Iain McMath: Cost-efficient Christmas incentives

For many employers, knowing what to offer staff as a reward at Christmas can be difficult. Traditional gifts often include food hampers, bottles of wine, or a simple cash bonus. However, with different employees likely to be motivated by different rewards, such options can fall flat.

When looking at Christmas incentive strategies, employers need to remember how diverse their workforce is and, consequently, what individuals would, or would not, appreciate as a gift. For example, a non-drinker may not appreciate a bottle of wine or champagne, and a vegetarian is likely to balk at a frozen turkey.

So the choice of gift is very important to consider. Multi-retailer shopping vouchers have proved very popular as a Christmas gift for employees in recent years. These vouchers allow staff to choose their own gifts, ranging from well-known fashion brands and luxury dining to experience days and the latest electrical goods. This way, employees can select a gift they really want, at a price that suits their employer’s budget.

Another way to keep costs down at Christmas is to manage employees’ expectations. By regularly incentivising and acknowledging staff achievements throughout the year, employees will not see Christmas as the only occasion to receive recognition from their employer.

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As a result, instead of focusing on the monetary value of whatever gift they receive, employees will see it as just another example of how the organisation rewards strong performance, loyalty and consistency, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year.

Iain McMath is managing director of Sodexo Motivation Solutions