Employers are busy this time of year with end-of-year financial tasks related to budget and revenue goals, among other obligations and wind-down initiatives. But it is also during this time that everyone, from leaders in the C-suite to front-line employees, becomes focused on the holiday events that accompany November, December and January. In particular, Thanksgiving is a holiday that spurs reflection, inspires familial gatherings and beckons sentimentality.
For high-performing employees, the thrill of the holiday season — and desire to be present for intimate celebrations — often competes with their desire to cross the year-end finish line with all their goals and objectives met.
Employers who recognize the commitment their highest-performing employees display can take a step in the right direction by showing, versus just telling, that they truly value them. Need some ideas? Look to these eight things you can do to give thanks for high-performing employees this holiday season.
1. Cash Bonus
Identify areas of particular value in productivity, cost-containment, market place expansion, revenue growth, etc., that an individual high performer has generated. Calculate a worthy financial bonus based on the specific person’s contributions. Customize the reward, through monetary renumeration as well as words. Articulate, in an accompanying note, what contributions you particularly appreciated from that employee this past year.
2. Paid Time Off
Add a single day, several days or maybe even a week to their vacation benefits either at the end of the year or for 2019. Depending upon your company’s business cycle, it may or may not make sense to augment the high-performer’s days off right now, but you can offer them bonus days to cash in on during calendar year 2019.
3. Special Gift
If you’ve been listening to your high-performers, you’ve likely heard them talk about a passion or favorite pastime. Perhaps they love golfing; if so, investing in golf paraphernalia, including a new driver or other items related to their sport, will add value to their lives. Or maybe they prefer a favorite music artist that is going to be performing at the local auditorium in 2019. Spring for dinner and concert tickets for your high-performer and their spouse or partner. Offer that they enjoy the evening knowing that they also have been granted the next day off from work.
For a high-performing customer service representative who has increased the number of clients who converted from basic to premium services — but with little reward to show for the feat — maybe it’s time to formally recognize their value. For example, you can create an award, where none has existed before, that names them customer service professional of the year, and include a monetary bonus or a custom gift that you know this person will value, based on your due diligence, and again, listening skills.
Some individuals consistently perform at peak and over the years, have organically expanded their value proposition within the organization. While their actual contributions have increased well beyond the initial job description, the job title may have stayed the same. Take the initiative to promote your high performer, granting them an elevated title; e.g., advancing from Account Coordinator to Assistant Account Manager or Account Manager. Of course, some sort of pay hike will also be in order.
If you’ve been continually wowed by your high-performer’s impacts on your bottom line, but their scope of accountability has been limited to date, then consider how you can loosen the reins. Increase their level of empowerment and let them spread their wings. This may go hand in hand with #5, or perhaps it is a standalone act, regardless of whether a promotion accompanies it. Articulate to your high-performer that you appreciate all they’ve done and then empower them to let loose on a project they’ve been eager to lead.
7. Private Dinner Invitation
Invite them and their spouse/significant other into your home. Spend the evening getting to know and appreciate them for who they are, as a 360-degree human being.
8. Training or Credentialing
Perhaps there is additional education, certification and/or other training that your employee wants to take — related or unrelated to the work they perform for you and your company. Show them you appreciate their contributions by investing in a learning program that will inspire their soul and/or fulfill their own goals for continued education and growth.
The common thread between and among these thanksgiving gifts to your high-performers is individualization. By aspiring to customize your offering to a particular employee’s needs and wants, and by showing through actions, that you are listening, watching and appreciating their value, you can deepen the employer/employee relationship for the new year.