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The Journal Gazette

  • Schiemann

Saturday, December 10, 2016 10:01 pm

6 'gift' ideas to thank your employees

Lisa Green The Journal Gazette

Don’t count on a fruit basket or ham being the ultimate expression of gratitude.

The best holiday gift you can give employees is sometimes less tangible, according to the CEO of Metrus Group, a Branchburg, New Jersey, company focused on consulting, research firm and skills development.

William A. Schiemann said recent research by the company indicates employees are looking for more fulfillment, including at work, where they spend 50 percent or more of their non-sleep time. "Their job and employer influence their fulfillment a great deal," Schiemann said in a statement.

"We also know from our research that fulfillment leads to more productive employees," he wrote. "Highly fulfilled employees we interviewed talked about being more engaged at work, eager to take on new challenges, and often volunteer for special projects both at work and in their communities.

With Christmas coming, Schiemann released six suggestions to "gift your employees" that will increase fulfillment.

1. Recognize people. It’s one of the most powerful forms of motivation. "Even in tough years when the company is struggling, your people are doing their best to make the company successful," he said. Thanks should come from immediate managers and senior management. An all-employee video or personalized letter to employees, a bonus, or small gifts can accomplish this." But gifts without a recognition thank-you, Schiemann said, will not increase fulfillment.

2. Celebrate. While recognition is important, celebration brings about team or department good will and camaraderie, leading to closer working relationships. Even in down years, there is so much to celebrate, such as overcoming obstacles and acquiring new customers. Managers could even think of something quirky, such as going to a winery, bowling, snowmobiling, boating; something special and different from the norm.

3. Remember employees’ families. Your hard-working employees are often bolstered by great families – people or groups who enable your people to manage their work and non-work lives. At Metrus, spouses or significant others are included in the holiday party. Managers could also plan an event – a carnival, movie night or concert, for example – that would include family and friends of employees.

4. Remind people about your company’s mission and vision. All employees want to work for an organization that has a purpose. When employees have options, they want to be affiliated with a company, nonprofit or agency that is making a difference. A compelling mission and vision are key requirements to the alignment mentioned above which drives fulfillment.

5. Tell employees how they will grow in the future. The end of the year is often a time when employees take stock of how they have grown over the past year. If they have been denied access to training, not been stretched in some new way, or don’t see development in the future, some will be searching for a new role, and others will simply be less motivated. Have the kind of discussions that give employees something to look forward to.

6. Give back. The most fulfilled people in the Metrus research talked about giving back and valuing employers who give back to the community in one form or another.

YLNI training deadline

The deadline for applying for the Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana’s Leadership Institute is Friday.

Each year, there’s a competitive application pool from which only 35 applicants are accepted. Applicants can be emerging professionals, potential leaders in corporate, nonprofit, education and health care sectors or community volunteers, according to the YLNI website.

The leadership institute involves six, daylong sessions at various locations, including Sweetwater Sound and Lincoln Financial Group. The goal is to provide hands-on instruction, small-group activities, personal reflection time and other opportunities to assess and develop skills to advance.

Session topics include "The Team Workout: An Interactive Approach to Team Development," "Life, Work & Community: Finding the Right Balance," and "Get on Board: Effective Board Service."

The $375 tuition includes one-year of membership to YLNI after graduation from the institute. Employers can sponsor employees. Tuition payment is not due until an applicant is accepted into the program.

More information about this leadership development program and applications can be found online at

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at