Employee Appreciation Best Practices: Zoosk Throws Holiday Parties
Thinking beyond — or in addition to — the checkbook when giving employee gifts lets staff members know they’re appreciated, writes Inc. Magazine’s Sara Hottman in “How to Choose a Holiday Gift for Your Staff.”
She quotes Paul Vagadori, senior human resources director for San Francisco-based Zoosk.com, an online dating community: “We work hard, we play hard.” Check out the Zoosk.com blog – it looks fun to work there!
In his fast-paced company, Vagadori knows how important it is to show employees the company values and appreciates their stellar efforts. “We want to show them we’re willing to invest time and money for what they do,” he tells Hottman.
Parties help build a sense of team and boost morale, and Vagadori hosts several during the holidays:
- A Thanksgiving potluck — the company springs for entrées and each employee brings a favorite dish.
- A fun pub event in mid-December—everyone enjoys beer and snacks.
- A formal gala at year-end — a professional photographer takes pictures as employees and their dates play games and hit the gambling tables, and everyone gets a framed photo at the end.
The company gives other holiday gifts, too.
- Extra paid time off — so employees can be with family and friends.
- Bonuses — merit-based gifts for going above and beyond.
- Small, useful gifts — nice travel mugs with the company logo, or gift certificates of gratitude.
- Opportunities to give back to the community — a giving tree, where employees take tags and buy gifts for a family in need, and a food bank.
“We have a healthy competition over who can bring in the most weight in food,” Vagadori says to Hottman. “This way, individuals who work in a nice environment, and who are happy to have jobs can give back. It’s nice to be on the giving end.”
Be creative and make it personal when you give workplace gifts during the holidays and year-round. You’ll more than reap the benefits in employee retention and goodwill.
What’s your plan for holiday giving this year? SHRM’s annual survey says 72% of employers plan to host holiday parties this year – do you?
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