Reward and Recognition of Staff This Christmas in the UK
With the festive season in full swing, now is the perfect time to thank your employees with some recognition and reward for their hard work over the past twelve months. With £1bn being spent by UK companies on recognition and rewards, gifts and parties for their employees at Christmas (1), the holiday season can be a costly time for employers which also needs to be navigated carefully and sensitively. It is also becoming increasingly more difficult to think up Christmas gift ideas for your staff which will boost employee participation, and engage and motivate a diverse group of employees of varying ages, cultures and backgrounds.
A Gift to Boost Morale and Company Loyalty
As Christmas represents the season of giving and goodwill, it is the perfect time for businesses to demonstrate employee appreciation by showing their employees how valued they are to the organisation. Perhaps a little staggering then is the fact that 35% of UK companies don’t recognise their staff annually in any way (2). For many companies, Christmas is a peak trading period so an incentive at this time of year will work well to ensure continued performance and enthusiasm of employees and provide some positive reinforcement and team recognition at this stressful time. However, even for companies where Christmas is not the peak trading period, a reward is a good way to end the year on a high note, showing employee appreciation and bringing people together, especially as Christmas is a time when people are likely to now be feeling conscious of their spending.
When the right type of reward is chosen, a Christmas incentive also works to engage employees with their business, increasing their job satisfaction and making them less likely to look for a new role in the New Year. With over 60% of employees stating that a personalised Christmas gift was more appreciated than a non-personalised one (3), it is important that the correct type of gift is given. If a reward is given that does not fit with that individual, it could lead to the employee feeling disengaged with the organisation as they feel no real thought has gone into their reward, thus making them feel unappreciated by their employer.
The Ideal Christmas Incentive
With over £300 million a year (4), equating to £6 million per week, spent on unused gift cards which are unsuitable or simply forgotten about (5) – it is essential that employers choose rewards that are suitable and ‘right’ for their employees. So what makes the ‘right’ sort of employee reward? Nowadays workforces tend to be made up of people of different ages, genders, races and religions with differing personalities and tastes. For some, Christmas may not be a key celebration at home. As a result there is no easy “one size fits all” approach to follow and it can be difficult to make an individual feel appreciated on a personal level. A powerful way to make sure each person gets something that they truly want, is to opt for a flexible option which puts the choice of the incentive back into the employee’s hands.
The Each Person recognition and rewards scheme can offer the ideal flexible solution for rewarding staff at Christmas time. With Each Person, employers can award epoints to their employees and the employee then has the power to spend these on whatever reward they want. The risk of “unwanted” or “wasted” rewards is significantly reduced as the employee has the widest range of rewards in the world to choose from, ranging from books to electronics to memorable ‘experiences’.
As well as providing the ability to send epoints to employees, the employer is able to add a more personal touch by sending epoints to their employees using a seasonal e-card with Each Person. There’s no better way for employers to show they are appreciating their employees at work and to make staff feel truly respected than including a personalised greeting with their reward to thank them for their hard work.
Christmas Benefits For Your Staff not the Taxman
Showing your appreciation in the workplace of your staff through gifts and incentives can be great for staff morale but make sure your employees don’t unwittingly give the taxman an unnecessary Christmas gift too. Christmas gifts to employees are tax-free for any gift up to £50.
Defined as a ‘trivial benefit’, HMRC regards Christmas gifts as exempt from tax as long as the gift is not cash or a cash voucher (6). This tax-free status is also the case if the gift is provided by a third party such as a recognition and rewards scheme provider. With 52% of UK companies spending £50 or under on gift (7), a reward gift in the form of epoints.
Worryingly, a monetary bonus this Christmas is still the most popular gift from employers to their employees. However, if you do provide your employees with a cash bonus, this must be put through payroll and tax and National Insurance need to be deducted – not such a great morale boost for your employees as you had intended.
Not Just For Christmas
Although Christmas is an ideal time for rewarding your employees, this shouldn’t be something which is restricted just to Christmas. With almost £1000 being spent annually per employee on rewards by SME’s (8), it is also important not to limit employee rewards and recognition simply to incentives at Christmas. Recognition should be continuous throughout the year, providing positive reinforcement to employees when they perform well in their role – whether this is as employee to employee recognition, or rewards and recognition from their manager. With Each Person, epoints can be awarded to employees for a variety of reasons, including hitting sales targets, team recognition, exceeding their role objectives or long service.
Furthermore, epoints is a universal employee reward programme which also allows employees to collect points outside the workplace. This provides them with even more opportunities to collect epoints through their regular lifestyle activities and either save up more quickly for a high-value reward or spend these on a number of different rewards.
1. ‘UK Firms Pay £1bn for Christmas’ Dec 2017
2. ‘Top Employers Reward Staff at Christmas’ Dec 2017
3. ‘Christmas Corporate Gifts’, Dec 2017
4. ‘This is Money – Got a Gift Card?’, January 2017
5. ‘The Great Gift Card Rip Off’, Jan 2017
6. ‘Tax on Trivial Benefits’, HMRC
7. ‘Christmas Corporate Gifts’, Dec 2017
8. ‘UK SME’s Gift £1000 of Rewards per Year to Employees’, June 2017