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Unique Ways to Say Thanks During the Holidays

The holidays are a busy time of year at home and the office. It’s also the time of year where research has shown employees are less engaged in their work. Recognizing your employees keeps them more engaged during the holiday season and helps them to feel appreciated for who they are as a valued member of your team.

Because there is so much going on this time of year, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the holiday chaos and let thanking your employees slip as a priority. To help to bring appreciation to the forefront during this time of year, we want to give you a challenge, with ideas on how you can show you’re grateful for your team.

We’d love to have your participation by sharing posts of the things you do to show your thanks for your team on social media using this hashtag: #gratefulformyteam. The main goal of this challenge is to solidify a culture of gratitude and appreciation during this time of year. To help with this goal we’ve created a unique list of ideas to show you appreciate your team.

Employee Recognition Ideas for the Holidays

Use Social Recognition

A very simple yet effective way to build a culture of thankfulness & recognition is to use an employee recognition platform with peer-to-peer and manager-to-peer functionality. Some of these programs offer points where employees can then redeem for merchandise and items of their choosing.

Here are some ideas on how you could use social recognition & point programs to show your gratitude for your team.

Thank them for meeting timely deadlines & hard work on specific projects: Write a personalized thank you and explain why the work they did was meaningful to you and the organization.

Thank them for going above and beyond to help other team members: It’s awesome when an employee does their job, but when they go beyond their job description and assist another team member, it should be recognized. Publicly acknowledge these moments & encourage others to do the same!

Thank employees who recognize & thank other employees: In creating a culture of recognition, it’s essential to give acknowledgment to employees who demonstrate your values and aid you spreading these positive behaviors throughout the organization.  

Thank them for offering their feedback & suggestions: Being in HR, you know how helpful feedback and suggestions can be when it comes to improving processes and strategies. Giving employees an incentive for offering this can be one way to get more voluntary feedback.

Thank them for volunteering and giving to company causes: When employees feel appreciated for giving of their time and resources to the objectives the company stands behind, it creates a stronger bond in moving towards a greater purpose together.

Thank them for following safety protocol & guidelines: If you’re in a manufacturing related industry, this is extremely important. Many workplace injuries are the result of not following safety procedures. Rewarding employees for implementing these guidelines can help to reduce accidents and will help to improve your bottom line. A safe employee is a happy employee.

Thank them for making progress in their career development education and training goals: If there is a skill gap that your employees struggle with, it can be very stressful for them and affect their overall productivity. Providing incentive for continuing education can help to ensure your team stays learning and stays on top of industry changes.

Employee Engagement Ideas for the Holidays

Keeping employees engaged this time of year is challenging, but when you have the right plan in place, it can help to keep your employees happy and productive. The holidays are a time for connection and giving. You can easily transfer that vibe into your workplace culture by using some of these employee engagement ideas.

Thank them by looking for opportunities to practice goodwill: Employee wellbeing is influenced by overall wellbeing. Keep your eyes and ears open to listen for opportunities where you can extend a helping hand. If you find that one of your employees is struggling, contribute by giving a grocery gift card or if someone is moving, coordinate a team who could help them. When employees feel you care about them, it helps to build trust, which in turn contributes to positive employee morale.

Thank them by providing a fun team environment: Studies show that team collaboration is a big key to boosting employee engagement. This is because it satisfies the Maslow Hierarchy of needs for belonging and connection. Have team games, activities, committees and events that employees will look forward to during the Holiday months. You could have a team outing or let them work on team projects where they can utilize all their strengths to get tasks accomplished. This is especially important if you’re trying to cater to millennials. Not to mention, having a sense of accomplishment is the fuel for greater productivity. Ask your employees to find out what kinds of things they would like to do during the holiday months. What’s important and enjoyable to them?

Thank them by giving away flexible benefits: It’s nearing the end of the year and time off is essential: Give away flex days, time off or even days where your employees can work remotely. According to a 2016 survey of American remote workers, about 91 percent of people who work from home feel that they’re more productive than when they’re in an office.

Thank them by giving them gifts: Giving company gifts can be tricky, but a creative and fair way to do this is by utilizing games like Secret Santa or White Elephant. Another idea is to have teams or departments work together to get a gift for one person. The team members would all sign a card and provide a personal note to the person receiving the gift. Another idea is to create a wall of fame where everyone’s picture would be on the wall and employees could write a personal note telling each employee what they value about them.

Thank them by challenging them: Giving your employees goals and challenges helps them to work towards those accomplishments. Being that January is just around the corner, consider hosting a fun wellness challenge where you run a Fitbit challenge. Maybe the person with the most steps wins an extra day of vacation? For this, you’d especially want to get employee input to find out what would motivate them to participate.


Whatever you plan for your employees to do during the holidays should be in line with your company culture and their desires. This is not an all-encompassing list, and we’d love to hear what works for you. Join us in this challenge by sharing posts about what you’re doing to engage and recognize your employees on social media by using this hashtag: #gratefulformyteam

If you have questions or want more ideas about boosting employee engagement, we’re here to help. We at MTM, wish you all the best this holiday season.

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