Holiday Gift Warning: What Employees REALLY Want


If you celebrate holidays with a gift, a card or a kind word remember this:  What- ever you give, wrap it in sincere gratitude for their value to you personally and your organization.  Peek out from the shadows of the ‘present’ as intent matters – most of all!

In a past life, for a few years, I went off track. I thought thanks for employees would be measured based on the size (value) of the gift.  Why?  Good question.

Did those values come from my family?  Absolutely not.  My family was not wealthy. We lived in a little Pittsburgh steel mill home.  As you can see in this photo, it was very small and very old, yet to my dad, it was ‘our castle.’  Dad believed that with all his heart as did the rest of our family.  It was always about the little things that mattered with our family.

My Parents House

From my birth until dad passed and we moved mom near us a couple of years ago, I never missed being in this ‘little old house’ each Christmas Eve.  Regardless of over 30 years of living hundreds of miles away, I never missed one!

Of course, It was never about the house.  That was the warm and loving wrapping.  It was my family and the ‘home” my parents created.

So then what threw me off track? Years ago I started a practice of buying people that reported directly to me slightly expensive presents selected with a lot of individual thought to each. One year I learned through another employee that one of my highly valued employees was disappointed.  Not because of the dollar amount spent on his gift, but rather because the other employee’s gift was more personal. Did that mean I valued her more? URG. Of course not! However, that was how it made him feel. That experience made me realize the ‘actual present’ was not what made them feel special, their belief of how I valued them – that was necessary.

As small and old this little house may appear, if I could click my heels my wish would be to return in a second. The value of the love, kindness, and peace was greater than any gift.  So again, why did I get ‘off track’?  I don’t know to this day, and it does not matter. What is important was the lesson.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”Maya Angelou

Find a way to take your employees on the journey of their valuable contribution to you personally, and your organization.  Help them gather memories that will never be forgotten. 

Wishing you, your family and team a very Merry Christmas – Happy Chanukah – Happy Kwanzaa – Happy Holidays, and a healthy and prosperous 2017 filled with many ‘Little Old House‘ memories.   

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