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get a grip on employee rewards without hitting the books

The best guide to understanding employee rewards you can read in 10 minutes

Employee rewards are vital to your employee recognition and benefit mix. Getting the most from your rewards means getting to grips with the basics of using them. Enjoy the full rundown on what you need to know about employee rewards.

In this blog, we cover the fundamentals of:

1. What employee rewards are

2. Why employee rewards matter

3. When you should reward staff

4. How to manage your rewards

Click to jump to a section.

What employee rewards are

An employee reward is any token, gift, prize, or cash-value trophy. You use them to thank employees for something you or your company believe is valuable.

That’s the simple part. The harder part is figuring out how you can make the best use of them in your business.

How that intersects with recognition and incentives

Recognition

Rewards act as a signal boost for recognition. We’ve said this a few times, but rewards aren’t the same as recognition.

They’re linked, because rewards can back up recognition. But it’s important to get a grip on how recognition works without rewards to make sure you’re getting the most out of your rewards.

Incentives

It’s easy to confuse incentives and employee rewards and put them into the same neat category. The truth is they’re related, but very different ideas.

An incentive still involves a reward, but to be an incentive the employee reward needs to be withheld until the employee or team hits a target.

An effective incentive also has to be discussed ahead of time to give the employee motivation to complete a task or hit a milestone. Otherwise, you’re firmly in the world of just issuing rewards.

Now that you’ve got the what, we’ll walk you through the why, when and how of using employee rewards for your business.

We’ll start with why they’re so important.

Why you need to offer employee rewards

You need to offer rewards for three major reasons:

  • Intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.
  • Operant conditioning.
  • Expectation.

We’ll explain each of them here.

Intrinsic and extrinsic rewards

In the office, intrinsic reward is the feel-good sensation your staff take from their work. Feeling proud of achievements.

Taking pride in supporting their team. Feeling a sense of accomplishment in helping the business reach its goals.

Many elements go into that sensation. Your management style, engagement, the work itself. And recognition, too. That’s why it’s so important you get a grip on both rewards and recognition.

Extrinsic rewards, the other kind, are the ones you buy from us. They’re external rewards that have some kind of tangible element. Their real-world cash value is what fuels their value to staff.

The two need separate understanding, but they intersect. The physical (extrinsic) rewards make the intrinsic (emotional) rewards more powerful. They do this by turning them into trophies.

Not only do your staff get something they enjoy through the reward, there’s a lasting impact. Non-cash value rewards make excellent trophies. Unlike cash, which we’ve covered already as a poor reward.

Those trophies have an afterglow. They help your employee bask in a sense of achievement whenever they reflect on their reward.

That means employee rewards do more than make employees feel great about one achievement. It makes them feel better about their entire job. It’s a useful tool for building employee engagement.

Combined, there’s a big influence on motivation and job performance. Assuming you deploy your employee reward scheme effectively.

Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning is a fancy way of saying “getting people to do what you want.”

The concept is similar to Pavlov and his famous bell. Only instead of making your employees hungry you make them feel good.

The process is very simple. Your employees do something exceptional. What that is, we’ll address later. Recognising this exceptional event, you reward the employee.

The reward, as we’ve said, doubles-down on how good they already feel about their achievement.

It’s human nature to seek out those good feelings again. Behaviour you reward is behaviour you’re more likely to see repeated in the future.

As a result, you quietly train staff to associate good feelings with work achievements.

The rewards, like the ones we supply, make that easy.

Expectation

Rewards are an extremely common tool for incentives and motivation. Excellence requires acknowledgement and celebration. As we pointed out, rewards are a very effective tool for marking and creating high performance.

The flip side of rewards being commonplace is that they become an expectation. What was once a fringe benefit is something staff assume they’ll receive.

Expectation is very important to employees. Failing to meet it starts to erode the way employees see their employers. Over time, failing to match expectation chips away at their faith in the business.

This has a knock-on effect on employee engagement.

Summary:

To summarise, you need to offer rewards for three primary reasons.

1. They’re good for motivation, morale and productivity. They interact with and amplify the intrinsic rewards we mentioned to do that.

