You may not want to admit it, but the time has come to start thinking about Christmas. OK, maybe not the shopping part of it, but now is certainly a good point to start planning Christmas awards for your staff, says Derrick Hardman.
With just 12 weeks to go until Christmas, now is the time when many employers are turning their attention to ensuring year-end targets are met and that all employees are focused and working to the best of their ability. And, while some may prefer to leave Christmas until the last minute, now is a great time to start planning your Christmas awards.
Ending the year on a high creates good momentum that will carry on into the New Year.
A successful end to the year with a satisfying Christmas reward helps to boost morale, loyalty and staff retention as January is a time when many look for a new job. In the current economic climate, businesses tempted to spend less on Christmas parties and awards are in danger of further demotivating staff already struggling with the pressure.
Rather than cut back on Christmas parties or rewards, businesses that want to motivate their staff for the New Year will be investing more to build morale.
In managing a Christmas awards programme, companies need to consider the following:
- What do they want to achieve through the award programme?
- What is the budget?
- How do they ensure the desired impact of the award programme?
- Should the award type be vouchers, credit on a card or another form of reward?
The objective clearly depends on the nature of the business but should essentially be a good end of year for both the business and employee while the budget should be sufficient for the rewards to be inspiring.
When deciding what Christmas reward to offer, employers are faced with a staggering choice and so it is vital to conduct research among employees to establish what motivates them. Giving them choice is vital.
It is usually impossible to select a single award that will appeal to all participants in a scheme as tastes and interests will vary. For this reason vouchers and gift cards are often highly effective as they overcome these issues and offer flexibility and freedom. With their vouchers, recipients can select gifts that they desire and aspire to own and they will appreciate that opportunity to choose long term.
Over and above the more traditional voucher, there exists an extensive range of multi-store vouchers, which increase the choice.
With literally hundreds of different multi-option gift vouchers to choose from, many companies running a Christmas incentive programme will be asking themselves ‘which type of voucher will best motivate our staff’?
Another option to consider is the compliments card, which is a highly flexible incentive card that enables employers to make incentive payments to employees or third parties.
There are two choices for employers to choose from. The disposable compliments card is ideal for making one-off award payments, such as Christmas bonuses, and the reloadable compliments card, which is more suited to ongoing incentive schemes because it can be fully personalised with the name of the winner and branded with the company’s corporate identity.
Both types of compliments card can be redeemed at more than 100 top-brand high street and online retailers.
The most important thing to remember when choosing incentive awards is that choice motivates. This is why multi-option gift vouchers are usually preferred rather than single-store products.
In every incentive campaign, there will be a wide cross-section of participants of different ages, with different lifestyles and different needs. A voucher that will be welcomed as a reward by an 18-year-old single person is highly unlikely to motivate a 50-year-old married person. Their lifestyles and incomes are likely to be so different that they will rarely shop at the same retail store. Therefore it is important to ensure choice is offered to all your employees.
Derrick Hardman is managing director of Capital Incentives and Motivation.