We've all seen the holiday-themed TV shows and movies with large, elaborate Christmas parties for employees with dinners, complimentary gifts, and the ever-so dangerous open bar. As a result of the recent economic struggle, many holiday parties are being cancelled. A few years ago, many businesses offered employees bonuses, gifts, and holiday themed parties, as well as some perks for clients. Instead, businesses are turning to different strategies when deciding ways to thank employees and customers.
According to an American Express OPEN Small Business Holiday Monitor, a survey of about 500 business owners, only 31% of business owners plan to give year-end bonuses this year, which is down from 44% last year. Additionally, only 16% will give raises, down from 30% in 2008. Almost 25% of businesses have stopped all gifts, but 28% are coming up with creative gifts, bartering, or incentives to avoid spending money.
If your small business usually throws an annual holiday party, think of ways to cut back in costs this year. One suggestion is to change the venue of your holiday party. Find a place that is affordable yet able to accommodate your employees; sometimes the largest venue isn't necessarily the most cost-effective. Another suggestion is to have an array of appetizers instead of a complete dinner during the party. This will allow for more mingling and socializing of employees at a lower cost. Finally, limit the amount of alcohol that is provided at the party. This will not only lower costs, but will also keep employees from driving while intoxicated.
An article in the Wall Street Journal gives some ideas about how some small businesses are getting creative in holiday gifts. Some are still elaborate, including providing a holiday party for multiple small businesses, and others include saying a simple thank you and acknowledging work more than usual during the holidays. My favorite idea is promising each employee that their car will be scraped off at least once this winter season. Regardless how your small business plans to give thanks to your employees and customers this season, make sure you at least acknowledge their hard work and send a smile their way.
How is your small business giving holiday thanks to your employees and customers?