2. Employee rewards help you get more of what you want from staff. That’s by influencing and reinforcing their behaviour through rewards.

3. Staff are expecting to receive them.

Now it’s a question of when you should be doling out the rewards.

When you need to offer employee rewards

Love2shop Corporate RewardsAs we pointed out earlier, rewards work as behaviour modifiers. As such, rewards need deploying when you have a chance to create a better work culture.

We can’t tell you every single situation in your company when a reward would be appropriate.

At least not without one of the team getting to know your business first (you’re always welcome to give us a call, we’d love to do just that).

But we can give you, based on your experience, some suggestions to start the engine for you.

Reward employees for:

  1. Exceeding performance targets
  2. Exceptional customer service
  3. Sustained outstanding performance
  4. Putting other people’s needs before their own
  5. Going beyond their job description for the company
  6. Spotting major roadblocks and coming up with ways around them.
  7. Exceptional ideas for the future. You should already have a way to submit ideas, and you should reward the most exceptional ideas
  8. Volunteering their free time to support charities you value
  9. Putting your company values first in their work and behaviour
  10. Taking up an exceptional amount of voluntary training
  11. Solving a long-standing problem
  12. Organising fun (but appropriate) social events or drumming up community spirit
  13. Referring valuable new clients
  14. Displaying notable loyalty to the business
  15. Being a leader in the office, whether it’s making sure the office gets cleaned or helping employees deal with change

If you’re ever unsure if an employee should be rewarded, run a mental checklist. Ask yourself if the situation is:

  • Notable: For both the employee and their peers, the reward should attach to something obviously notable.
  • Positive: It should almost go without saying, but only reward positive behaviour.
  • Values-based: In clear alignment with your company values.
  • Purposeful: Contributes to the purpose and mission of your company.
  • Timely: Don’t let time pass between a noteworthy employee event and your offering of a reward.

Now you know what, why and when. It’s just a question how rewards should find their way to staff.

How to reward employees

The different types of employee rewards, how to deliver them to staff, and the relative merits of each approach.

Digital, physical, a blend of each, the benefits and drawbacks.

Types of rewards

  • Cash.
  • Cash-value.
    • Gift cards.
    • Vouchers.
    • Digital reward codes.
  • Trophies.
  • Merchandise.
  • Experiences.

The pros and cons of different employee rewards

Cash

Cash is not a great reward, even if it is a popular one. Read more about our opinion on that here. But to give you the summary: your staff are used to it.

It’s an existing transaction. Money is also a source of stress. It doesn’t make sense to confuse pay and rewards by rewarding with cash.

Gift Cards

Gift cardsLove2shop Gift Cards are versatile and exciting. Our gift cards come with more than 95 in-store retailers, and e-gift cards.

E-gift cards are a further selection of physical and digital brands accessed by swapping the value of your gift card online. Gift cards work for just about anyone, assuming you can get them delivered.

Vouchers

Vouchers are simple, tactile and immediate. We still see a place for the voucher in the reward marketplace.

Particularly for on the spot, quick rewards among staff that can’t use a phone or computer at work.

Digital rewards

Digital reward codesLove2shop Reward Codes (or e-codes) make it simple to ping rewards about teams that aren’t always in the same.

By using SMS and as delivery, anyone with a phone or computer can receive the reward.

Experiences

We’ve watched the demand for experience grow massively over the last two years. It’s a sign of changing times, as more of the younger generation enters the workforce.

As a result, there’s less emphasis on items and more longing for adventure. Whether it’s a group experience or individual experiences, they’re rising as workplace demographics change.

Trophies

There’s still a place for the simple trophy. Even if other rewards become their own sort of trophies, an actual trophy has value.

They’re very effective for capping off internal contests or light-hearted competitions. And they’re extremely cost-effective compared to the positives impact on morale.

Merchandise

We don’t just mean a company-branded windbreaker. We’re talking about electronics, fashion, kitchenware, cameras, sporting equipment, luggage and more.

Demand for merchandise tends to trend toward older generations, but there’s a lot of older workers to cater for.

Sourcing your rewards

Obviously, we’re a bit biased on this subject. But you would have to be mad to try to source and house a catalogue worth of rewards on your own.

