9 Incentives to Reward Your Employees with this Christmas

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Coming up with rewards that are unique or actually incentivise your employees can be a real challenge. This is never more so present than when it comes to the Christmas period. Many organisations will choose to follow traditional incentives that are rather uninspiring or stick to the same incentives every year which have the same minimal impact on your employees.

Within this article you will find out some of the real reasons why it is important to offer beneficial incentives to your employees and some of our favourite rewards that not many other organisations may be offering.

Why Reward Your Employees at Christmas

To many this may seem like a silly question but it is something that needs to be looked at. Why should we reward our employees at Christmas time, what is the overall benefit? The simple answer to that question is that 50% of organisations that do reward their employees during this period will see an increase in productivity at the start of the new year.

So let's look at why this is the case. The first answer is that incentives and rewards will make your employees feel much more appreciated. Whether this is by offering incentives that help support them financially during a time of year that puts a lot of financial strain on them, or if it just comes down to showing them that they have done a good job and you appreciate their work for the year.

Another key reason to reward your employees during the Christmas season is the impact it will have on employee loyalty and retention. The new year is a busy time for jobseekers, not just those out of work but those who are dissatisfied with where they currently are and wish to try something new. By providing employees a reward and token of your appreciation, you will increase their loyalty and make them feel much more appreciated, meaning they are less likely to go elsewhere.

Effective Christmas Employee Incentives

So what makes an effective Christmas reward? It has to be inline with their needs or what they like. For years, organisations have been using the same types of rewards during this period. Traditionally you might give employees a hamper, a bottle of alcohol etc. but for many within your organisation this will not align with what they like. You wouldn’t think to give a bottle of alcohol to someone who doesn’t drink and for those with dietary restrictions a hamper might be filled with goods they cannot have.

The simple answer to what makes an effective reward is to ask your employees what they would like. This does not need to be restricted to just one or two answers, the more answers you receive the more options you will have to choose from. The rewards that are chosen need to be based around what will help to boost staff morale the most during this time of year. That is what will lead to them being the most effective for both you and your staff.

9 Effective rewards to for your employees this Christmas

Say Thank You

A very simple yet effective way to show your appreciation to your employees that many organisations will overlook. We don’t mean that one of the major bosses gets up and makes a thank you speech in front of the company. We are referring to a more personal approach.

One way to make it more personal is to have managers have one to ones with each of their team where they go over some of the highlights of the year that the employee has had. It can be in the form of cards that include little in jokes or just a short personalised message. It can even be done via email, where again it highlights the achievements of the employee throughout the year, although we find this to be the least personal out of the three options.

Ask What They Would Like

As we stated earlier this is a great way to get ideas of incentives that your staff really want. By asking what they would like to receive you can make the incentives a lot more personalised to them.

It has the further benefit of really reinforcing the reward that they have received. Instead of it being some bland corporate reward, they know that it is something they have directly asked for and should reinforce their appreciation of it.

Asking employees what they want will also increase engagement. It can be seen as a fun idea to create a Christmas wish list and reinforces the idea they are being listened to when they start to see their suggestions actually being used.

Christmas Celebrations 

Not only are Christmas celebrations a great way to bring your employees closer together, they are also a great way of showing your employees how much you appreciate them and their work. Celebrations allow employees to meet each other in a more relaxed atmosphere and unwind after what could’ve been a stressful year.

When a Christmas celebration is well planned, it can do a lot to increase employee morale and loyalty. A well organised Christmas celebration should include entertainment, good food, plenty of drink options and no inclusion of work. When done effectively, it is an experience that not many other organisations will be able to offer their employees and will tie them closer to the business.

However it is important to consider that not everyone will thrive in this type of atmosphere and it may be difficult to sort out travel, child care, accommodation if required etc.

Hotel for a Night

That leads us nicely into our next suggestion, a hotel for the night. This is a great incentive for all employees but especially for those with kids. If you can help arrange accommodation for the night and help support their child care needs you will provide something very special for employees with kids. 

Not many organisations would go out of their way to provide such things and it will undoubtedly benefit employees by allowing them to focus on enjoying themselves during the Christmas party.

Even for those without kids it can be great reward, allowing them and a partner to stay in a hotel for the night can be treated as a night away together and shows that you care about their relationships outside of work as well as inside work.

Flexible Working & Time Off

Employees will always appreciate having additional time off, it is one of the most effective rewards an organisation can provide. This is even more prominent around the Christmas period when employees will want to be spending time with their family and friends. 

By providing them with additional time off or even flexible working hours around this period, you give them the ability to be closer to family and friends during a normally quieter period of the year.

This is not something that every organisation will offer which further increases your employees loyalty and shows your appreciation for their work. Of course it needs to be considered how this is done as you may not wish to have everyone taking the same time off, nor do you wish to see it impact company performance.

Gift Vouchers

Although not the most personal option on the list it is always a sensible choice. Gift vouchers are a great way to give your employees something of monetary value but still gives them the opportunity to choose what they use it for.

Christmas will see many struggle financially, especially if they need to buy lots of gifts for lots of different people. Through gift vouchers you can help to relieve that pressure and even support them with the gifts that they are buying.

Whenever an organisation helps support their staff from a financial standpoint, they will see an increase in staff morale, retention and productivity.


Possibly the most popular type of reward, cash is something that not a lot of organisations will offer their employees. If asked what types of rewards they would like to receive, you can be sure that the vast majority of them would say cash.

During the Christmas period, this outcome would be even more likely. Through a cash bonus you will be able to help support your employees during a time when they might be under financial pressure and it gives them a direct idea of what the reward is worth, which is something that employees are always interested in but are not always clear on.

When it comes to providing a cash reward, it is better to do so directly instead of adding it to that month's paycheck. This way the reward is more obvious and transparent.

Wellness Incentives

Employee health and wellbeing is becoming increasingly important to organisations and provides a great opportunity to give employees meaningful rewards. If an employee can see that their wellbeing is important to their employer they will feel closer aligned to the company and when employee wellbeing increases so does productivity.

A few great wellness incentives that an organisation can provide are: free gym memberships, yoga classes, cooking courses, food subscription services, exercise equipment etc. Many of these rewards are something employees might wish they currently have but do not due to financial constraints, this something an organisation can help relieve.

Staff Awards Ceremony

An award ceremony is a great way to show your appreciation for your employees and can help better align them with your organisation. This doesn’t need to be a drab affair and can even be made quite fun and jovial through the use of some joke awards and making fun of some of the higher ups within the organisation.

With an award ceremony, depending on the size of the organisation, you will want to consider having an award for every employee. This will help them feel rewarded, feel seen and increase engagement and loyalty.

Your Next Steps for Rewarding Your Employees

There you have it, nine different rewards that employees will love not just at Christmas but all year round. Through effective rewards you will begin to see improvements in productivity, employee engagement, employee retention and being able to source top talent.

If you are unsure of where to start when coming up with rewards or tracking the rewards that you have given, that is where we can help. Our reward and incentive solutions are simple to use but extremely impactful. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our team, who can help get you started today.