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Give Your Team Gifts that Mean More than Money

by Jac La Tour

Excited surprised woman

December 9, 2015

December + Christmas = Giving Gifts to Your Staff. And for many ministry leaders, the go-to gift for their team members is bonuses. Before you cut those checks, you may want to read a Harvard Business Review article that questions the motivational power of money.

“Research suggests that even if we let people decide how much they should earn,” HBR reports, “they would probably not enjoy their job more.”

The implication is clear. If your goal is to thank your team and motivate them to keep at it, then money probably isn’t the best bonus. So what would be better alternatives?

Well, how many ideas can you handle? Mike Michalowicz offers plenty in his article “101 Ways to Reward Employees (Without Giving Them Cash). Here are seven of my favorites:

Flexible Hours. Let your team work when they want to work. The flexibility can be worth a lot more than cash. Maybe they won’t need daycare services for their child, for example, if they can make their own schedule.

Breakfast from the Boss. Bring in a catered breakfast for your team, and designate yourself as the main waiter, serving all your wonderful employees.

Wax On, Wax Off. Have their car professionally detailed while they're at work. If you want to save a lot of money, do the detailing yourself.

Adult Education. Pay for one adult education class of their choosing. My preference? Cooking class.

Pick a Door. Put a gift in each of three offices and close the door. Then have the employee choose the door they want, and they get the gift behind it.

Have Their Home Cleaned. Who wants to come home from work, to work on the home? Hire a maid to clean their house for a full year!

Dinner With the Boss. There’s no better way to get employees' attention than to take them and their family to dinner. Make it a nice restaurant of their choice from a list you provide.

One beauty of Michalowicz’ ideas is that many cost little or no money, so you can get creative and bundle them. Or use them as catalysts for creating your own list. Better yet, let your staff come up with ideas, which is Michalowicz’ 62nd idea:

Appreciation Jar. Have every employee write up a gift, privilege or recognition they’d like (or just use this list) and then put each item into an Appreciation Jar. Have the employee being recognized select their method of appreciation at random from the jar.

You get the idea.

Category: Ministry Matters