When thinking about holiday bonuses or employer gifts, one may be reminded of Clark Griswold’s “Jelly of the Month” club from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It’s almost a running joke of how short some employers fall in terms of gift-giving, if they give gifts of appreciation at all. While Cousin Eddie may appreciate a year’s supply of jelly, most people are seeking just a bit more in the way of a show of appreciation from their employers.
In the last two years, the workforce has experienced unprecedented unrest, leading to what economists have termed “The Great Resignation.” Employees are leaving their jobs in droves, citing reasons that have run the gamut from low pay and toxic environments to following dreams of self-employment.
“In response to the pandemic and short-staffing issues, employees who have stayed on have taken on extra work, pivoted and learned new roles, and weathered changing business environments,” said Rahim Rajwani, CEO of Triumph Advisors, which offers clients risk mitigation, compliance, and regulatory services.
“In response to this mass exodus and changing work climate, employers have been bringing out the big guns in terms of perks and appreciation in hopes of retaining their workforce,” he said.
With so many in the workforce deciding to leave for greener pastures, it’s time employers stepped up their game.
Here are Rajwani’s holiday gift ideas that will thrill your employees and help with retention at the same time:
One of the best gifts continues to be electronic devices. “Technology accelerates rapidly, and people always appreciate the latest and greatest gadgets,” explained Rajwani. Think phones, tablets, or specialty items like Rocketbooks or Facebook Portal devices.
Now, yes, we poked fun at Clark Griswold’s “Year of Jelly,” but that doesn’t mean your employees won’t appreciate some good food gifted this season. Rajwani suggests gift cards to great restaurants, high-end steaks, or meal subscription boxes like Blue Apron are sure to earn rave reviews.
“For smaller teams, it shows significant appreciation if a leader goes out of their way to give something meaningful to each person individually,” said Rajwani. “It shows that the leader pays attention and cares about getting to know their staff.”
Gifting a different book to each employee that speaks to one of their interests is a great start. Handmade gifts also fall under this personal category, especially if the manager/CEO is skilled in a craft such as knitting or painting. Knowing your leader took time to craft something special just for you can be mind-blowing in this age of depersonalized interaction.
Give the Gift of Experience
Some of the best gifts are experiences, not physical items. “After the few years we’ve all had, the gift of a self-care experience like a massage or spa day speaks to an employer knowing their employees need time to recharge,” Rajwani said. Sports events, theater tickets, or concert tickets can also be popular.
Keep It Simple – Cash or Time Off
When asked, many employees say they wish their employers would forgo gifts (especially logoed corporate swag) in favor of straight cash gifts or paid time off. After a tumultuous few years, employees would likely greatly appreciate some R&R and extra money in their pockets.
Paying particular attention to employees during the holiday season pays big dividends. It gives employees motivation to continue being dedicated to their jobs. Employees are looking to begin 2022 with a sense of job satisfaction and security. Going the extra mile and choosing to give something meaningful or valuable can pay the employer back, not only with good feelings, but also with retention and employee happiness.
About Rahim Rajwani
CEO of Triumph Advisors Rahim Rajwani is a venture capitalist, founder of several companies, and strategic advisor specializing in taking private assets public. His business expertise spans multiple sectors, including mining, cryptocurrency, life sciences, and technology. His latest co-founding venture, Atelier Meats, uses biotechnology and tissue engineering to create lab-grown meats like steak, pork chops, and chicken breasts. Cultured meats provide an ethical alternative to factory farming, as well as benefits for the environment.
Rajwani has built and financed public and private companies for over 22 years. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia in 1995, he worked at Yorkton Securities and then served as CCO and VP of Compliance at Union Securities. As an executive at Peninsula Merchant Syndications Corporation, he was involved in a number of capital market negotiations and advisory engagements, including Ventana Gold, leading to its acquisition by EBX Group. In recent years, he has served as Managing Director of Salman Partners Inc., a top-rated boutique advisory firm that focuses on risk mitigation.