"Tis the season to be jolly! It is also a great time of year to say thank you to your staff and faculty. Here is your chance to tell them how much you appreciate their work and effort. We know it would not be possible to run our studios effectively without the help of these dedicated individuals. It is also probably a fact that they are so invaluable its not possible to pay them what they are truly worth. I know that is very true with many of our people. They are so dedicated, both emotionally and artistically, that we would need to pay some of them ten times more than what we can afford. But we also know that they love what they do and it is important to them to know that we appreciate them and everything they bring to our business. We try to say Thank you! throughout the year, and especially during the holiday seasona great time to reach out and let them know how thankful you are to have them be a part of your dream and your business!

"Tis the season to be jolly! It is also a great time of year to say thank you to your staff and faculty. Here is your chance to tell them how much you appreciate their work and effort. We know it would not be possible to run our studios effectively without the help of these dedicated individuals. It is also probably a fact that they are so invaluable its not possible to pay them what they are truly worth. I know that is very true with many of our people. They are so dedicated, both emotionally and artistically, that we would need to pay some of them ten times more than what we can afford. But we also know that they love what they do and it is important to them to know that we appreciate them and everything they bring to our business. We try to say Thank you! throughout the year, and especially during the holiday seasona great time to reach out and let them know how thankful you are to have them be a part of your dream and your business!

Here are some ways to show your appreciation. Keep in mind that if your budget is tight you do not have to spend a lot of money it really is the thought that counts. But if you are having a good year and can give your staff a bonus, it will speak volumes.

Take everyone out for lunch. If you know a local spot, you may be able to arrange a set-price meal to help keep the costs down. The idea is to have a fun and relaxing time. Be sure to give a special toast to acknowledge all that they do.

Host a dinner party. This is a great way to connect in a more intimate setting. You can have the event catered or keep it simple. If your house isnt big enough, ask a friend with a bigger home if you can host it there. We borrow a friends house in a beautiful setting by a lake each year naturally we buy all the food and drink and hire a crew to take care of the cleanup. Just making the effort to have some quality time with your people goes a long way, and rejuvenates everyone for the year ahead.

Give a bonus. Staff and teachers are always thrilled to receive a bonus, especially at this time of year. We base our bonus amounts on seniority. The longer the staff or faculty member has been with us, the bigger bonus they receive. The amounts that you give are really up to you. Every area is different and everyones budget is unique. For a guideline, however, here is the formula that I recommend. Start your calculation by giving a percentage of their pay, say 10 to 20 percent, depending on what you can afford. Then add on an amount for each year they have been with you. If you have to adjust the amounts downward, do so in the same proportion so that those with more seniority will still receive a bigger bonus than newer employees.

Give a gift certificate. This is a great gift to receive, and you can often find deals with local merchants to get an even higher value than what you spend. One of our local restaurants runs a business special the owner doubles the amount of every gift certificate we buy. Keep an eye out for these kinds of offers at any of the businesses in your community. Another possibility is to go to a business you frequent and negotiate a quantity discount, say a certain percentage off because youre buying five or more certificates. In our present economy, merchants are happy to go the extra distance to make a sale and create a loyal customer.

Send a gift basket. This is always a great surprise to receive and a great way of saying thanks when its not possible to get everyone together for a celebration. There are dozens of companies with baskets in all price ranges to choose from just think of your favorite chocolate shop or gourmet store and give them a call or shop their website. If you are watching costs, make them up yourself. Buy pretty baskets at a local crafts store and fill them with an assortment of homemade goodies or packaged treats you put in clear cellophane bags tied with festive ribbons.

You may decide to on one, two or several of these ideas. We try to give as many as we can afford. I think that anytime you can get together with your people and relax, have some fun and unwind, everyone benefits. And as a bonus, it will make you feel great, too! Remember, its not how much you give, but the fact that you took the time, effort and thought to give. That is what counts.