Holiday Gifts to Employees and Employers

Some of the best gifts can cost little money, but are of huge value.

The past year has seen an economic downturn become a global recession. Downsizing and increased cost-cutting have depleted worker morale as has the Sept. 11th tragedy.

Despite these forces, there are still constructive ways for staff to make their workplaces more emotionally healthy and productive this holiday season and all year round according to The Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health.

The Toronto based organization headed by Bill Wilkerson is committed to creating healthier work places. They maintain that employers and employees can contribute to overall well-being at work.

To this end they have suggested some novel gift giving ideas.

1. Give the gift of being fair and reasonable to others. Perceived unfairness can trigger seething resentment and anger. Ensure employees have the tools and support to succeed. Feeling like a failure fosters a lack of initiative.

2. Give the gift of inclusion. That means managers can share information with employees, invite them to meetings and give them a voice on decisions. Staff can refuse to hoard information. Let people know they belong.

3. A gift from the boss: Delegate work clearly. Help employees to know what is expected of them. Ensure they have all the information they need. Before the project starts, discuss the workload and deadlines. That will help those with family obligations.

4. Give the gift of respecting people’s time. Conduct meetings efficiently, begin and end on time and don’t monopolize a meeting. Keep focussed by refraining from changing priorities constantly.

5. Give the gift of acknowledging the worth of others. Ensure staff feel valued, recognized and that their ideas count. Incorporate staff suggestions and follow-up on projects. Notice people’s efforts and acknowledge their successes publicly.

6. Give the gift of helping workers find job fulfillment. Staff need satisfaction from a job well done as well as personal and professional development opportunities. Let them know their work matters and how their efforts further the organization’s goals.

7. Give the gift of job clarity. Make sure the person and position are properly matched. Ensure job descriptions reflect the tasks being done and minimize job overlap. A failure to do this can cause untold grief. Make sure work expectations, and career opportunities are properly articulated. Provide regular, honest performance reviews.

Those are some of the Roundtable’s gift ideas. We would like to add a few of our own:

  • Give the gift of downtime for employees. Taking breaks and investing in family and other aspects of one’s life guards against burnout and can increase productivity.
  • Give the gift of interpersonal courage. Be willing to find ways to address disrespectful, rude, deceptive or harassing behaviour at work. Strive to resolve contentious issues.
  • Give the gift of forgiveness and personal accountability. Own and apologize for faux pas and gaffs. Commit to not making the same mistake three times. Forgive yourself and others for being fallible.

    Dr. Jennifer Newman and Dr. Darryl Grigg are registered psychologists and directors of Newman & Grigg Psychological and Consulting Services Ltd., a Vancouver-based corporate training and development partnership. They can be contacted at

    Identifying information in cases cited has been changed to protect confidentiality.

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