What Your Employees Really Want for Christmas

You may think you know what your employees want for Christmas, but what if you are totally wrong?

This has been a year that most people won’t be sad to see go. Many people received salary cuts while others found themselves in the unemployment lines. In spite of all the doom and gloom surrounding us, it is the holidays and people still expect to give and receive. I suggest you heed my advice and save yourself a trip to the mall. You’ll thank me later.


Forget the tchotkes and bring on the cash – What people need most these days is cash. It can take any form you like. Gift cards, checks and even bills are ok with just about everyone. This gift will go a lot further than a can of gourmet popcorn. I guarantee this is one gift that will not be returned!

Give the gift of time – The gift of time is highly valued, particularly during the holiday season. This gift may take different shapes, depending on your organization. For some, an extra few hours off during the work week to make last minute purchases is quite appreciated. For others, an additional day off with pay says it all!

Pay out bonuses – This may seem like a difficult thing to do considering what a tough year it’s been, but if your employees have been doing the job of two people and they are continuing to add value, then consider giving out bonuses. I know of many situations where this was not done last year and employees quickly became disengaged. Particularly those employees who worked for firms that still did well in spite of the recession.

Give out well deserved promotions – One of the best gifts you can give an employee is recognition for all the hard work they’ve done this year. That’s why December is the perfect time to give out that promotion that you may have been holding back on. Newly promoted employees will be charged up and ready to go, come January 1st.

Flexibility – Now here’s a gift that doesn’t have to cost a dime. How about granting requests for flexible starting times or even letting people work from home, if this can be done with minimal impact to the business. And while you are at it, relax the dress code a bit so workers can be more comfortable on days when clients are not expected in the office.

Hand out thank yous – This is something that should be done all year long. However, it is particularly appropriate during the holidays. A simple note of appreciation or a thank you and a handshake will make most people’s day.


There is a lot more that can be added to this list but I know that time is running out. Happy gift giving and enjoy the holidays!


Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Human Resource Solutions

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About the author

For more than 25 years, Roberta Chinsky Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting, has helped leaders in Fortune 500 companies, including Best Buy, New Balance, The Boston Beer Company and small to medium-size businesses, achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. She is known world-wide as “The Talent Maximizer®.” Roberta, a leading authority on leadership and the skills and strategies required to earn employee commitment and client loyalty, is the author of the top-selling book, Suddenly In Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey, 2011), a Washington Post Top 5 Business Book For Leaders.