If you're a small business owner, coming up with cash for hefty holiday bonuses can be difficult. Here are some alternatives you can consider.

If you’re worried about coming up with the cash for a holiday bonus this year, you’re not alone. Plenty of small business owners deal with this dilemma and here are plenty of ways to show your appreciation for your employees that don’t involve big holiday bonuses. In fact, four out of five employees say they’d prefer employment perks over more money, according to a Glassdoor survey. If you’re a cash-strapped small business owner, here are a number of ideas for showing appreciation for your employees that don’t include holiday bonuses.

Flexibility Perks

96% of U.S. employees want flexibility, but only 47% have it, according to the Harvard Business Review. If your small business isn’t able to provide flexible scheduling on a regular basis, you could offer it as a holiday perk for workers. For instance, you could allow employees to choose a day (or several days) to telecommute during the holiday season. You could also consider offering holiday hours, such as closing early on Fridays or allowing employees to come in early or late and leave early or late during the holiday season.

Teambuilding Perks

Research also shows that employees value having personal connections and friends at work—and that having these close-knit relationships at work actually drives better performance. Offering opportunities for teambuilding can be another valuable way to show appreciation for your employees.

For instance, close early one afternoon and take the whole team to see a movie or attend a sporting event. Or, if you want to make sure you see a strong return on your investment, purchase a training course for yourself and your employees to attend together—you can all learn new skills while you get to know each other better. (Today’s workers truly value professional development: 59% of Millennials and 44% of Gen Xers say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job, according to Gallup.)

Celebration Perks

The holiday season is a time to celebrate, and taking the time to celebrate with your staff may just be the perfect way to show them that you appreciate them and their work for your business. For example, think about taking the whole team out for a holiday lunch, or have a special lunch catered at your workplace.

Want your employees to really enjoy the celebration? Consider hosting a holiday party for your employees and their families or significant others at your home or office. Make it truly special (and encourage everyone to show up) by letting staffers know you’ll be handing out a few high-end door prizes such as an iPad, video game console or gift cards to local restaurants.

If you can’t give bonuses to your employees at the end of the year, don’t fret. Cash isn’t the only option for showing your appreciation. Spend some time brainstorming, get creative, and even ask your employees for suggestions of what they would value most, and develop your own unique way of saying “thank you” and “happy holidays” to the team members who helped bring your business through the year.

Readers should consult their own attorneys or other tax advisors regarding any financial or tax strategies mentioned in this article. These materials are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or endorsement of Santander Bank.

Santander Bank, N.A. is a Member FDIC and a wholly owned subsidiary of Banco Santander, S.A. ©2023 Santander Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Santander, Santander Bank and the Flame Logo are trademarks of Banco Santander, S.A. or its subsidiaries in the United States or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


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