How to Reward Employees at Christmas Without Busting the Budget

BlogHR Advice Posted: Friday 18th November 2016 by

End of year recognition and reward can be a powerful motivator for staff, increasing performance and engagement as they enter a new year.

According to performance management consultancy, Gallup, employees that receive regular recognition and praise are more productive, stay with their employer longer, and even increase the engagement levels of their colleagues and satisfaction levels of their clients.

But how can businesses reward employees at Christmas, particularly en-masse, without breaking the bank?

Interestingly, research suggests that cash-based rewards have no longer-term benefits than other kinds of recognition. With that in mind, here are our top suggestions for motivating your staff this Christmas:

Extra holiday time: offer a ‘bonus’ day or half-day of holiday for staff.

Flexible working: provide a handful of ‘no questions asked’ working from home days that can be taken over the next 12 months.

Stock options: stock options not only reward the employee for their year’s contribution, but also suggest a long-term interest in the business and its performance.

Festive party: don’t underestimate the appeal of a party, which is a great way to show your gratitude and provide a way for them to connect with each other. With restaurants and other venues across the UK vying for the Christmas trade, there are some amazing deals on offer. You could make it slightly different from the usual after-work affair, and invite partners and children.

Volunteering days: The Body Shop pays its staff for several volunteering days a year, which allows the business to support the charities that your staff feel passionately about.

If you’d prefer to stick with more traditional gift-giving to reward employees at Christmas, how about these?

Technology: Out with hampers and in with tech presents! Consistently named at the top of employee wish lists for the festive season are the latest in trendy gadgets. They don’t have to be expensive with this year’s top pick, the Roku box, for streaming online content.

Personalise it: 60% of staff would prefer a personalised gift, and whilst this is very difficult for large companies, smaller businesses may be in a position to select gifts on a person-by-person basis. Staff are much less likely to be concerned about the value of the gift if they see it has been chosen with care and attention. Favourite foods, a magazine subscription, tickets to a concert, or a voucher for a training course in something they love are all good ideas.

A gift that keeps on giving: instead of one main gift at the end of the year, how about something that reminds staff of your gratitude all year? What about an IOU to staff for lunch once a month in the boardroom, or a monthly visit from a massage therapist?

Most importantly, remember that in global consultancy McKinsey’s 2009 study of more than 1000 employees, they told us, “praise and commendation from managers was rated the top motivator for performance, beating out other non-cash and financial incentives, by 67% of workers.” So make sure you accompany any gift or reward with a clear proclamation of your thanks and gratitude for your employee’s hard work throughout the year.

For practical help and advice on how to reward employees at Christmas, pick up the phone to our expert HR team.

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