The holiday season is quickly approaching, and many companies are deciding how to show appreciation to their employees. In a recent poll, we asked Movin’ On Up readers how they wish their employers, or future employers, showed appreciation to employees this time of year.
According to the results, 27% of respondents would most appreciate a cash bonus for the holidays, while 13% reported pay raises as their biggest incentive. While monetary gifts are always a go-to choice for companies when budget allows, 9% chose “days off or shortened holiday hours” as their top choice for holiday bonuses.
Only 1% of respondents chose “gift items other than money,” while less than 1% selected “a holiday party.”
What Workers Really Want
In addition to the traditional gift options, readers were also allowed to choose “Other” and take the time to respond with their own answer. Readers who selected “Other” left responses that ranged from “a few hours off for Christmas shopping, and we can bring evidence of the shopping back to work” to “keep their corporate mantra to employees, not just customers.”
Of those “Other” responses, the overwhelming majority responded with answers that offer insight to an often overlooked form of holiday gifting – appreciation.
Personal responses included:
- Words of praise from managers
- Telling employees they did a good job
- A simple thank you goes a very long way
- A thank you note will suffice
- A thank you every now and then
- Tell us thanks and good job
The poll’s personal responses speak much louder than the pre-written choices readers could choose from. Instead of clicking and moving on, readers who selected “Other” had to take time to share their thoughts, which were highly concentrated on wanting sincere appreciation from their employees in lieu of money, gifts, or time off.
What Workers Will Get
In a corresponding poll with Refresh Leadership, Express Employment Professionals blog for business leaders, the results reveal a lack of parallelism with what workers want. In fact, 21% of respondents revealed they will not be giving holiday bonuses this year. While 9% of our poll’s respondents want time off during the holidays, only 3% of business leaders plan to provide it. Only 5% of readers want gift cards, but 12% of employers plan to give them away.
Of respondents to the Refresh Leadership poll, 7% selected “Other,” with 27% of those readers reporting answers like “our company never gives employees anything for the holidays” and “no holiday bonuses ever.” Other responses include, “a turkey,” “a ham,” and “a holiday dinner.”
One response that never appeared was “appreciation.”
The Power of Appreciation
If employers knew their employees were providing answers like “a simple thank you” or “words of praise,” would they take a different stance on the idea of never providing holiday bonuses? Would the respondent to the Refresh Leadership poll who chose to answer “coal” take a more sincere approach to the holidays?
While today’s workers appreciate monetary gifts and time at home, as can be seen by the results of the poll, their answers also reflect an understanding that it’s not always feasible for businesses to give extravagant gifts. Times can be hard, and not all businesses are profitable. Employees know that. But while they may not expect gifts from their employers, they do crave appreciation.
Forbes recently studied the 18 best companies to work for in the Fortune 500 and found that employee appreciation was a key factor to their success. According to Forbes, half of the companies on the list did things to show appreciation to employees. Google provided free massages, the vice chair at NetApp called 10-20 employees a day to praise them, and Qualcomm provided personalized notes and special lunches. Devon Energy allowed employees open access to senior executives while Whole Foods let their employees vote on new hires.
The results of the Movin’ On Poll reveal that some of the most powerful gifts are the easiest to give. From a few hours to go shopping to a thank you note, sincerity is the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season.
Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.