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Top 3 Gifts Employees Want Most this Holiday Season (and All Year Long)

Despite the fact that I wrote this a couple of years ago, the suggestions continue to hold up well. Wishing you a happy, healthy holiday season.

‘Tis the season… when leaders everywhere scramble to find the perfect holiday gift for their staffs. This year, will it be:

  • The latest business title?
  • A gift card for designer coffee?
  • An outing featuring laser tag, team building and pizza?

Perhaps you’d like to do something entirely different.  Why not give employees something they really want this year – a gift that will keep giving long after the egg nog is gone?  Consider something from my Holiday Gift Guide… for leaders who want to delight employees and deliver results.

1.  Encourage career development.
Employee Delight:     Price: $0

According to recent research conducted by Aon Hewitt, 91% of all employees report that career development is among their top priorities. Yet, in engagement survey after engagement survey, managers consistently earn their lowest marks in this area.

Imagine your employees’ delight if this holiday season, you invested some genuine attention in understanding who they are and their hopes and dreams, as well as toward helping them develop plans to move forward, toward their career goals. (And this gift teaches why giving is a good as receiving because as you grow others, you’ll also deck the halls with greater capacity and capability.)

2.  Remove roadblocks.
Employee Delight:     Price: N/A

Forget the visions of sugar plums. What employees really dream about is working without unnecessary obstacles, fire drills, or other irritants.  Ask them about what gets in the way of their best work and you’ll likely be surprised by the struggles and work-arounds that are part of their daily routines.

Watch employees light up brighter than any holiday decoration if you take even small steps toward clearing the way for them.

3.  Express genuine appreciation.
Employee Delight:     Price: Priceless

Spread good cheer in the form of recognition and positive feedback. Too frequently, leaders become inadvertent Scrooges, withholding praise and wondering why performance is lackluster and morale is low.

Catch people in the act of doing things right. Be on the look-out for contributions – large and small. “Thank you” doesn’t require fancy wrapping or a bow; yet it’s warmer than chestnuts roasting to the hearts of employees.

These Holiday Gift Guide suggestions come with a range of benefits. They’re value-priced to fit any budget.  There’s no tax or shipping.  And you can even hope that they’re re-gifted as employees find ways to extend the positive practices you model to others.

So, with the number of holiday shopping days quickly dwindling, skip the malls, dig deeper – within yourself not your wallet – and experience some real magic this holiday season… and all year long.

Gift me with your own thoughts!  What do you employees want most? What gifts are you considering this holiday season?


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