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.

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 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.

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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.

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