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Budget-Friendly Employee Holiday Gifts When Raises Aren't Possible

Kim Drinkall December 01, 2023

Alarmingly, it's already December! Everyone is looking forward to the holiday cheer, festive lights, and yes, the much-anticipated annual raise. In an ideal world, we would all get a bump in our paychecks to battle the inflation beast. But let's face it, sometimes financial goals are not met and the budget just doesn't stretch that far. So, what's Plan B when Plan A (a.k.a. the raise or cash bonus) is off the table? 


Whoever said money can't buy happiness never had to juggle a million tasks in a day. If you can't up the dollars, up the flexibility. Almost half the workforce would turn down a 20% raise for more control over how they work. Let them work from home one day a week, pick a personal holiday, or maybe beef up the PTO. It's like saying, "Hey, we see you. We know you’re busy." 


With everyone's wallet feeling a bit lighter thanks to inflation, beefing up your benefits package is like a stealth raise. Throw in a gym membership or better yet, mental health support. It's the 21st century, after all. Let's get those endorphins and serotonin levels up, shall we? 


Nothing screams "We value you" like a good old-fashioned shout-out. And no, an all-staff email won't cut it. Get personal. Write them a note, endorse their skills on LinkedIn, and make them feel like the rockstars they are. It's the little things that count. 

Living Up to the Hype 

Your employer brand is not just for show. Make it mean something! 

  • Grow Their Skillset: Continuing education is an important part of your employees’ growth within your company. Improving their knowledge and skills is not only an investment in their wellbeing but in your business’ success. Offer courses, workshops, and maybe even a scholarship or two. It's a win-win. 
  • Everyone’s Invited: Make your company a place where everyone feels like they belong. Diversity training, feedback sessions, mental health support, you name it. Fostering open communication allows employees to speak their minds and give honest feedback to help your company culture thrive. 

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The Jelly of the Month Club 

Ever seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? It’s a fantastic example of what not to do. Don't be the boss who underestimates the value of meaningful compensation. While thoughtful gifts have their place, don’t be Mr. Shirley. A lighter financial burden and an amazing place to work are the best gifts you can give!


In the end, it matters what you do for your employees, even if it cannot be a large raise or bonus. Offering flexibility, different benefits, training, and highlighting their accomplishments are great ways to bring in the New Year!