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Giving the perfect gift this holiday season

Providing something each employee will use and enjoy is challenging, but creates a stronger show of appreciation that employees will remember for years to come.

The end of the year is a great opportunity to recognize the contributions of employees. Everyone has put forth their best efforts to create another successful year, and taking the time to acknowledge hard work can lift employee morale and boost engagement levels. Many companies use the holiday season to provide thoughtful gifts to their staff as a sign of appreciation. However, organizations can struggle with exactly what to provide.

Entrepreneur Magazine notes that great business gifts are both thoughtful and personalized. Providing something each employee will use and enjoy is challenging, but creates a stronger show of appreciation that employees will remember for years to come.

"The single most important thing is to demonstrate you're thinking about them in the choice of what you give," John Poisson, CEO of Wantful, a gift-giving service, told the source. "It demonstrates that you're mindful of the relationship, of a thing they've done or the relationship you have as colleagues or as a supplier or as a partner."

Incorporating employee rewards and recognition programs into the gift-giving process can help companies provide exactly what each worker needs. These year-round initiatives can contain wish lists that encourage workers to note special items they would like to receive. Asking employees to choose from the items on the list is a simple way to be sure they will appreciate their gifts.

By including the gift-giving process as part of their reward programs, companies could help employees' efforts to acquire larger, more expensive rewards. Consider, for example, an employee who has been saving his recognition points to use on a family vacation, but is just short of the needed number. Awarding the remaining points will supply the employee with a gift he or she will remember for a long time.

During the holiday season, some employees prefer to think of others. Enabling them to use their annual gifts on loved ones may mean more to them than receiving something only they can use. This is another reason employee reward programs that allow workers to choose their rewards are successful at boosting engagement levels. The ability to redeem a reward on behalf of someone else may increase employee happiness and appreciation for the company, especially if workers are able to give something special that they could not have afforded by themselves.

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