Making the most of the holidays

What's the best way to show your staff how much they are appreciated?

The holidays are upon us. I don't know about you, but after a year like this, I am looking forward to the New Year even more than usual.

But what about the conclusion of 2009? How do we send our appreciation to team members without breaking the bank or the end-of-year bottom line?

Our team members have seen the effects of this economy first hand. They have lived it alongside of us. If you share your numbers with your team, they are aware of the cyclic nature of the business as well as the potential decrease in revenue due to job loss and changes in dental benefits.

But the holidays are a time of expectation and excitement. We need to show our team we truly appreciate their dedication, even with a small token.

How small? A bonus of either cash or a gift certificate is always welcome. Some offices throw elaborate parties. Some offer a choice: cash or party, but not both. Will some holiday cash be more beneficial to a team member than a night out at a fancy restaurant that may incur clothing costs, babysitting, and parking? That could be the deciding factor, unless you are planning to defray those costs with an additional bonus.

An office celebration may be as basic or elaborate as you choose, and you may or may not involve your team in the selection of time, place, and concept. In my office we always have a team luncheon with a small gift exchange. The gifts are never elaborate, so the expectations are not high, but the thought is always apparent. We take half a day off work, dine at a restaurant of the group's choice, and do our gift exchange before parting ways for the day. We never chat about office policies or protocols; after all, this is not an office meeting but a celebration. And I have never invited spouses or significant others. The idea is to keep it fairly simple.

You should never feel obligated to do something for your staff this time of year, but the thought is always nice and you will be remembered for it.

It is a wonderful way to kick off the season of joy.

Sheri Doniger, D.D.S., practices clinical dentistry in Lincolnwood, IL. She has served as an educator in dental and dental hygiene programs, has been a consultant for a major dental benefit company, and has written for several dental publications. Most recently, she was the editor of Woman Dentist Journal and Woman Dentist eJournal. You can reach her at [email protected].

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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