Especially if you want to use a mix of rewards. Let a third party handle that for you. Reward suppliers offer you reward management, platforms, expertise on running schemes and quick delivery.

Our employee rewards as a case study

Your company doesn’t have to just pick a reward and stick with it. Love2shop Business Services’ teams are a great example of using a blend of rewards.

We have logistics, office-bound and mobile staff across multiple locations. We have to mix up how we reward teams.

Our warehouse staff spend most of their time away from a computer. To keep the warehouse ticking there’s a lot of picking, packing, boxing and counting going on.

So any kind of employee reward tends to be physical. Our warehouse teams also swell quite a lot during the run-up to Christmas. Gift cards and vouchers are timely and tangible.

In a warehouse environment, without phones or computers handy, they make perfect sense.

Some of our sales staff, on the other hand, are mobile. And we also have a second location down south.

Mobile sales staff are only in the office once or twice a month, and our second office come to HQ even more sporadically.

For them, a reward essentially has to be digital. We can send digital rewards quite easily with a digital reward code.

Anyone, anywhere, gets a code through their phone or email and cash them in straight away.

Meanwhile, we have a lot of flexibility for our permanent in-office staff. Because all of our employees have an Everyday Benefits discount gift card, we can top them up as a reward.

It saves us issuing a brand new gift card for every reward opportunity. They then spend the EDB discount card just like a regular Love2shop Gift Card.

We can also draw on business occasion cards and occasionally digital rewards.

Just like our clients, we have a mix of options at our disposal because we have a mix of staff.

What you need to do now about your employee rewards

Start implementing. Worry about formalising and automating later. You could spend a long time planning and worrying about the perfect reward scheme, but just getting started matters.

Time spent dithering is time spent not trying, doing or learning. You will want to deploy, assess, re-assess and adjust as time goes on. Starting with a modest, deliverable plan and expand on your successes.

Use our list of behaviours as inspiration to get started, and assemble a list of achievements to look for. Once you know what you want to reward, consider how your employees work.

Their unique work conditions will dictate the type of reward and how it’s delivered. Then just get to it.

If you want anything, whether that’s some gift cards or just some advice. Get in touch. We’d love to talk to you. Just use the live chat on this blog, call us on the number at the top of this page, or shoot us an email.

rewarding employees - ask these five questions first

5 questions you need to ask yourself before rewarding employees

It’s import to get rewarding employees right. Rewards aren’t just a nice bonus to make staff feel good. They’re a business tool. That’s not to say you should take the joy out of giving employees rewards, but you should be smart about how you use them.

A poorly timed or a poorly thought-out reward is just your company’s money down the drain. That’s a tragedy when you could be getting so much more out of rewarding employees.

When you think someone deserves a reward, take just a few seconds to ask yourself five questions about the achievement in question.

1. Does it reflect your values?

Rewarding employees for living your values builds engagement with those principles. It’s important to make sure employees are recognised, and sometimes rewarded, for upholding your company values in their work.

By closely linking achievements to company values, staff are more familiar with your company’s purpose. This also creates positive links between staff, your business and your rewards.

Rewarding for behaviour that doesn’t reflect your values has two negative effects. Your employees lose faith that you believe in your own organisation’s values. And they will see that you actually treasure them working outside of those values.

2. Is it notable?

Would your employee, and their colleagues, agree their achievement is notable?

A reward is a waste of cash if the employee doesn’t also see their achievement as noteworthy. That doesn’t improve when other staff see the reward and think the same thing.

Rewarding for behaviour that employees don’t see as notable is jarring. It implies disconnection between you and your staff. Or at least a difference in what your team values and what managers think is important.

3. Is it timely?

To make the most of the combination of rewards and achievement, time is important. It’s vital to issue rewards as close to someone’s achievements as possible.

If you’ve left it too long, it can feel a bit like you’re not paying attention. Or that you’re playing catch-up with your staff’s achievements. And by that time, the emotional impact of your reward will be long gone.

4. Is it positive?

Rewarding employees should be associated with positive behaviour. Like we said, you’re training your staff on how to behave when you reward them. It’s an endorsement of what they did and how they achieved it. What you reward should always be something you’d be proud to talk about in public.

