Reward and recognition - think differently with financial rewards this festive season

Talya Zwiers | December 11, 2018

Employee wearing Christmas hat holding Christmas tree

A good reward and recognition programme will aim to ensure that staff feel recognised at any time of the year. But during the festive season, with its emphasis on gift giving, there is a greater expectation for employers to make a little extra effort when it comes to employee rewards.

Traditionally, staff may receive a small addition to their December pay checks, or perhaps a gift voucher or bottle of wine. However, there are other ways to offer a financial-based reward that can have a far greater impact. By taking the time to consider personal, tailored gifts, you can send staff off for the holiday period feeling truly recognised, and start the new year with an engaged and motivated workforce.

Here are some ideas for non-traditional financial rewards:

‘Tis the season to be healthy
Okay, traditionally it isn’t, but with this time of year often associated with over-indulgence, staff may appreciate the opportunity to offset its impact. Rewards that prioritise wellbeing can do just this, and a healthy gift certainly doesn’t need to be boring! A day out at a spa can offer some much-needed respite from the chaos of a house packed with visiting family, whilst exciting outdoor activities such as rock climbing or mountain biking can help burn off some of those festive calories. Of course, it is important that rewards are suitable and relevant, so consider employees’ existing hobbies or activities they have expressed an interest in and tailor gifts accordingly. Thoughtful gestures will make employees feel more valued than taking a generic ‘one size fits all’ approach to reward and recognition.

Family fun
Budgets can be stretched at this time of year, and it can be difficult to come up with ways to entertain the family during the school holiday. Staff with children may therefore appreciate a gift that caters to their whole family, taking some pressure off and allowing them to relax and enjoy some quality time together. Look at what is happening in your local area and consider offering tickets to children-friendly shows and activities or even theme parks. Make sure that any gift is age-appropriate to the employee’s children; unsuitable rewards can have a negative impact and potentially leave staff feeling as though the business has not made the effort to get to know them.

Be ethical
The emphasis on spending at this time of year can feel a little overwhelming and for some, may jar with their ethical and moral beliefs. There is an increasing movement towards charitable gifts and some staff may appreciate the business offering support to those in need on their behalf. For example, a recent ‘pop-up’ store has opened in Soho which allows people to buy gifts for refugees or homeless people. Queues around the block since its launch indicate the growing popularity of such initiatives, and including such gifts in your reward and recognition programme can reflect your company’s social conscience. Any ethical or charitable reward should be offered cautiously though, as it is essential that the chosen cause is in line with an employee’s values and beliefs.

Offer the unobtainable
Support your reward and recognition programmes with employee benefits that go above and beyond the typical employee reward package. This can include securing much sought-after tickets to popular events and make them available to staff. Offering an employee the opportunity to go to a sold-out music concert or the West End show everyone is talking about can make them feel special and highly valued by the business. And such a memorable gift is likely to have a longer-lasting impact on morale and motivation than if you had awarded them the equivalent monetary value.

Support New Year’s resolutions
As the New Year approaches, many people start to reflect on their resolutions - their goals and ambitions for the coming year. This provides an opportunity for your business to support your employees’ resolutions and help make previously unrealised dreams come true. Perhaps a member of your team has always longed to learn to play the piano, or master a foreign language. Another may want to improve their cooking skills, or to take the plunge and finally learn to drive. Offering thoughtful opportunities for personal development is a great way to show staff that you recognise them and their lives outside of the workplace. And feeling happier and more fulfilled can have a huge impact on employee engagement.

Employee recognition can be one of the best ways to motivate your team. Download our free e-book to find out more about how to build an effective recognition strategy.

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Topics: Reward and Recognition

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