The Employee Christmas Rewards Minefield
Choosing the right Christmas gift for your team should be a pleasure, something that marks the start of the festive period, puts a quiet smile on your face and a warm glow in your heart.
It can also be fraught with politics and challenging complications based on employee interrelationships, team versus individual performance and a long list of lifestyle choices that even the most personable boss may not know about.
Despite all this, the opportunity to say thank you and give your employees’ morale a boost shouldn’t be missed. In an attempt to make life slightly simpler for you, here is our list of the pros and cons of the top employee Christmas gifts.
In an ideal world, we’ve all got time to peruse inspiring shops and websites or have been taking notes throughout the year and can simply get on and buy personal gifts for all our team members or employees. In reality, this may not be the case, and buying individual gifts can be quite time-consuming and actually incredibly stressful in the countdown to Christmas.
Cash is king they say, but it’s not really great as a gift because there’s nothing personal in it and it tends to be perceived as a performance related bonus. It’s extremely flexible but it may not actually have any notable effect as a gift because it’s as likely to be spent in the supermarket on the way home as on something that’s looked back on with fondness.
Vouchers and gift cards
Vouchers offer a balance between the absolute flexibility of cash and the suggestion that some thought has gone into the gift. It also avoids the risk of being frittered away on a celebrity gossip magazine or some bathroom cleaning products grabbed on the way home and they can be presented with a bit of theatre.
Experience days can be great: you are giving people the chance to try their hand at something new, but you do need to be careful about what phase of life people are at. If they’ve just had a baby, for example, is their partner going to really thank you if they take a day away from the family and throw themselves out of a plane? That said, a relaxing spa day may be very much appreciated! There’s plenty of scope for giving people something they want in a way that provides some flexibility.
Food, drink and hampers
Again, this very much depends on your employees’ stage of life and personal preference. If you present a 25-year-old with a ham, will they know what to do with it? You may know that your team member isn’t a vegetarian, but what if their partner is? With a bit of thought and research, food and drink can be a very kind gift, but it is labour-intensive.
E-codes have almost as much flexibility as cash without being so flexible that they simply get spent without anyone batting an eye. While they may be perceived as lacking a bit of the potential theatre of vouchers, they can also be extensively personalised assuming that your team members are comfortable with a smart-phone or tablet, plus they eliminate distribution issues.
Download our Christmas rewards guide
Whichever way you decide to go, the positive impact of a well-chosen gift can be a significant morale booster, so here are three pieces of advice we would offer:
1. Know your team
We are all individuals and a badly thought through Christmas gift can stay as long if not longer in the memory than one that’s well thought through. Before making a choice, take the time to subtly find out if a particular gift idea would be well received, and potentially, and equally subtly, run it past another team member to see if they immediately point out some facet of personality that you’d missed.
2. Have fun with it
Like anything in leadership, people tend to work out pretty quickly when you are just going through the motions. Make sure you put some thought into what you are giving your teams and make sure you are doing it with a smile.
3. Best advice though… Don’t leave it until the last minute
The best advice that we can offer though is not to leave it until the last minute. As with anything where Christmas is involved, the sooner you start the process of choosing the gift, the more likely you are to find the inspiration to get it right and at a reasonable price.