5. Is it repeatable?

Could another employee aspire to make this achievement for themselves?

When you reward employees you show everyone what the organisation thinks is important. Sometimes it’s appropriate to reward a one-off achievement, but tread carefully.

If employees can repeat behaviour that gets rewarded, they’re more likely to try and earn that reward again. If your plan is to build better behaviour with positive feedback, it needs to be something other employees can do.

Your turn

The first four questions are the real quiz. If you can say “yes” with a straight face, it’s high time to break out the rewards. The fifth one you’ll have to play by ear and use your judgement, depending on your specific business.

But make sure you give your rewards a bit of thought before dishing them out. It’s worth it.

Flu shot rewards – Use gift cards and vouchers as incentives to protect vulnerable patients

Flu season starts in October, every year. But if you have medically vulnerable staff, or staff that interact with vulnerable people, your flu season starts a bit earlier. You need to prepare a flu shot reward to incentivise staff to take up their jabs.

Leave it too late, and you’ll be well into flu season before you try to catch your staff up on their jabs.

Why you should offer flu shot rewards

Cost of flu to medical workforces

Cold and flu alone cost hospital and community health services 325,305 days of work in the winter of 2016-17. In a four-month period between November and February, some trusts saw more than a hundred working days lost just among their nursing and health visitor staff. [1]

Absent staff cost you money when they can’t work. Even worse, many sick employees come in and create sick departments through presenteeism.

Sick departments suffer in performance and increased stress in every business. This is even worse in a medical environment where your staff support vulnerable patients.

There’s a three-pronged crisis caused by the flu:

  • Your staff pass flu among themselves and on to patients
  • Your patients become more difficult to care for when suffering flu
  • A sick and understaffed team struggle to care for patients that need extra attention

Minimising the risk of this problem is as simple as making sure staff get their flue jabs. To make sure they take up the offer, offer them an exciting reward as incentive.

A 2018 report from NICE concluded that incentives prove popular among staff. They also noted that expert testimony support NICE’s recommendations to increase flu jab uptake. That included offering incentives to employees. [2]

Outside a medical environment

flu shot rewards could keep your staff from costly illnessesFlu shot rewards aren’t just useful for medical teams.  You may have employees with immune systems issues. Or a vulnerable condition like asthma, COPD or diabetes. You might also have pregnant staff, or workers over the age of 65.

Flu is dangerous for vulnerable employees, and could put them out of action for a long time. And just like in a medical environment, you don’t want a team beleaguered with flu picking up the slack either.

You want your employees coming into work, and coming in healthy. What you lose with a flu-ridden staff is considerably more than what you’d spend on organising work flu jabs and offering flu shot rewards.

Overcoming natural malaise

We know your staff aren’t callous about your vulnerable patients. Or deliberately spreading their flu microbes. But they are busy as anyone else. A tantalising reward punches through the fog of daily life and your staff a reason to take part in a new scheme.

Rewards light a fire under your employees. Thousands of businesses get their staff motivated by using our rewards every year. We know they work when it comes to getting someone moving. If you want to push people into action, you need to give them a reason to move.

How to manage your flu incentive

flu shot rewards boost vaccine take upOur clients tend to fall into two broad categories. Spread a budget out over your staff as individual rewards, or put all the funds in one place as a lottery. Which one you choose depends on the needs of your staff.

Know your workforce, and consider your budget. When you have less staff, you might generally consider yourself as having a smaller reward budget.

But at the same time, a small team is even more affected by sickness. It’s a balancing act depending on your business’ needs. If you’re unsure about which way to go, get in touch. Our team is always happy to talk.

Plan and promote your flu shot rewards

Name it and promote it. Our other clients have given their anti-flu campaigns funky names like Flu Fighters (get it?).

Make sure you communicate the value of the jab, and the value of the reward. Getting out ahead of the actual jab itself is important. You want staff that see why they should take the flu jab well ahead of time. And be fired about what they can do with their rewards.

The sooner you start planning, the more effective your flu shot reward campaign is likely to be. As ever, if you need anything, you can find us on phone, email or the live chat on this site.

