Despite rising inflation, many people will still be forking out extra cash to celebrate the holidays this year. There are some creative ways employers can ease the stress of holiday spending. 

Holiday parties are appreciated by some, but for the last few years it’s been difficult to organize events involving large crowds. So take time to rethink how you celebrate with your team. As you decide how your company will celebrate the holidays, consider how any seasonal appreciation shown to employees could reduce their financial stress at the same time.

1. Gift cards for essentials 💳

Gift cards for things like groceries, gas or other essential items would be a welcome relief for many during the holiday season. Every dollar that a family doesn’t have to spend on their regular household costs can be redirected to help them fund gifts or holiday meals without going into debt. 

Watch out for prepaid gift cards from major credit card companies; most of those come with fees. Usually they are free for the first year, but may charge a few dollars per month against the balance after a year. Let’s say you give a $50 gift card with a $3 monthly fee after the first 12 months. If the employee used that card after 24 months, it would only have $14 left on it.  

If you provide gift cards for a specific retailer, make sure the retailer has enough locations near your employees’ homes, or your workplace. This way, it’s probable your employee can use the card without burning extra gas. For remote employees, this is especially important. So do your research, or give something very generic that can be used from anywhere.

2. Flexible shifts for some, overtime for others ⏱️

Some people need more time flexibility over the holidays, while others need more hours. Consider polling your employees to see who needs what. Then see if you can shift around typical work schedules to cover the workload, while spreading out the work differently to accommodate various needs during this time of year.

3. Create a gift hack channel 🎁

Encourage employees to share spending tips and deals with each other by enabling a holiday spending discussion thread or channel. While not everyone celebrates, and participation should be optional, many people can benefit from smart spending ideas. And lots of employees have learned tricks or tips to save money that others may not know of. When one person shares, everyone can learn something new! 

4. Create extra earning opportunities in the new year 🍾

Is there a big project you’ve got the budget for that could benefit from more attention during kick-off? Maybe you’ve got some initiatives that could use a little extra elbow grease to get them over the line? A little pre-planning could help you line up extra work early in the new year when your employees need to pay off holiday bills. 

5. Education 🧑‍🎓

To have the greatest impact on reducing employee financial stress, it’s crucial to bring meaningful and practical financial education to the workplace. If you already have a program, try to connect holiday giving with parts of the program. Offer extra incentives to those who complete certain lessons or tasks during the month of December. Consider rewarding those who share shopping tips with others. Incentives don’t have to create a cash cost; you can offer a little time off, or something totally free. Get creative. You can also incentivize learning activities with ballot entries for a prize draw to keep costs more manageable.

The holidays don’t have to create extra financial stress for your team. Think about the ways you can support their financial health during this time of year, and be sure not to leave out those who may not celebrate a special holiday in December. Everyone can benefit from incentives and flexibility that are inspired by this special time of year. 

About CacheFlo

CacheFlo is a financial education company that builds eLearning and tools to help financial professionals and individuals make behaviour-based changes, which allow them to get more life from their money. We want to make it easier for people to predict the impact of their financial choices before they make them.

About the Certified Cash Flow Specialist (CCS) program

CCS professionals go through enhanced cash flow-based training to develop the skill set to deliver behaviour-based cash flow advice. They start the financial planning process with a cash flow plan to genuinely help their clients get more life from their money.

About the Financial Capability Program (FCP)

The FCP combines quick and practical lessons with tools, including Winton, which helps people make financial changes they can stick to. Users can apply what they've learned to their financial situation, thus bridging the knowing-doing gap. The goal of the FCP is to help people get more life from their money.