The holidays are here and it’s time to start thinking about end-of-year celebrations and rewards like holiday gifts.
Many companies are accustomed to giving a small gift to employees during this season as an appreciation of employees’ hard work and dedication. Between recession fears, hiring freezes, quiet quitting and layoffs, employees have been through a lot this year, so there’s no better time to remind them of their worth.
Putting some extra thought into how – and why – you’re rewarding employees can reap more benefits than you may think.
What do employees want in a holiday gift?
Everyone likes to receive gifts, but for employees, it can be a way to recognize their dedication to the job and reignite their passion for the year to come. But while over half (57%) of employees want to receive an end-of-year reward, only one-third expect a reward at the end of the year, according to new research from Blackhawk Network.
Plus, giving holiday gifts does more than strengthen your relationship with employees. Eighty-three percent of respondents said they would be more productive and loyal if employers gave meaningful recognition and rewards.
Not giving meaningful rewards can even cost you top talent, with four out of every 10 employees saying they would consider leaving their current employer for one offering holiday rewards.
“It’s much less expensive to recognize your existing workforce than paying to recruit, hire, train and onboard new employees,” says Jeff Haughton, SVP, Incentives, Corporate Development & Strategy at Blackhawk Network. “Giving smart holiday rewards can serve as long-term investments that pay significant dividends for you and your employees – not just during the holidays, but all year round.”
According to the survey, the top rewards employees would prefer include:
- Prepaid and gift cards (84%)
- Additional vacation days (40%)
- Food gifts (29%), and
- Physical gifts (28%).
How to make the most out of holiday rewards
Holiday rewards can be hit-or-miss, especially when considering the different needs of your workforce. While younger employees may want an added benefit such as vacation days, other employees may want something a little more traditional, such as a food gift or gift card.
Although it’s impossible to please everyone, here are some best practices to make sure your holiday gifts have a positive impact on employees as they head into the new year.
Understand employee needs. While giving gifts is great, giving the wrong gift can do more harm than good. For example, only 2% of respondents said their top reward choice would be an office party. Other less meaningful gifts can make employees feel like they don’t matter or that employers don’t care, and cause feelings of resentment going into the new year.
Go digital. While about a quarter (28%) of respondents would like a physical gift, 77% think that digital prepaid and gift cards are an appropriate reward. Making whatever gift you choose to give your workforce digital can help easily distribute gifts and is a better option for hybrid or remote workforces than physical gifts.
Don’t stop when the holidays are over. According to research from Blackhawk Network, nearly 75% of respondents want to be rewarded at least quarterly. Instead of stopping with holiday gifts, consider using it as a jumping-off point to continue showing your recognition to employees year-round by offering small gifts every so often in 2023, such as adding funds to a prepaid card.