November has long been my favorite month. Outside on my regular walks, the summer birds are long gone, the migration's almost past and the winter visitors—shrike, harrier, kingfisher and more—are settling into their regular territories. At the same time, the year-round birds like chickadees, robins and bluebirds are putting on their winter coats. There's still just a little more time to crunch leaves under foot before they get blown away or covered with snow, and the trees have revealed the stark architecture that hides behind a blanket of leaves all summer long.
It's a time of year for cooking soup and chili, for drinking hot apple cider, for roasting turkeys and root vegetables, and for baking pumpkin and pecan pie. There's still time to actually rake the leaves off of the yard and onto the garden before the snow falls. And then yardwork—except for the occasional shoveling of snow—will cease for its long winter's nap.
And, of course, this month brings daily reminders of gratitude. Thankfulness. On Facebook, I see people posting about what they're grateful for, from kids and family to the most recent Bears win. And soon enough, they'll all be sitting down with friends and family around the Thanksgiving table—that holiday that embodies gratitude and thankfulness.
At the same time, you who plan incentives and rewards are likely turning your thoughts (if you haven't already) to gifts to share with your employees, your partners and your customers. Gifts that will express your gratitude to those who've helped bring another year of success to your organization.
While the economy might have put a stop or slowdown to some business gift programs, many businesses still recognize the value of the practice. These companies like to see employees receiving recognition, and customers getting a thanks-for-your-business—from gift cards to tins of chocolate and cookies, and more.
This year, a Parago Inc. survey shows that you don't even need to go above and beyond. More than two-thirds of workers surveyed (69 percent) don't expect end-of-year gifts from their employers. At the same time, these employees are very appreciative of small rewards. More than six in 10 said that a simple $25 gift card would meet their expectations.
The survey also found that rewards given at the end of the year provide a nice boost to morale. Some 83 percent of employees said a reward would make them feel either appreciated, motivated to work harder or more loyal to the company. And, 82 percent said receiving an end-of-year award would mean they had done a good job and worked hard or that their employer appreciates and values them.
"This data shows a huge opportunity for employers to foster a loyal environment and maintain a productive workforce, because employees are satisfied with smaller holiday rewards and feel even more appreciated when they receive them," said Juli Spottiswood, president and CEo of Parago.
You can make a meaningful difference in how your employees feel about their work, how your partners and your customers feel about doing business with you, through this simple act of recognition. It's a win-win situation, isn't it?
There's no reason not to spread the gratitude around. With so much thankfulness in the air, be sure you're ready to recognize and reward all the players who've made your business a success this year.
And we wish you continuing success in the year to come!