References:

plastic gift cards can be reloadable

Everyone forgets one important thing about plastic gift cards

Plastic gift cards can be reloadable!

We want to banish the idea that plastic gift cards are single-use, disposable products.

We stock reloadable gift cards that offer real long-term value. Reloading takes a one-off gift and turns it into a reward mechanism that works for years.

Reload your own gift card

Reloading plastic gift cards is the crux of our Everyday Benefits (EDB) service.

Staff reload their own gift cards at a discount, and make huge savings. Even a casual EDB user will save hundreds of pounds a year.

Beyond discounting gift card top-ups for staff, the card comes with other benefits. That includes:

  • Cinema tickets
  • Theme park tickets
  • Holidays
  • Other gift cards
  • Supermarket card top-ups

Read more about our Everyday Benefits gift cards here.

Reload someone else’s gift card

Reloadable plastic gift cards offer you more than a one-time reward. They give you the chance to think long-term about staff rewards and customer loyalty.

Staff achievements

Topping up Everyday Benefits cards makes rewarding employees easy. You don’t need to order new rewards every time you thank staff for their achievements.

Top up their reloadable gift cards. Then thank them face-to-face, or through your company’s recognition systems, like you would anyway.

This makes it very simple for situations like:

  • Large-scale team achievements
  • Issuing different values of reward across a whole organisation
  • Rewarding staff across multiple sites
  • Needing to reward mobile or remote staff

It also works for rewarding a single employee, too. It doesn’t matter if you’re rewarding long service, reaching milestones, or anything else.

It’s simple and effective when you use a reloadable plastic gift card.

Customer gratitude

Our Member Benefits card is the customer-facing version of the Everyday Benefits card. Rewarding your customers for their positive behaviour has two benefits:

  • Boosting loyalty through rewards
  • Building more positive behaviour in the future

Reward for pure longevity, buying promoted products, referrals, and more. Anything that makes sense for your business and your customers.

The customer doesn’t even need their card on them – you only need to keep their card number in your database to top it up.

You can then email or call them to say thank you after the top-up. Or say it face-to-face when they’re on the premises.

Talk to us

By the way, if any of this sounds like a good idea for your business, get in touch. We’re experts on this, and we always want to talk about it.

We’d love to guide you through setting up a customer or staff reward scheme.

Use the form at the bottom of this page, or get in touch on our contact page.

Drop the idea that a plastic gift card is a one-dimensional product

A reloadable gift card lives many lives. Especially multi-retailer plastic gift cards like ours. One reloadable Love2shop Gift Card is access to fashion , a holiday, a skydiving experience, cinemas and more.

What makes reloadable Love2shop Gift Cards so special

Love2shop Gift Cards are among the most exciting reward products in the UK. Spend them in-store at more than 95 popular stores, or exchange card balance online for our e-gift cards.

The e-gift card exchange on Love2shop.co.uk lets cardholders swap the funds on their gift card for an extra set of brands.

Combined, reloadable Love2shop Gift Cards offer a huge choice of high street retailers, online shopping, holidays, exclusive experiences and more.

Read more about our gift cards here.

Secret Santa makes Christmas gifts for employees more fun

£15 or less: Secret Santa Christmas gifts for employees

We’re tired of dancing around it: Cash is a garbage employee reward

Cash is a garbage employee reward. It’s been said, it can’t be unsaid. I can, however, explain why we say that.

Cash is sort of like coal

Cash isn’t scarce, so it isn’t special. I’ll use an example to illustrate. Cast your mind back to the days when coal used to get delivered on a lorry. The coal man comes, and because Mrs Smith found Derek the coal man’s lost dog last week, he gives Mrs Smith some extra lumps of coal for the month.

Do you think Mrs Smith is going to treasure those extra bits of coal? Will she put them up on the mantelpiece, fondly remembering that time Derek Mortimer gave her some extra coal? Or, will she say, “thank you, Derek, that’s very kind” and throw them into the pile with all the other lumps?

We both know it’s the latter, and that’s why cash doesn’t work as a reward. Cash for labour is a pre-existing transaction between you and your staff, and handing out extra cash only dilutes that transaction.

