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Make an Impression on Employees With These 3 Simple, and Free, Holiday 'Gifts' Sure, a small present and a holiday card are great, but these three things will be appreciated and reciprocated with enthusiasm for another year of success.

By Peter Gasca Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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This time of year is when many business owners ponder how to demonstrate their appreciation to employees. Though much of the economy is doing very well, with 2014 being the best year for U.S. job gains since 1999, and stock markets at record highs, most small businesses and employees are not feeling it. Therefore, big gifts or bonuses will be difficult for most entrepreneurs to give.

So how can you show your appreciation without breaking your budget?

Related: Holiday Gifts: What to Get Your Clients and Colleagues

A small gift and holiday card may be in order, but you can make a much bigger impression by giving all of your employees a healthy dose of these three things:

Compliments

Early in my career, I had a job with a large home builder. The CEO of the company was a very personable and talented leader, and the first time I was promoted, she told me how much she appreciated my hard work and my great work ethic. Her compliment was sincere and unprompted, and it made such a big impact on me that I still remember where we were during the conversation.

Since my position was highly sought after in my industry, I often received recruiting calls from competitors. Each time, I was emboldened by the respect of my boss, so while the money might have been better, I always felt confident to turn them down.

With your team, do not be bashful about giving compliments, especially at this time of year. Be selfless and sincere, and your words will go much further than any small holiday gift.

Credit

Another great trait I remember about many of my role models was their humility. What I remember most was their ability to motivate others to a common goal by constantly giving credit for work. This acknowledgment of my time and effort constantly made me want to work harder and continue to make them proud.

Related: Effective Managers Elevate Team Morale to a Fever Pitch and Score Results

This season, tell your team how much you appreciate their efforts and recognize them for the jobs they have done. Promote successes from the previous year, and even if your team was not completely responsible for them, dole out credit for everything. Appreciate the fact that without your team, your business could not exist. Your selflessness will be appreciated and will energize your team going into 2015.

Confidence

Another great characteristic of great leaders is their confidence. And by confidence, I do not mean self-indulgent narcissism, but rather confidence in the business and the team. Even if your company is doing well, remember that your employees and stakeholders need and want reassurance that their future is secure.

This holiday season, find a way to demonstrate confidence in your organization by leading from the top. Again, promote the successes from the past year, and set and share goals for 2015, which will show that you and your business plan on sticking around. Be sure to express that you believe that, because of the team you have, next year will be better than the last. The energy from your confidence and courage will be felt throughout your organization.

This holiday season, if your budget can afford it, do give your employees a small token of your appreciation for a job well done. Go beyond gifts, however, and give them all a healthy dose of compliments, credit and confidence this holiday season.

These are gifts that cost you nothing but will mean the world to your team.

What other ways do you reward your team? Please share with others in the comments section below.

Related: Motivate Your Employees in 3 Steps

Peter Gasca

Management and Entrepreneur Consultant

Peter Gasca is an author and consultant at Peter Paul Advisors. He also serves as Executive-in-Residence and Director of the Community and Business Engagement Institute at Coastal Carolina University. His book, One Million Frogs', details his early entrepreneurial journey.

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