It’s time to raise the bar on giving

Everyone loves a gift, especially around this time of year! However, if the old adage is to be believed, it’s the thought that counts, rather than the gift itself. If you cast your mind back to some gifts you’ve received in the past, I’m sure those that had real thought behind them are the ones that continue to stick in your mind, even years later.

Christmas is right around the corner, so it’s well and truly time to start thinking of how you will reward your team for the hard work they’ve put in over the year and believe me when I say that a quirky mug or a motivational poster won’t do the trick.

What are the consequences of getting it wrong?

Buying the wrong gift for one of your team members doesn’t seem like it’s the worst thing in the world and it’s true, there are worse things you could do, but missing the mark could leave your team feeling as though they are underappreciated.

A team that doesn’t feel valued is unlikely to show up to work in the New Year feeling enthusiastic and a lacklustre team will not be driving your organisation forward.

There are plenty of ways to boost your team’s engagement and being generous and thoughtful in your giving is one sure fire way to kickstart a team that is ready to tackle anything and willing to go the extra mile. When your team knows that you care about them and appreciate them for all the hard work they put in everyday, they’re more willing to show up, even when times get hard. Not only that but a valued team is loyal and they will consistently deliver results because they know how important their role is within your organisation.

So, how do we get it right?

The process of gift-giving starts long before the Christmas rush. The most important step is to listen. Listening will give you all the information you need to know about your team members – their likes, their dislikes, even their allergies. All the information you collect in daily conversations will come into play as you decide how to reward them at the end of the year.

Giving an employee a bottle of wine may seem like a nice thing to do, but for the person who doesn’t drink alcohol, this could be considered inappropriate, or downright disrespectful. Listening in everyday conversations is the right way to uncover all the little details that will build a profile of your team members so that you can get a gift that will show them that they are fully valued members of your organisation.

Have you heard one of your employees talk about their favourite music recently? Or perhaps they love getting involved in extreme sports. You won’t know unless you listen carefully, so make sure you’re making the most of everyday conversations and use what you learn about your employees to select a gift that they will really appreciate.

Top it all off with a handwritten note to express how grateful you are for all their work. Forget about writing a generic message with a motivational quote – set aside plenty of time and really think about what each person brings to the team and tell them!

It’s easy to say that your team all know how important they are, but it’s your job to let them know just how much. Don’t let your team feel underappreciated this giving season!

If you’re a younger leader, ready to reward and recognise your employees effectively, People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit or call us on 0412 333 415. Our online leadership training videos start from $99 for a year’s access, with new video training added each quarter. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.