Cash is stressful

One of the single greatest sources of stress for everyone is money. This isn’t limited to low-earning employees either; a healthy glut of people earning above £50k a year find themselves in some financial agony every month.

When you reward exclusively with cash, you’re trying to employ one of the greatest sources of stress in modern life as a reward. And, as we pointed out earlier, we’re terrible at dissociating transaction cash from reward cash.

Non-cash employee rewards become trophies

Not every trophy is actually a trophy. Some trophies are memories of a nice meal, some novelty tea towels, new walking boots, a television or a certificate. Non-cash rewards feel “earned,” and become trophies of achievement.

For example, imagine you use a gift card as an employee reward for making a particularly effective promotional deck that wins new business. They use the card to buy themselves a Bluetooth speaker for their kitchen. A friend is over for dinner and says to your employee, “I like that speaker.”

The difference between a trophy and a cash purchase is how your employee responds to that compliment.

If it’s a trophy, “Thanks, I got it through work for winning us new clients.”

But, if it’s a purchase, “Thanks, got it off Amazon.”

If you want your rewards to be impactful, you want your staff to see their rewards as trophies. Trophies can be traced back to individual achievements, driving home the positive emotions and associating work victories with personal joys.

What actually works for employee rewards

Give your employees choice. Let them pick a reward at a corresponding value to their effort. Maintaining a catalogue of rewards in-house is an absurdly complicated task, so it’s best to outsource the effort.

Gift cards, vouchers or online codes are the easiest way to do that. You can easily reward at a cash-value without having to actually use cash, and employees can choose something that makes them happy.

Their items, or experiences, will be easily compartmentalised into trophies because they were earned through work but not purchased through cash.

Christmas gifts for employees that won’t get re-gifted or binned – 31 great ideas and 5 really bad ones

It’s time to think about Christmas gifts for employees. Because Christmas will be here before you know it.

Whether you’re counting sleeps until the 25th, or dreading it like a medical procedure. It’s coming all the same.

And with Christmas comes the expectation you’ll organise some Christmas gifts for employees.

We’ve got 31 great staff Christmas gift ideas that won’t go straight into the bin. Or end up re-gifted to someone’s least favourite cousin.

 

1. Gift vouchers

Love2shop Vouchers make great christmas gifts for employees

Simple and easy to combine with a thank-you note, vouchers are can be called a ‘lazy’ option. But the reality is that the only laziness is in presentation.

Put some effort in and make a fanfare of the occasion. Give your staff a few ideas on how they can use them, and make a fuss of all the choice the vouchers offer. Drive home the excitement.

 

2. Gift cards

Love2shop Gift Cards are exciting christmas presents for staffGift cards function almost exactly like a voucher, but with some key advantages.

You can get them branded to your company’s look so they’ll be more effective at generating gratitude.

They also often come with an online option. That could be direct online spending, or an online exchange to trade the funds for another selection of gifts.

 

3. Wines

If you don’t know what your employees like, just ask an expert. Find something less “recognisable” than the usual brands carried in supermarkets though.

An unusual or exotic wine feels much more special than something familiar.

 

4. A big Christmas lunch

A lovely meal makes a great staff christmas giftGet everyone out of the office for lunch at a nice restaurant near the office. Hosting the meal during the day also makes celebrations more inclusive.

Employees with children or other responsibilities often struggle to juggle children and evening events.

 

6. Wholesaler memberships

A membership to a wholesaler like Costco could save staff an enormous amount of money on bulk household items.

A few litres of toothpaste aren’t exactly a ‘Christmas-y’ thought, but your employees with families will be grateful. Especially during the winter seasons when they’re entertaining a houseful of guests. They make helpful and well received christmas gifts for employees.

 

7. Special coffee or tea mugs

The UK drinks more than 60 billion cups of tea every year. That’s more than enough cause to know special mugs make a great gift.

 

8. Funds for a party

Your staff would love a night out on the company dime as a work Christmas presentA work-organised Christmas party can end up feeling like a school dance. Instead of trying to be in charge of it, let your staff organise something fun.

You just need to provide the resources and let them do the rest. They can pick the right venue, the right food and the right booze for themselves.

