offer a little sweeter. For instance, (and truly, I think they´ll thank you for it later) you could suggest a workshop and whoever completes the program really does receive a gift card to their favorite mall. Or maybe, in keeping with my broken-record advice to start a business library (see past posts), you offer your staff gift cards to your favorite local, independent bookstore with or without the requirement to enlist in a business workshop.
Again, some of your staff might whine and groan and consider your gift as one with strings attached. Come clean and say that´s exactly correct. The idea is to keep furthering the idea that employee development never stops and that the holidays could be a good time to drive that point home. The other point here is that you´re encouraging people to do something for themselves. Women´s magazines are really good at reminding their readers to take care of themselves. The really good publications, however, give their readers specific ways in which they can embrace the complicated notion of self-care.
Perhaps the greatest gift you can give your people is your encouragement and support as they find ways to improve on their own. If you can show them by example, that´s even better.