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The top 5 ways to reward employees this Christmas

Kalila Sangster
·4-min read
Christmas sales. Woman shopping with smartphone by laptop in home interior. Xmas concept. Planning holidays.
'Heartfelt approaches along with short and long term incentives, really are the most priceless gift employees can receive, while doing wonders for an organisations recruitment, retainment and competitive edge,' say experts. Photo: Getty

With many business leaders struggling with the impact of COVID-19 and employees dealing with worries from the fragile financial situations to job stability and uncertainty around the future, rewards at work could be the best way to keep workers motivated, according to new research.

Some 85% of employees feel more motivated to do their best when given an incentive, with rewards proving to reduce absenteeism and increase productivity and retention rates, the survey by Sodexo Engage found.

Two-fifths (42%) of companies have made or are planning to make changes to their employee benefit programmes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on working life, according to a separate study by Willis Towers Watson.

“Work is where most of us spend the majority of our time, therefore employers really do have a golden opportunity to support their most valuable asset — their people. ‘Tough times reveal true colours’ is a truism tailor-made for business,” said Jamie Mackenzie, director at Sodexo Engage.

READ MORE: Brits throw away £26m of waste every year at Christmas

“Heartfelt approaches along with short and long term incentives, really are the most priceless gift employees can receive, while doing wonders for an organisations recruitment, retainment and competitive edge.”

The experts at Sodexo Engage shared their tips for top five ways to reward employees this Christmas:

Instant Rewards

Vouchers are a quick, easy and efficient way to say thank you to your employees this Christmas. With access to some of the UK's most recognised supermarkets, retailers and attractions, they can provide some extra towards Christmas shopping.

A discounted food shop can also work as both a reward and a supportive mechanism, especially if someone is struggling with a fragile financial situation in their household.

Flexible working

The UK labour market is shifting to become progressively fluid and flexible, with many businesses moving to home working due to COVID-19. Indeed, remote working and learning new technologies has only increased productivity, forming the future workplace and changing the way we do business.

READ MORE: Top tips: How to reduce the cost of Christmas energy bills

Some 92% of millennials said flexibility was a top priority when job hunting and 70% of UK workers said flexible working makes a job more attractive to them — of which 30% would prefer the option to work from home over a pay rise, according to research by Capability Jane.

Providing employees with some flexible working over the Christmas period, particularly in the midst of the pandemic, could boost staff morale and mental health.

Extra holiday or time off

“An extra day off, or a few early finishes would go a long way. There’s a lot to be said for companies who know the importance of a work-life balance and giving employees the luxury of extra time off, over and above their usual holiday allowance, can be really good for both motivation and wellbeing,” say the experts.

Boost your incentives

Motivation, in general, can often drop in December – let alone in the midst of COVID-19. “Encouraging a big end of year push by offering some serious incentives in December, perhaps something a little further than what you’d usually provide, can provide a big boost,” say the experts.

READ MORE: Brits to spend £6.5bn at independent retailers this Christmas

Something more long-term such as travel vouchers that can be used in the New Year can be a big incentive and continue to inspire staff loyalty in the coming months.

A simple thank you

“While it’s nice to receive a physical gift at Christmas, a simple thank you can do wonders,” the experts advise.

For many, feeling valued is something that can’t be bought, therefore thanking employees in a personable and individual way, can lift even more than a gift. A card sent through the post with some heartfelt words of thanks can help show your employees how much they are appreciated.

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