gift-553143_1280Many companies offer their employees an annual Christmas bonus as a thank you for their hard work over the year, however is this really the best way to reward Millennial employees? Millennials are half as likely to consider monetary payments as important as their bosses, so is it time to rethink the traditional Christmas bonus? Here are five tips for motivating Millennial employees this holiday season:

Personalize it.

However you decide to reward Millennials around the holidays, make sure you make it personalized for each employee. Buying the same small gift for each person on your team is a great way to make sure everyone feels equal, but Millennials want to know you thought about them in some way. Add a small note on top of each gift with a short message thanking each Millennial for something specific they brought to the team this year. If you don’t have it in your budget to purchase a gift for each employee, you’re in luck! Millennials crave the personalized recognition more than the physical gift, so instead of fretting over how to afford gifts, take the time to send each Millennial a personalized thank you email or card. Your words will mean more than a $10 gift card to Starbucks.

Come together.

Millennials invest themselves in companies that have a mission outside of creating a product or offering a service. They flock to companies who serve the community by giving back, and the holiday season is the perfect time to do so. Plan a day with your team of Millennials to volunteer at a local food drive or deliver Christmas meals to families in need. There are dozens of local organizations that would welcome the help from organizations during the holiday season, so your options are endless. Millennials will see getting away from their desks and doing something with meaning as a reward in itself. Not to mention they’ll appreciate the extra team-building time this will give them with other employees!

Festive flexibility.

Millennials appreciate flexibility in their work schedules year-round, but during the holidays, this flexibility is especially needed. Whether it’s time for holiday gift shopping or preparing for family to come in town, Millennials may need extra time at home during this busy season. Be understanding and offer them flexibility, whether that means different hours, or working remotely for a day or so. Be sure to pull the team together a month or so in advance and try to plan out when each member feels they need extra time to ensure that the department is adequately staffed to accommodate the flexibility.

Use a points system.

Create a system in the months leading up the holidays where employees can earn points for hitting certain goals. Did you take on an extra workload while another employee went on a vacation? Ten points for you. Take the time to help someone despite your busy day? Another ten points. Have employees keep track of their own personal points, and about a week before the holiday season, surprise the team with a holiday gift shop. Allow employees to use their points to purchase prizes like gift cards, small electronics, or maybe even an extra vacation day! This is a fun way to give back to your employees and motivate them to go the extra mile even during this hectic time of year.

Perfect perks.

Most industries tend to see an increase in business during the holiday season, so employees may be working longer hours than usual to get work done. Millennials will feel appreciated if an employer offers surprise perks to help everyone work through the stress. Are your employees getting to work earlier than usual? Pay for a catered breakfast, like a make your own pancake station, to show employees you care that they’re sacrificing their own time to put in extra hours. Staying late? Have a mid-afternoon gourmet coffee station set up so Millennials can get a pick-me-up to power through the rest of the day. Millennials will appreciate the gesture because it shows you’re recognizing their hard work.

Leading and motivating Millennials can be tricky, so it’s best to know your own personal strengths and weaknesses as a leader so you know where to improve. Take this free assessment.