 

9. Digital reward codes

Reward codes are sent over sms or email, then redeemed online. They make more sense than gift cards or vouchers for more “online” staff.

To give them a more personal touch, spruce the delivery up with personal messages of appreciation.

 

10. Flexibility

The Christmas period is hectic. The cash might not be there to fork out for a load of gifts for staff.

But just being flexible with hours during the period could be as welcome as a fancy bottle of wine.

 

11. Tote bags

Cool tote bags are great Christmas presents for staff and stay useful all year roundWe all want to make less waste, but that means lugging more containers about with us.

Rucksacks aren’t always a chic choice, but totes are. A quality sustainable fibre tote is a great gift for someone sick of dragging a tatty Bag for Life around.

 

12. Great books

Books are often a byword for boring gifts. But that’s because they’re often just the latest vapid celebrity biography, or a tenuous link to a hobby.

Put some time and thought into a good book and it will be a fantastic gift. it shows not just that you’ve thought about someone, but that you actually know them well enough to pick them out a great book.

 

13. Luxury gift cards

We have already mentioned gift cards. But special gift cards for high-end shops like M&S or John Lewis are different.

Even the most dour employee can find something delightful with a luxury gift card. Only being able to get something luxurious makes them great Christmas gifts for employees.

 

14. Hampers

Hampers are a classic. And they tend to stick around the house while you pick away at the chocolates, spreadables, cheeses and preserves.

Just make sure what’s in the hamper is special. That’s what sets hampers apart when it comes to Christmas gifts for employees.

 

15. Recognition

Earnest employee recognition is a corporate Christmas present lots of staff would appreciateFor some employees, offering your heartfelt thanks would go much further than any cash-value item.

Knowing their efforts are valued and noticed as they head into a Christmas break does as much for morale as rewards might.

 

16. A BS button

Give someone the chance to call BS out when they see it. Or more to the point hear it.

Gift a novelty button that breaks the tension when someone wants to call BS on a bad idea without feeling awkward.

 

17. Donation to a charity

You really need to know the room before making a call like this. People might feel let down, or maybe even a bit patronised.

But if you look at the office and can’t imagine what to get for your socially-conscious millennials, a donation works. As long as it speaks to a cause they’re invested in.

 

18. Steaks

Any meat lover worth their salt enjoys a good steak, they make delightful staff Christmas presentsAlmost every meat eater enjoys a high quality cut of steak. Good steaks are an indulgence that really needs to be savoured.

You can’t really go wrong by plumping for one of the marquee cuts either. Ribeye, filet, or a strip all work. Or really go wild with some T-bone or porterhouse options.

And for your vegan or vegetarian staff, there are some amazing developments in vegan and plant-based alternatives.

 

19. Custom print cushions, pillows or luggage

Submit someone’s picture, or maybe a picture of their pet, and it becomes a print of the item. That could be pillows or cushions.

But the best is luggage – there’s no debating who a suitcase belongs to when your face is all over it.

 

20. Wireless shower speakers

Ideal for anyone that really can’t go a minute without a bit of stimulation. Not even for the duration of a shower. Also ideal for an employee that likes a long soak in the bath with a good podcast.

 

21. An office pet

Dogs are for life, not just for office Christmas presents. But they do bring life to your office.There are loads of benefits to having dogs in the office. They make your company more fun, less stressful and more empathetic.

Who could be mad when there’s a cute dog in the room? Of course, only break this one out once you’re sure no one has an allergy or phobia of dogs.

 

22. Wallet-friendly powerbanks

Always running out of charge is annoying. But so is carrying around a giant power bar all day.

A wallet-friendly power pack helps your electrically-challenged employees stay online. Without taking an unwieldly battery everywhere.

 

23. Event or theatre tickets

You always hear theatre fans saying they “should” get tickets when Wicked or War Horse is on. Make sure they don’t miss out this time. Make your Christmas gift for employees something they’ve been putting off for years.

 

24. Multi-tools for outdoorsy types

Our outdoors types love a multi-tool. Especially the specialised ones for cyclists, climbers, woodsmen and more.

Depending on what your staff get up to in the outdoors, there’s a quality multi-tool out there.

