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Boost Employee Moral with Your End of Year Budget

Boost Employee Moral with Your End of Year Budget

The clock is ticking… you’re approaching the end of the year and you’re scrambling to spend the remainder of your budget.

We’ll keep it real with you: the ‘use it or lose it’ approach for budgeting is tired. 

Being penalized for not spending your entire budget leads to last-ditch efforts and rushed decisions. You can’t possibly use your money in a thoughtful, effective way if you’re anxious about the budget getting cut.

Sure you’ve looked at aspects of your budget like software, marketing, or travel expenses. But have you considered your employee appreciation budget?

Thanks to your employee’s devotion, unique skill sets, and tireless work, your business has thrived through some uncertain times. And as much as they’ve had your back, you need to make it known that you have theirs, too. Employee appreciation should be just as big a part of the budget conversation as your other expenses.

Keep reading and we’ll show you how exactly to utilize that extra cash before the year ends, and boost morale at the same time.

Let’s end the year on a high note.

The Retaining Power of Employee Appreciation

The Great Resignation has made it incredibly clear: if an employee does not feel valued, they will leave.

In a 2021 McKinsey study, 40% of employees stated that they were at least somewhat likely to leave their jobs within 3-6 months. 40-42% quit without having another job lined up. The main reasons for quitting were that employees didn’t feel valued by their organizations or managers, and didn’t feel a sense of belonging at work. Not only has this rising sense of disconnection and discontent been rising, but employers have continuously been overlooking the crucial relational dynamics that are the key drivers for leaving.

When employees are recognized and rewarded for their contributions, they feel higher levels of pride, productivity, and ownership over their work.

These simple acts of appreciation will drive employees to continually do their best and stay with a company.

Turn your end-of-year budget into an employee appreciation budget

Much like professional development budgets, you may want to consider budgeting for employee appreciation. This can be done by budgeting for your employees as a whole; or you can make an appreciation budget per employee.

The process of allocating these funds can be relatively simple. Whether you split it evenly amongst employees, or stagger funds depending on tenure, that is entirely up to you. Many companies follow a general rule of 1-2% of payroll per year.

End of Year Employee Engagement Ideas

  • Meet up in person for some mid-week fun – Get some much-needed face time in, outside & offscreen. Participate in a fun or meaningful activity together. This could be painting classes, an escape room, community service, paintball…you name it!
  • Lunch on you! - Plan the next team meeting around lunch, and encourage members to order from their favorite restaurant. How long since you broke bread together?
  • Host a wellness afternoon - Take an extended afternoon tea break - Have everyone step away from their desks for an afternoon of wellness. Stretch, journal, breathe, or enjoy a cup of tea as a group.
  • Coffee chats with leadership - For folks who are in line for a promotion, schedule time for them to have a coffee date with someone within the organization of a similar position. Send them a coffee break kit so they can make a fancy latte and chat.
  • End of year celebration - With the costs of nearly everything on the rise, mixed with layoffs and low employee morale, it’s incredibly important to go the extra mile. Splurge on an end of year event that is both personal and memorable to make your people feel special! Give out awards and gifts to celebrate particular milestones – significant work anniversaries, promotions, Longest Serving Team Member… Who doesn’t love a good trophy?
  • Goal planning retreat - Plan an offsite retreat. Once you check off your annual planning needs, dream even bigger together: everyone share their personal goals and wildest dreams, and map out how you will help one another achieve them as a team. The sky’s the limit here. This is a great opportunity to deepen connections, build trust, and create an environment of vulnerability and collective support.
  • Performance bonuses – When in doubt, the extra income will always be greatly appreciated amongst your employees.


While there are many ways to utilize extra funds at the end of the year, your company will gain exponential value by investing it back into your employees. Remember, employee recognition doesn’t need to be extravagant to make an impact. Taking the time to recognize and appreciate all that was accomplished while bringing everyone together will result in greater morale and productivity for years to come. 

Invest in the people who invest in your business.

Happy budgeting!

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