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03 Nov 2021

Five ways to recognise your employees this festive season

It may seem early to start thinking about Christmas and the end of yet another unpredictable year, however the festive season is fast approaching as the final quarter of the year is upon us. Many HR teams are looking at different ways to engage and recognise their teams and celebrate their employees for continuing to do their jobs and keep up morale during such unusual times. For some organisations, Christmas parties will go ahead as usual since restrictions have been lifted, yet for other businesses things will still likely look different to years gone by.



And it goes without saying that employees feel differently too. Over the past year, their priorities have shifted and a lot more value is being placed on wellbeing, health, family and a work-life balance. Recognition has never been so important, especially as employees are feeling over-worked, still uncertain of the future, used to a new schedule as their day-to-day lives have had to change. Ending the year on a high with a happy team can be a catalyst for starting the new year with a bang.

Employees really need this acknowledgment and appreciation; knowing they are valued and important within the business. With this in mind, we've pulled together five easy ways to recognise your employees this festive season:

1. Give financial vs. non-financial rewards
Undoubtedly, financial rewards and recognition, including salary raises, gift cards and special commissions, have a firm track record in boosting employee engagement and motivation. Nevertheless, these rewards should not be relied on solely in order to engage and recognise employees. In some businesses, it's expected that employees will receive financial rewards especially in the festive period, such as a bonus or a 13th cheque. For this reason, employees may need an extra level of recognition that highlights their value, sustaining or increasing their engagement as a result. 


Non-financial recognition may take on many different forms. Companies can think outside the box for non-monetary recognition, such as parking in the director's spot for a week, extra days annual leave, a voucher for a day out, a donation made to a charity of the employee's choice on their behalf. These rewards may also include acknowledgement in the form of bespoke e-cards or a hand-written thank you note left on an employee's desk.

2. Look beyond the employee
Most companies look no further than the employee itself when it comes to recognition. This is the obvious thing to do, but as we approach the festive season, why not extend the rewards and benefits you offer to your employees, to their loved ones for a specific time period? For example, you can extend the lifestyle benefits to allow each employee to treat their family. This can be as simple as discounted cinema tickets, booking a family holiday or having a company concierge service that the whole family can use. You could give five guest (family and friend) passes to your discounts portal which others can use and benefit from. There are also financial benefits that can be advantageous to employees’ families such as savings and pensions, healthcare and legal services.

It’s lovely to be able to give each employee an amazing experience to share with their friends and family, but it’s just as important to help them secure their health and financial future. When you go above and beyond, employees feel cared for and taken into consideration.

3. Personalised gifting and the gift of choice
Many employees respond best when they are recognised at work in a way that is personal to them. This may be a big ask for larger companies, and often requires additional resources or budget. But as much as possible, a one-size-fits-all approach to rewards should be adapted to include personalised rewards that are likely to be relevant to individuals. Consider letting employees choose their rewards, and make sure to offer a wide range of options that focus on unique experiences, retailers and gifting choices. For one employee, the ultimate reward would be the chance to do skydiving, whereas for someone else it could be e-vouchers for a supermarket for their weekly grocery shop. You could also give your team the gift of choice with an array of digital e-vouchers on a bespoke e-Gifting or employee discounts portal. Let them choose how they’d like to spend their gift; be it on food, some bubbly, clothing, technology and more. By showing that you treat your employees as individuals shows how attentive you are and that makes them feel acknowledged, not just a number.

4. Look after your employees' wellbeing
Mental health and wellbeing need consideration all year round. However, extra focus should be given as we lead up to the festive period. There are so many circumstances for this - increased workload and longer hours to hit end-of-year deadlines, the pressure of balancing work with increased family duties, increased financial expenses, the looming end-of-year targets, not feeling valued – the list is endless. There are umpteen ways to offer wellbeing support, from a formal employee assistance programme (EAP) where employees have access to telephone or one-to-one counselling, to something less formal, such as having an open door policy where employees can come chat to management confidentially, without judgement. This support can help reduce any pressures employees may be struggling with, such as financial pressures, loneliness and feeling overwhelmed, and in turn, will show they are recognised as people and not just as workers.

5. Be flexible with time
Offering flexibility to your employees is often overlooked as a way of recognising them and their value. However, by giving your team flexibility and flexitime within their busy working schedules, especially those with children at home, for an extended period of time is often worth more than money! According to a workplace flexibility study by Workplace Trends, 75% of employees rated flexibility as their most important workplace benefit. This flexibility can be presented in so many different formats, by changing your team's working hours during the upcoming festive period (and beyond), be it starting earlier and finishing earlier or starting later to accommodate personal schedules such as school drop-offs, camps and so on. For some businesses, it could even extend to working shorter hours over the festive period or having a half day off per week if work commitments permit. This is all very dependent on the company, the role and the busyness of the period. Whichever arrangement works best for the organisation will no doubt benefit, motivate, recognise their holistic wellbeing and be meaningful for each and every employee, guaranteed. 

This article is provided by Xexec.

In partnership with Xexec

Xexec is the UK's leading Reward and Recognition and Employee Benefits provider.

Contact us today

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