As you move into the holiday season, your organization is likely considering the best way to reward your employees for a job well done. Often, leaders resort to end-of-year bonuses, a holiday party, or a gift certificate to show their appreciation, but there are other incentives that your employees may value more. Consider these alternatives to the typical end-of-year gift as a way to produce better results in your workplace.

More Time

The default recognition is money-based. After all, most entrepreneurs or business owners see money as the ultimate scorecard for their efforts. Your employees may feel differently. Providing them with more time off can be the better incentive to keeping them at the top of their game.

In fact, studies show that you should insist employees take time away from work to re-energize and recharge. Many companies have stopped tracking time off altogether and expect their employees to self-monitor. The more results-driven your organization is, the more likely this model can work for you.

Flexibility in Their Work

The days of the 9-to-5 job that happens in a cube or an office are over. Giving your employees the flexibility to work when and where they want shows that you trust them. You must recognize that your employees’ most productive times and places for certain tasks may vary.

I have a designer that does not do well in the mornings. Schedule a meeting before 10 a.m., and you will only get half of his potential. On the reverse side, he is always the last to leave the office and often works late into the night producing beautiful, solid work for my customers. I gladly provide him the flexibility to work when and how he wants.

Deeper Understanding

In my experience, much of the conflict that happens in the workplace is not due to bad employees–it’s due to a misunderstanding of the skills we have and the approaches we take to our work. Successful companies need a mix of employees with different styles to get work done, but they rarely take the time to recognize, discuss, and acknowledge these differences.

I recently performed a team-building exercise with a company that was suffering from some issues of dysfunction. After taking them through an evaluation tool, we learned the team was missing members to carry out the plans they were developing. They couldn’t see the problem before this evaluation, but now they are aware of it and are building ways to address this important gap. No other gift this season will be as important to the work they will do in the coming year.

So forget the gift certificate for a ham or turkey, the bottle of wine, or the box of chocolates. Consider instead what gift your company can give that will benefit both you and your employees long after the holidays are over and the new year has begun.