 

25. Slippers for indoorsy types

Our indoors types, by contrast, love a good pair of comfortable slippers. Everyone loves a really comfortable pair of slippers for those cold nights in.

 

26. Infusion water bottles

Infusion bottles keep everyone healthy and hydrated during christmasSupplying staff with their own refillable, non-toxic bottles benefits you and your staff. They cut down on waste, saving money on disposable cups.

And they help staff stay hydrated during the work day. Infusion bottles also let staff stick a bit of citrus fruit of a tea bag in for a healthy flavoured drink.

 

27. Speciality coffees

Caffeine is an essential office supply. A specialty coffee selection is a great gift for anyone that always says “yes” when the barista offers them the special blend.

 

28. Stadium tours

It’s amazing how many people live in a city with a major sports team but never take a look inside.

Stadium tours give you a glimpse into the history of a team, and how that history affects the city you live in.

 

29. Guided museum or heritage tours

Not everyone’s into sport. But a guided tour of a gallery, historic site or museum would be a huge treat for staff that like a bit of culture.

 

30. Streaming sticks

Like Roku or Amazon. They turn laptops and televisions into streaming devices with thousands of channels available.

They’re a quick and easy way to get more out of the great indoors without having to buy a cable or satellite subscription.

 

31. Adult learning classes

For someone that’s always wanted to speak Spanish. Or wishes they knew how to paint with oils or create pottery.

They’re fun and personal. And they let your staff do something personally fulfilling and enriching outside their work.

 

5 Christmas gifts for employees to avoid at all costs

It’s the thought that counts. Unless you’re thinking about really bad gift ideas. Or even worse if you don’t think about someone at all.

Steer clear of this stuff if you want good Christmas gifts.

 

1. Being forgotten

Forgetting to buy some employees gifts is a miniature morale crisis. That goes double if they’re remote or mobile.

They’ll already have their guard up about not being in the office. And being forgotten amplifies that feeling.

 

2. Cash

Cash is one of the most unimaginative employee Christmas gifts out thereOld reliable, and reliably boring. No one hates having more money, but cash doesn’t make a great Christmas gift for employees.

Especially in companies where year-end bonuses are the norm for performance targets.

 

3. Cheap and boring food and drink

Anyone can walk into a supermarket and buy themselves a bar of Dairy Milk. It’s not interesting, thoughtful or special.

If you’re so out of ideas you’re thinking about buying someone a Toblerone, just get them a decent gift card.

 

4. Gag gifts

Sometimes they work, but it’s best avoided. That goes double if you’re the boss. Remember that as an employer that you’re “punching down.”

You’re most likely in a position of authority or power over your staff. What seems harmless to you can come off as an assault on someone’s work, or their position in the company.

 

5. Self-help books

The Secret and Rich Dad, Poor Dad might have completely turned your life around.

But don’t try to pressure other people into “improving” themselves. It’s incredibly patronising and not very exciting at Christmas.

 

 

4 simple guidelines on Christmas gifts for employees

Keep a few ideas in mind when you’re looking to gift to stay on the safe side.

1. Be fair

It’s a gift, not a bonus. No one should feel hard done by when you save the lion’s share of your gift budget for the best performers.

 

2. Be consistent

Pick a price range you’re confident you can stick to next year too. A big blowout one year and little the next isn’t great for internal credibility.

It gives off uncomfortable boom/bust vibes.

 

3. No company logos

We love employee engagement but we don’t want to see staff turned into walking billboards for their company.

Let your employees enjoy their gift without having to sport the corporate logo everywhere they go.

 

4. Keep HMRC happy

Keep in mind the value of what you gift is subject to tax regulations. Especially if the cash-value of your gifts adds up to more than £50 per employee over the year.

Talk to your finance people and make sure you keep everything square with the tax man when gifting.

 

Remember: There’s no need to stress about it

If you’re stressing about it, let me stop you right there. Just get the basics right.

Put the effort in, try your best to anticipate the tastes of your employees, and act in earnest gratitude. Hit those notes and you’ll be alright.

And if you’re still not sure, get in touch with us. We’d be happy to talk you through a few options.

Or read about the Christmas gift options available through Love2shop Business Services here.