Top tips for spreading some festive cheer
Whether every member of your staff observes Christmas or not, the end of the calendar year is always a significant milestone. The Christmas holidays are an ideal time to give your employees your thanks and show appreciation for their efforts over the past 12 months, bringing the year to an end on a positive note.
If you’re struggling to think of ways to keep your office Christmas celebrations fresh this year, or have never really paid the holidays much attention in your workplace, then here are ten tips from the experts on Christmas staff rewards – as well as other things you can do to make the cold, dark days of the season that little bit brighter!
Kick your sales incentives up a notch
Motivation can take a bit of a dive in December, with 28% of UK employees saying they avoid taking on new work when winding down before the holidays. That's why giving real thought to your festive motivation, incentives and rewards is kind of a big deal!
Encourage a big end of year push by offering some serious sales incentives in December – something that goes a little further than what you’d provide during the rest of the year. Rather than something that employees can redeem instantly – which will be forgotten by the time the holidays are over – consider using something a little more long-term as an incentive. Travel vouchers to use in the new year will be a great motivator that continues to inspire staff loyalty in the months ahead.
Provide flexible working
It may not be practical all year round, or for all types of organisation, but providing your staff with some flexible working over Christmas (if you can) is a very generous gesture that will impact your staffing levels very little in the short term.
Whether staff need to work from home to collect deliveries or spend more time with the family, stay late in exchange for a longer lunch to do Christmas shopping, or start early in exchange for an early finish to catch a child’s school Christmas play or partner’s work do, let them set the pace in December.
There’s nothing more depressing than shabby office decorations. Encourage your staff to get involved with putting up decorations, or surprise them with an office winter wonderland one December morning – whatever you do, just make sure you put the effort in.
There are plenty of really simple ways to liven up the office – if you’re struggling for some inspiration, check out this amazing Pinterest board that has hundreds.
Ditch the traditional office party
There are plenty of alternative options to the classic office party – just think outside the box a little bit! If you usually go for the sit-down dinner and are seeing attendance dwindle every year, try a more casual drinks reception with a live band. Host a Christmas movie night with OurScreen. Hire a boat. Head for that cave full of trampolines or try festive go-karting or paintballing – anything to mix it up a little.
If you’re stuck for your own ideas, ask your staff to ensure you’re planning something they’ll definitely be interested in. There are cost implications for larger organisations – but in these situations, splitting your budget and letting each department choose their own way to celebrate could foster teambuilding while ensuring everyone has a great time.
Send them off to the cinema
Christmas films and end-of-year blockbusters (anyone else looking forward to more Star Wars?) are a big part of the festive period, and 22% of UK adults are more likely to head to the cinema in the run up to Christmas – going up to 44% for the under-35s. Cinema vouchers are a great way to ensure your staff can do something they love over Christmas, for a fraction of the cost.
Say thank you
You may provide Christmas gifts and treats for your staff to reward them for their hard work – but do you actually say thank you? The most important thing for employees when receiving a reward isn’t necessarily the financial or entertainment value of what you’ve given them – it’s the feeling that they actually are valued by the organisation.
You may think that a gift left on the desk implies value, but nothing says it clearer than actually handing it over in person – and actually saying thank you for their efforts throughout the year.
Let them off the hook
A simple one, this – not everyone likes Christmas, and not everyone observes Christmas. Whether it’s for religious or personal reasons, there will be members of your team who just don’t want to engage with the festive fun – so don’t force them to.
Avoid pressuring people to come along to the office party, let people off the hook for ugly Christmas jumper day without any questions asked, and just be understanding of everyone’s personal preferences and beliefs around the end of the year.
Christmas is traditionally a time to over-indulge a little, and providing your employees with all the mince pies and chocolates they desire is a great way to spread some festive cheer. If you need some inspiration, Pinterest is overflowing with ideas once again!
A fun way to do the festive food and drink a little bit differently is to plan a 12 days of Christmas or advent calendar-style system, where every day features a different treat.
Either show that you know them…
Truly personalised gifts, where everyone has something specifically chosen for them, can be expensive for larger organisations, but it is possible to show that you’re interested enough in your employee’s lives that you know their tastes in more straightforward ways.
Do your staff tend to head to the same bars and restaurants after work, or visit the same coffee shop on the way in in the morning? Treat them with gift cards that you know they’ll use! Have plenty of your staff been talking about buying a house or renovating at home? Vouchers for IKEA or B&Q for those you know are planning a big change could well be exactly what they need.
…or let them choose
No one likes getting a gift they can’t use, so why not give your employees the option to decide on the best gift for themselves? Prepaid debit cards and voucher cheques are a very simple way to provide your staff with a spending limit that they can use anywhere they please. Everyone gets something they love, without any disappointment.
For more advice on staff incentives and rewards, don’t forget to check out our blog for more advice from the experts!