How do you show your startup employees that you appreciate them during the holidays?

Neha Palacherla Marketing

November 25th, 2013

With the holidays coming up, I was wondering if you all had any ideas for showing employees that you appreciate their work. Any companies do something cool for their employees that you've heard about? 

Alan Peters VP Product and Technology at BusinessBlocks

November 25th, 2013

Here's how I think about this. Obviously you should encourage your team and encourage them to celebrate success. Be crazy frugal until you're "made" and flush with cash. Everybody loves attaboy/girls and cookies. Spend a little bit of your precious time to do all three of these: a) Tell them in writing b) Bake/cook/make them something they'd enjoy. This kind of personal touch is always appreciated and often overlooked. c) Take a moment to collectively step back and applaud they've accomplished Other options are to be creative and think of a favor you can call in. Know somebody with a vacation rental? Somebody who can autograph a book? An acupuncturist looking for hours? A chef you bailed out of jail? A small business you helped out technically? Cash in the favor for your team Chag Sameach _A

Don Daglow 3-Time Inc. 500 CEO, Technical Emmy® Award, International Speaker, Advisor at Founders Space accelerator

November 25th, 2013

You obviously are feeling sincere gratitude, which is a great quality in a leader.

People love two things most of all IMHO:

1.  Being part of a winning team that built something great that didn't just succeed, but was also worthy of respect.  The leader being committed to producing something great rather than "just getting by" supports this.

2.  Individual recognition at moments where it's been earned.  Group rewards are also great, but there's nothing like catching someone in the hallway, dropping by their desk etc. to say, "I saw (or heard about) how you [did something great] the other day, and I just wanted to tell you thanks for the great work."  This works only if it was in fact something good. only if you really mean it, and only if it's specific to the individual or a very small portion of the team.  That's what makes people feel like they're noticed as individuals, not just as one sheep in a flock. Depending on the size of your team you can do this with someone once a day or once a week, but as long as the accomplishments aren't trivial and the gratitude is sincere it will keep hitting home.

Hope this helps!


Ben Griffin CEO Peer Group Facilitator | Executive Coach | Board of Directors | Strategic Thinking | Ben.Griffin@CEOIQ.com

November 26th, 2013

Tell them...one-on-on...in small groups...the entire company...over, and over again that you genuinely, authentically appreciate what everyone is doing - individually and collectively.  The biggest reason for people leaving their current company - even in these turbulent times - is feeling that they were not appreciated at work - and I don't think any 'gift' or other 'thing' recognition can replace having a real conversation that expresses your appreciation.

Next is time...particularly in start-ups, where things are hectic and totally focused on launch dates, short product cycle times, time to market, etc...people value having time away from work.  Be sure you aren't scheduling any major milestones or due dates and give people the gift of time.  Make sure you are connecting your appreciation for what they are doing with the gift.

Last, if you want to do something more tangible...it's a matter of budget - how much do you want to spend???  I'd be cautious of the traditional 'Holiday Party' - it's an opportunity for workplace mischief to get out of hand if alcohol is involved.  Two books to check for ideas: 1,001 Ways to Reward Employees and 1,001 Ways to Energize Employees - while I don't like the word 'employees' in the title...substitute People and these books are full of ideas that will fit any budget.

Happy Holidays...and Thanks for all you are doing to get a start-up off the ground...Ben

Rob G

November 26th, 2013

whatever it is make it personal.  assuming your startup is still small enough, make sure to take time to just connect with everyone personally AND DON'T FORGET THEIR SPOUSE - your teammates are presumably busting their tails to make their company a success and that often means they are spending less time and attention on their families/spouses.  spouses/partners have a huge influence on your teammates - who do you think they complain to when things get bumpy?  Sending a personal card/letter/gift to their spouse/partner/family goes a LONG way to showing that you genuinely care.  If you have distributed team members and can afford to fly them all to one location so they can meet and get to know the others on the team is well worth the expense.  If not, perhaps you can send each one AND their spouse/partner for a short weekend getaway somewhere nearby - hopefully you know enough about what they and their partner like to do in their spare time.  If not try to connect with their brother, mother, etc. to find out. 

Jessica Alter Entrepreneur & Advisor

December 7th, 2013