At this time of year, lots of employers consider paying their employee a Christmas bonus or providing their employees with a gift, to say thanks for a successful year. This can be a great engagement tool and motivator for staff, but there are a number of things to consider when determining what the most appropriate reward might be.

What do people value?
Not all of your employees will want or enjoy receiving the same thing. Different things motivate different people. For example, whilst some employees might love cases of beer and scented candles, others might find a specific gift impersonal, not useful, or – occasionally – even offensive. If you plan on heading down the gift path, choose carefully!

What about cash or gift cards?
Cash or gift cards are often seen as good options, as they allow people to buy something useful or needed. However, if you’re considering this, you should speak with your accountant or bookkeeper about any possible tax implications (including FBT for the business).

What other options are there?
It’s a safe bet that everyone will be happy with something that can be eaten, spent or otherwise used up. Some examples of this might include movie tickets or restaurant vouchers, or even donations to charity made in the name of the employees. Other ideas include a team lunch or dinner, or even some additional (paid!) time off.

Some other tips:

Keep it secular. When you’re the boss, you risk ostracizing some employees by celebrating a religious holiday at work. Stick with non-religious gift wrap, cards and gifts (think snowflake motifs rather than manger scenes!).

Consider the precedent you’re setting. If you spend $50 per employee this year, but then scale back to $20 next year, someone will notice. If you buy gifts this year but don’t in the future, lots of people will notice. Don’t become so swept up in the Christmas spirit that you go overboard. Set a reasonable budget and stick to it.

Whatever you choose to do, or whether you choose to do nothing at all, at least be sure to take time out to thank your employees for their efforts this year, and wish them a happy and healthy New Year!