How to Reward and Motivate Staff at the End of the Year


Natalie Vescia offers practical advice on rewarding your staff with something that will be well received.

Christmas and the end of the year is an important and often challenging time for employers.

For many with seasonal products or who operate calendar financial years, maximising sales and profits before year end is the biggest challenge – particularly when employees are starting to wind down to enjoy the festive season.

For most organisations, there is also the challenge of creating a memorable Christmas party and providing end-of-year staff gifts and rewards to thank employees for their hard work, dedication and support over the past 12 months. Both the party and the reward have to engage and motivate a diverse group of people with a variety of tastes.

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So how exactly can an organisation best try to keep everyone happy with a Christmas reward?

While the idea is simple enough, there is plenty to consider before embarking on a reward programme to ensure the gesture is valued and appreciated.

After all, a motivated workforce will be instrumental in the success of a business and any reward in recognition of their individual and group effort will have a positive effect boosting long-term morale among staff – providing it’s a reward that is well received.

If an employer gives an unsuitable Christmas reward, then all the time, hard work and money being spent on it will be wasted. Staff will not only complain about it but, more importantly, it will have a lasting and detrimental effect on their wider opinion of the company.

Here are our top three tips on how to give staff a reward they will like, at the right time during the festive period:

Know your staff and personalise the gift

When giving staff a reward, they will always appreciate choice. Gift cards have the enviable advantage of offering flexibility and allowing recipients to handpick a gift.

But even then, a gift card that is not appropriate to an individual will still be disappointing, so it’s important to try to choose one that reflects the tastes and interests of the recipient. It shows the employer has really thought about what they are giving and to whom rather than a standard gift, as ‘one size definitely doesn’t fit all’!

For example, a member of staff that takes a great deal of pride in their home would very likely be thrilled with a gift card that allows them to further invest in their home and garden. Employers should understand what makes their employees tick and give an appropriate gift card.

Make a presentation and say thank you

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To emphasise the message from the employer of “thank you for all your hard work this year” rewards should be handed out face to face in person by directors or managers to their staff.

Leaving a gift in an in-tray or posting it is too impersonal. The important part is recognising everyone’s individual contribution, acknowledging their efforts among their peers and saying thank you.

Stagger rewards either side of Christmas

We are seeing an ongoing trend in the number of organisations staggering staff rewards either side of the end of the year. Part of the reward is given in December, with the remainder handed out in January as an added bonus when the January post-Christmas blues have set in.

Natalie Vescia

Natalie Vescia

After all, what better way could there be to start the new year and help staff focus over the coming months, which will not only extend the ‘feel good factor’ but help create a positive working atmosphere as teams come together again.

A reward or gift as a Christmas ‘present’ is often expected. Ensuring the choice, timing and communication are considered before embarking on a reward programme will help to maximise the prospects of it being well received.

Read How to Motivate Staff in 25 Ways

With thanks to Natalie Vescia at Wickes for Business

Published On: 4th Nov 2015 - Last modified: 6th Jul 2018
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