10 Ways to Reward Your Employees This Holiday Season

Date: December 14, 2022
Holiday season

If you haven’t designed an employee reward program for your team the upcoming holiday season, now is a great time to start! While employees deserve to be rewarded year-round, there’s something about receiving gifts during the holidays—whether financial, gifts, or experiences—that makes it extra special. To help you get some great employee reward ideas, we’ve put together a list of 10 wonderful ways to reward your employees below. What’s more, we’ve also included options for remote, hybrid, and onsite teams. 

How do you reward employees during the holidays?

Coming up with employee reward ideas for the holidays may not always be easy. Read on for some inspiration on how to spice up your employee reward program this holiday season! 

1. Secret Santa with a twist (hint: make it personal)

employee reward

While secret Santa sounds fun on the surface, we’ve all been there—and have ended up with secret Santa gifts that we have no use for. To avoid wasting secret Santa gifts, tools like Bucketlist Rewards make it easy for employees to indicate what rewards they would like to receive. If your team is hybrid or remote, you could get your team to mail secret Santa packages to each other.

2. You can’t go wrong with good ol' cash 

This might sound obvious, but a good holiday bonus goes a long way, especially since the holiday season tends to be a financially taxing time for most households. You could also give employees the option to donate their employee reward or holiday bonus to an organization of their choice. 

3. Experiential employee rewards are extra special

employee reward

While cash is often a foolproof employee reward, you can make your employees’ holiday season extra special with an experiential reward. Some ideas for experiences include tickets to a local ballet, an upcoming movie, or a restaurant of your employees’ choice. Remember, it’s important to try and make the experiential employee reward as personal as possible. Personalized employee rewards go a long way toward making employees feel appreciated!

4. Send your team on a fun adventure

For onsite or hybrid teams, it may be possible to send employees on a fun in-person adventure—this could be a local scavenger hunt or an escape room. If a virtual adventure is more feasible for your team, you could also do a local scavenger hunt or escape room. A lesser-known fun fact about Airbnb is that you can find experienced virtual escape room hosts through Airbnb Experiences

5. Holiday employee appreciation gift basket

Again, you should aim to make this gift basket as personal as possible. For employees with little ones, you could send some baby books or toys. For employees with pets, you could send some yummy treats. For the foodies, a basket of charcuterie items is a great idea—but be sure to check for any dietary restrictions beforehand.

employee reward

6. Make their holidays magical with theatre tickets

You could check if there’s a holiday-themed ballet or show playing at your employees’ local theatres. Most local theatres put on a holiday show during the holidays. If so, tickets to the local nutcracker could turn into a magical night for the entire family. 

7. Who doesn’t love extra time off?

employee reward

We understand that employee rewards don’t come for free. If you don’t have a big budget for employee rewards this holiday season, consider giving your employees extra paid time off. This is especially meaningful during the holidays as employees get to spend more time with their loved ones.

8. Volunteer as a team (with paid volunteer time)

You could also pick a meaningful employee reward like providing your team with paid volunteer time. You could take it a step further and organize a team volunteer event. For virtual teams, you could pick a day (or three) where everyone volunteers at a local non-profit of their choice. 

9. Brighten up their holiday season with a feast

employee reward

For employees tasked with making and organizing family dinners during the holidays, the holiday season can be a stressful time. You could help ease their stress by providing gift certificates to a restaurant of their choice. Or you could even provide your employees with gift certificates to grocery or specialty stores that cater holiday meals, so your employees don’t have to worry about cooking!

10. Don’t forget a classic holiday party

Last but not least, don’t forget a good holiday party! While this may not be logistically possible for virtual teams, you could choose to organize a virtual party or several satellite parties for employees who reside in the same area. And for those employees who may not be able to attend in person, you could send them a gift certificate to a restaurant or bar so they can also party it up in style.

We hope we’ve given you some good ideas to kickstart your employee reward planning this holiday season. Because there are so many benefits to employee rewards, when you reward your staff, you’re not only putting a smile on their faces, you’re also making them feel cared for. When you provide them with personalized rewards, you’re taking a step further by incentivizing them and encouraging them to put their best foot forward in their work. Ultimately, employee reward programs are a win-win situation for staff and employers.

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