The holiday season tends to do one of two things to people. They either become extra generous (often spending more than they have) or, like Ebeneezer Scrooge, extra miserly. There are some ways to balance the two so that you don’t overspend or under-appreciate. Here are three tips about how to navigate your company through the holiday season.
Simplify the company party
While a company party can be a festive way to celebrate the season together, it can also be a costly affair. By the time you pay for a venue, catering and some form of entertainment, you could easily spend thousands of dollars. In most cases, your employees would rather that money go directly to their pockets in the form of a holiday bonus or toward saving the company (and their jobs). You don’t want to keep a company tradition if it means invoking commercial debt collection. Simplify the celebration by having a potluck lunch at the office one day, or meet somewhere together after work for happy hour with the understanding that each person covers their own tab.
Adjust holiday bonuses
Holiday bonuses should be just that: a bonus. If employees come to expect a certain amount or set their family budget anticipating a bonus, they may become disgruntled to find the bonus lacking or non-existent. That said, employees have a way of sensing when the company is having financial difficulty. Leadership that communicates openly and sacrifices accordingly will be better respected over time. If you find it necessary to cut bonuses, explain why and show that your bonus was cut, too. If you simplified the company party for the sake of saving the bonuses, share that information. And should your advisors recommend skipping both the company party and the bonuses this year, consider another possibility for a holiday gift: paid time off. By giving your employees the week between Christmas and New Year’s off from work, you are giving them the gift of time without it costing the company anything extra. Unless you work in retail, closing the company doors that week will likely do little to impact your bottom line, but it will make employees feel appreciated even if they don’t receive a monetary gift.
Many companies like to show appreciation to major clients and vendors by giving them gifts at the end of the year. While the relational value of such gestures is meaningful, it can become expensive. Rather than purchasing individual gifts (fruit baskets, flavored popcorn, chocolates, etc.) for clients and vendors, make one sizeable donation to a charity in honor of those companies. For example, assume your budget for such gifts in years past was $5000. You could give a $2000 donation to charity and send notifications to clients and vendors in a holiday card or email to tell them what you did on their behalf. You save sixty percent of your gift budget, make a meaningful donation and still communicate value to those special clients and vendors.
The season of giving does not have to mean you become the object of a debt collection process in California. With a little creativity and good communication, you can be frugal as you show appreciation to those who help to make your business successful.