This post is the second of a two part series on employee appreciation for the holidays.

If you’re not sure if doing something special for your cleaners is a worthy investment, we recommend checking out the first post Should You Buy Your Cleaners Gifts This Holiday Season?.

If you recognize that the holidays are a great time to start showing your cleaners you care, you’re in the right place.

We’ve put together a list of ways you can give back to your team this December that don’t take WEEKS to plan.

Budget-Friendly Ideas

1. Give Out Awards (Serious or Silly!)

Using a certificate template (a quick Google search will give you lots to choose from) give everyone in your company an award for something. You can choose what approach to take — serious, or silly.

Serious awards could be for things like “best attendance,” “employee of the year,” or “most improved cleaner.”

Vickie Eubanks and the team at South Shore Building Services in Anaheim, CA, go above and beyond by awarding employees with perfect attendance a pin and plaque at their annual holiday party.

 Photos: South Shore Building Services
Photos: South Shore Building Services

You may not have the budget or time to give plaques and cash bonuses this year, but certificates and thank you cards can go a long way too.

Silly awards could be things like “best dressed” or “most likely to get a parking ticket while on the job” — whatever comes to mind when you think of that team member.

If you want to go the silly route you should first evaluate the kind of relationship you have with your team. Would anyone be offended if you poked a little fun at them? If you’re confident they will see the humour in it, just be sure make everyone’s awards silly to avoid hurting any feelings.

2. Have a Yankee Swap

Also known as a “White Elephant Gift Exchange” this is a great holiday activity for teams that don’t know each other well. Unlike Secret Santa where you know who you’re buying for, a Yankee Swap requires everyone to bring a small gift (think $5 limit) and wrap it.

Then, each person draws a number out of a hat (there should be one number for each person) and that is the order in which they will select and open gifts from the pile. Each time a person opens a gift they can choose whether or not they want to keep their gift or trade for one that’s already been opened.

This means that the person with the last number gets to choose from all of the gifts!

If you think money might be an issue for some of your cleaners remind them that some of the most amusing and popular gifts are often things they can find lying around their house!

3. Host a Potluck

Sometimes the most important thing about employee appreciation is just to create the space for your team to spend time relaxing together and getting to know each other better. A potluck is a great free way to accomplish this.

If you want to make it more interesting add a theme, encourage everyone to dress in holiday outfits, or pair it with a gift wrapping party (see below.)

via GIPHY

4. Share the love on social media

This is truly the type of employee appreciation campaign that could start over the holidays and last all year long.

Take some time while you’re enjoying the slower pace of the holidays to create a nice social media post about an employee (or two) from your company account. You could recognize them for a specific achievement, or just thank them for being a part of your team.

Then, be sure to set a calendar reminder for the same time next week or month to do it again for someone else. You’ll be amazed at how much this small yet public gesture will mean to your cleaners!

5. Host a gift wrapping party

If you’re confident your cleaners will all do some form of gift giving over the holidays, this activity is both practical and festive.

Invite everyone to bring their gifts to a team-wide gift wrapping party. Provide wrapping supplies and a space with lots of tables, put on some music, and let everyone do their thing.

Following this with a potluck or Yankee Swap and you’ve got yourself a well-rounded event!

via GIPHY

6. Help them set goals for 2018

This is a great activity to show your cleaners you care about them as individuals AND it will help you down the road with things like attendance or performance issues.

By asking each employee to write down their goals for 2018 you can better understand how their job at your company can get them closer to that goal and use that information to keep them focused on it throughout the year.

For more information about how to do this check out the first post in this series where we interviewed the management team at Clean Slate Janitorial about this philosophy.

7. Send handwritten cards

If all else fails, a handwritten card is always appreciated. Take the time to pick out different cards for different cleaners (not everyone celebrates Christmas!) and write a personal message to each person.

And If You’re Feeling Generous…

1. Bring them snacks on the job

Who doesn’t like snacks?! Pick a day over the holidays (or a few if you have a lot of part-time cleaners) to show up on-site with something yummy for your team.

2. Make the rest of their work days a little better

Snacks are great (trust me, I really love snacks) but they don’t last long. Consider investing in a gift they can use at work that will make cleaning a little more enjoyable.

This could be a subscription to a music streaming site like Apple Music or Spotify, a pair of headphones to enjoy that music with, or (our favorite,) a pair of Wiivv custom-fit insoles to reduce foot and back pain on the job.

3. Take Them Out to Dinner

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but treating your cleaners to a dinner is a great way for everyone to get to know each other better and feel appreciated by you at the same time.

Remember it doesn’t have to be fancy — it’s the thought that counts!

4. Make them a meal

If you don’t quite have the budget to take them out but still want it to feel like you’re serving your cleaners, literally serve them up something! Making a meal from scratch can be even more rewarding and allows you to have more control over the cost.

5. Do a Group Activity

The possibilities here are endless, but here are some popular examples:

  • Bowling
  • Laser-tag
  • Mini-golf
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Skating
  • Escape Room
  • Board Game Cafe
  • Local Theatre
  • Holiday Parade
  • Comedy Show

6. Make a charitable donation

One way to make your whole team feel warm and fuzzy inside is to make a donation in their names. Be sure to choose a cause that everyone would get behind, and make it known that it was done on their behalf.

While the charities and causes out there are endless, some allow you to get your employees more involved than others.

For instance, Kiva.org is an organization that provides micro-loans to struggling entrepreneurs in countries around the world. By giving a Kiva gift card you’ll allow each member of your team to choose from hundreds of profiles and select the entrepreneur they’d like to support.

Better still is the fact that with Kiva your money keeps on giving — when the first loan is paid back they can reuse that same amount to support someone new!

7. Give the gift of Swept

If you’re ready to make a lasting impact on your business with your gift this holiday season, consider improving your team’s communication with a janitorial software like Swept.

Some business owners are hesitant to adopt new technology because they fear their staff won’t get onboard. With Swept, the technology is designed specifically to support cleaners, so they’ll actually thank you for using it!

But don’t take it from us — here’s what one of our customers had to say about her team and Swept:

We need to get information to our cleaners quickly and easily. We have tried many other options in the past, but our cleaners can be resistant to technology and learning new programs. With Swept, everything is in one place and is easy to operate, so our cleaners are willing to use it. They are actually enjoying it.” — Maggie, Mobile ReLeaf

The Bottom Line…

At the end of the day, to truly impact your business in a positive way through employee appreciation you’ll need to do it on an ongoing basis. The holidays are a great place to start, but in order to improve cleaner retention and as a result, client retention, you’ll need to show them you care year-round.

For more articles and resources on employee recognition and retention, subscribe to our blog below.

Happy holidays!


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