What Employees Want for Christmas

Hint: The answer isn't a gift card for designer coffee, an outing with laser tag, team building and pizza or even a new title.

‘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 what their hopes and dreams are, as well as toward helping them develop plans toward their career goals. (This gift teaches why giving is a good as receiving because, as you grow others, you’ll also deck your own 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 workarounds 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 lookout for contributions -- large and small. “Thank you” doesn’t require fancy wrapping or a bow, yet it’s warmer to the hearts of employees than chestnuts roasting. 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 your employees want most? What gifts are you considering this holiday season?

Julie Winkle Giulioni

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Julie Winkle Giulioni

Julie Winkle Giulioni has spent the past 25 years improving performance through learning. She’s partnered with hundreds of organizations to develop and deploy innovative training products that are in use worldwide. Julie is well-known and well-regarded for her creative, one-of-a-kind solutions that consistently deliver bottom-line results.


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