Whether you like it or not Christmas is well and truly on the horizon, in fact it’s only six weeks away and in our industry one of the main questions on the tip of our mince pie stained tongue is, what’s the best way to reward employees at Christmas?
When considering this topic there are many aspects to think about, what should companies be looking at when it comes to rewarding employees? What are the benefits to rewarding employees? Should they do this at all? What are the consequences if they don’t?
If you haven’t started to think about this, now is the time.
Why reward at Christmas?
In my opinion companies should always find a way of rewarding their employees at Christmas, (it’s the season of goodwill after all) and it is a key milestone in the year regardless of religion or beliefs, it signifies the end of the year a time for celebration and the break before starting the new year. With the feeling of giving maximised at this time of year it is the perfect time to make your employees feel important to your business and by selecting the right product you can significantly enhance the positive feeling within the business and the output from your employees.
A Christmas reward could be incorporated into a sales incentive programme, rewarding staff for targets achieved. Or alternatively can be used within an employee engagement scheme, recognising and rewarding individual behaviour.
What makes a good reward?
When thinking about rewarding employees it is imperative to get the positioning of the reward correct to ensure it is received well by the employee. There’s a huge range of products available to use for rewards around the festive period so you must first decide who you want to reward and what your budget is, there is nothing worse than coming to give out your ‘gifts’ and realising you have forgotten someone or risking spending more on some employees than others.
The types of rewards given around Christmas have changed significantly over the years, gone are the days of getting a standard bottle of wine (whilst this is of course still an option people may like!), the growth of the Gift Card industry has fitted in perfectly with the festive period, it enables employers to make a gesture without having to worry about personal preference or in the cases of Christmas hampers, dietary requirements. Whilst some may say that the giving of gift cards is impersonal on the other side it is allowing the employee to then reward themselves with something fitting and that they will value.
Virtual pre-paid cards can be integrated into an incentive programme or used as standalone instant rewards, with worldwide coverage. They are a cost-effective option as an employer, but make a personalised reward for the employee. Staff can use the card online as a form of payment in over 1000 outlets, towards a reward for themselves or to use against a gift for a loved one.
Affects of rewarding on the workforce
The right reward can make an employee feel worthwhile and satisfied within their role and that their contribution has been recognised or that they have a part to play in the future. However be aware of the flip side, in some instances a reward can enhance existing frictions and an employee can see it as a sort of bribe or as an act out of character for the company. In these instances it is even more important to communicate the reason for the reward so that they are clear about the circumstances surrounding it.
Most companies use the Christmas Party as a time to recognise the team’s efforts, but an individual reward enables the employee to feel a sense of achievement from their employer as they are given a thank you for their hard work over the past year.
This feeling of pride and gratitude will increase employee engagement and motivation, ensuring that they stay loyal to their employer as the appreciation shown proves they are valued by the company.
The potential consequences of not rewarding your employee can have real detriment to the employees attitude towards the company and their role within it. It can lead to a feeling of unworthy in the business and ultimately make the employee question their position, the trouble with the start of the New Year is that people reflect on their current position so it may be possible that by underestimating the power of a reward you can leave your employee feeling undervalued and push them away.
Ending the year positively
Christmas is the time of giving and I would say never to underestimate the feeling an employee will get at this time of year.
Especially if the company has been experiencing a series of pay freezes or cutbacks, a small gesture can give employees that feeling of self-worth an appreciation they have been looking for and ensure that they leave for their Christmas break with a positive feeling and return in the New Year with a positive outlook ready for the next year to come.
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