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Try These 8 Employee Rewards to Close Out the Year

It's important to reward your employees for all their hard work and dedication throughout the year. Here are some ideas that won't break the bank.

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Oct 31, 20224 minutes
Know which fringe benefits are reportable.

We’ve finally reached the end of another year! Consider year-end employee rewards as a way to show your appreciation for all of their efforts.

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While it’s beneficial to show employee appreciation all year long, now’s the time to really make your team feel recognized and appreciated. Doing so will help boost morale and make them happier to come back to work after New Year's Day.

Here are eight wonderful ways to reward your employees at the end of the year.

Have a Holiday Party That's Actually Fun

How better to give your employees a break than to plan an end-of-year holiday party? Try to make sure it’s not the same Zoom meeting we’ve all grown accustomed to.

There are so many creative options for holiday parties. Whether it’s a holiday-themed potluck, a gift exchange using innovative sites like Elfster, or going all out with a unique, all-day experience, your employees will feel appreciated as long as you put a little thought into whatever you choose to do.

Your employees will feel appreciated as long as you put a little thought into whatever you choose to do.

Give a Thoughtful Gift at Any Budget

You don’t need to shell out the big bucks to show appreciation for your employees. All of us appreciate gifts around the holidays no matter the size or cost. Just make sure whatever you give is something they’ll actually use. A simple gift card to a local coffee shop or bookstore are both good ideas.

Announce a New Flexible Schedule

If it’s at all possible for your type of business, reward your employees with a new option for the year ahead: having flexible schedules. Studies show that breaks throughout the day help to boost employee productivity.  

Given its effectiveness at improving productivity, it might be worth considering allowing employees to make their own schedules. As long as they meet their hours and achieve their goals, everybody wins. Your employees will love this new option — and when productivity soars, you’ll love it too.

Give Out Treats All Month Long

Everybody loves free treats! To say a special thanks to your employees, try having baked goods delivered to the team on specific days throughout the month. You could even take it up a notch and try having breakfast delivered a couple of days throughout the month.

Looking for lots of employee appreciation ideas? Download our free guide on 110 Ways to Appreciate Employees on a Budget.

Bring in Special Guests or Entertainment

Bring in a special guest or some entertainment at the end of the year to help make your employees feel valued. Of course, you don't need to be in office to enjoy a good show.

Consider hiring a popular speaker to present something inspiring to your team. Or how about a comedian or mentalist? Giving your team an entertaining break during the day is a nice change of pace, and a great way to help them relieve stress, especially during the holiday season.

Send Them Some Swag

Everybody loves some free company swag. This reward can be especially meaningful for teams who are remote and feeling less connected to their teammates and their company. Even if you're joined together in person, swag is always a great way to celebrate.

With that in mind, consider sweatshirts with a custom team logo or catchphrase, or matching winter hats. Personalized coffee mugs and stickers are also cool and useful gifts that your employees might enjoy. Whatever it is you choose, company swag can help foster connection and bring your team together while showing your appreciation for their hard work.

Let Them Log Off or Leave Early

What says “thank you” to your employees better than giving them the afternoon off? Just be sure to give them a little bit of notice, as you don’t want to derail any meetings or deadlines. The day before a holiday — or a holiday eve — is a great time to do this, because business is usually slow (depending on your company) and employees are often more than ready to begin their holiday break.

What says “thank you” to your employees better than giving them the afternoon off?

Consider Giving out a Bonus

Although it's perhaps the most cliche of employee rewards, it must be said: consider giving your employees an end-of-year bonus. The holiday season almost always incurs extra costs, and your employees will be grateful that you thought of them and shared as generously as you could.

If the budget is tight, reward employees with an additional day of paid vacation for the next year. They might appreciate this even more than cash. Gestures like these will go a long way and can act as employee incentives in the long run.

While these are great ways to reward your employees at year’s end, don’t stop here! Give yourself a chance to think of even more unique ways to say “thank you” to your hard-working team.