4 Holiday-Related Incentives to Motivate Student Workers

By Allie Mitchell on December 19, 2016

School is almost over for students and those students are working hard to make extra money during the holidays. The holidays themselves are stressful and overwhelming for the most part, so after getting done with the semester, students are seemingly subjecting themselves to even more stress.

The hours during the holidays are great for the most part and the money they make can be well worth it, but sometimes the money isn’t enough to keep them mentally in the game. Students appreciate a good working environment; they want the company culture to be just what they like, even if they are only there for a temporary amount of time.

Students at least want to have a good experience at wherever they decide to work and know that their employers care about them one way or another. Students do not want to be coddled but they want some type of incentive to keep them motivated.


The holidays are the time for extra incentive and major motivation boosts for students. School has completely and utterly drained them and they need something to make them happy and joyful, since it is the holidays after all. Employers need to look at their employees a bit differently and help keep them on track and keep their eyes on the prize.

The prize is getting through the holiday rush shoppers — the ones that seem to make you lose all faith in humanity and can make any student employee go insane. Sometimes just saying ‘good job’ or ‘good work’ is enough for some students and sometimes others need a little bit more to get them through and to help them keep their heads up during the season.

Holiday incentives can do wonders when it comes to having student workers, so here are some that may do the trick and make all the difference for the employers and the employees:

1. Recognition: And not just recognition with motivational words, but sometimes regarding employees that didn’t even know that their bosses knew they existed. Make sure to show them how good of a job they are doing and speak to them by name so they know that you acknowledge your employees as part of the team. Make sure that the employees don’t fall into the cracks and think that their work is not being appreciated. Do not coddle, but make them aware that they too are a staple within the company — not just a cog in the machine.

2. Food: Everyone enjoys some food now and again, especially when it is free and provided by an employer. The work hours for the holidays are long and hard and highly frustrating for the everyday student, but putting in the tiny bit of effort to order food for your hard working employees is always an easy way to motivate them through the holiday turmoil. Although, sometimes the downside to ordering food is that employers never seem to order enough, so keep in mind to order over the amount that you may need so that no one feels left out or that they didn’t get any food whatsoever.

3. Friendly Competitions: Having your employees engage in some friendly work-related competition could definitely boost morale and keep their heads in the game. Have the end game be some type of grand prize, like a large gift card, free membership to something, or use your imagination when it comes to something else. Relate the competition to your company and ask around to the employees to see what kinds of prizes they may like in the end. Friendly competitions can be healthy for most companies and can also advocate for team building, which every good company needs within its holdings.

4. Flexible Hours: Offering flexible hours during the holidays, as hard as that may be, can make students actually work harder and be more motivated when they do come in for work. Everyone, even the employees, are personally busy and have lives of their own to take care of. Making sure that you as an employer understand that and consider that when speaking to employees can get you in their good graces and make them more apt to work hard and make customers happy with the less stressed out they are. Customers can tell when employees are having a bad day, and you do not want that to ruin the relationship that you have with your clientele, not matter what kind of business you are in.


The holidays can be make anyone crazy and can also make anyone want to stay in bed forever and not want to deal with the insanity of the holiday rush, which is staple in today’s society. If your employees need a reason to get out of bed and get to work every day it would be smart to give them some goodies along the way.

By Allie Mitchell

Uloop Writer
Georgia State
23 | Georgia State Alumna || Biology Major| Seeking MPH after graduating| Aspiring writer| Lover of interesting conversations and funny people| Active reader of fiction"| Girlfriend to a wonderful marine

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