Why December is a great time to launch an employee reward and recognition programme

Why December is a great time to launch an employee reward and recognition programme

With Christmas fast approaching, it’s likely that your business has already decided how it’s going to say a well-deserved ‘thank you’ to its employees for their hard work this year. But, while end of year rewards are important for boosting morale and driving engagement, the key to keeping your workforce feeling engaged, motivated and supported all year long is to introduce a reward and recognition scheme. That way, your business can celebrate and reward achievements and milestones in the moment, any month of the year. 

Why reward & recognition is important

Feeling appreciated at work is incredibly important to your employees’ motivation, productivity and ultimately, their job satisfaction. In fact, according to Gallup, employees who do not feel adequately recognised are twice as likely to say they’ll quit their current role within the next year. That’s why it’s so important to build a company culture where mutual gratitude is ingrained, by giving managers and colleagues a platform to thank one another for hard work or desirable behaviour that goes above and beyond. 

Whether it’s a simple peer-to-peer ‘thank you’ wall, a Long Service Awards scheme, a value-based recognition scheme or a points-based reward system, if your business hasn’t yet got an employee reward and recognition programme, December could be the perfect time to launch one. Introducing a new way for your employees to show their thanks for one another will not only help your business reinforce its values but also provide your team with a morale boost as they return to work and take on 2022. 

Here are four reasons why Christmas is a great time for your business to launch an employee reward and recognition scheme:

Combat the January blues

January is a notoriously challenging month for people and, according to job site Monster, it’s also the busiest job searching month of the year. Returning to work after the Christmas break can fill people with dread, and if an individual is already feeling a lack of motivation and fulfilment in their current role, the new year will likely elevate these feelings and push them to look for something new. Having a strong sense of purpose and meaning is one of the most important contributing factors affecting career wellbeing and the employee experience as a whole. In fact, according to Mckinsey, 70 percent of employees say that their sense of purpose is defined by their work. It’s therefore important that employers offer the right kind of support to help their teams find purpose and challenge in their roles, beat the blues and start the year off on a positive note. 

Job satisfaction also plays a huge role in talent retention – individuals want to know that their hard work contributes to the ongoing success of their organisation, and be recognised and appreciated accordingly. Launching a reward and recognition scheme is therefore a great way to remind your team that you value their contributions and give their job satisfaction a much-needed boost, by consistently recognising, rewarding and encouraging hard work. It’s competitive out there, and a reward and recognition platform is a great way to demonstrate how much you value your employees and help them find purpose and fulfilment within their roles. 

Aid financial wellbeing at a critical time

Whether it’s food and gifts to buy, parties to host or general festivities to attend, Christmas can be a very expensive time. It can be easy for us to spend outside of our means, with statistics from the Bank of England showing that we spend, on average, almost £740 more in December, which is 29% more than in a typical month. January can therefore be a tricky time financially, and your employees’ financial wellbeing will likely need some extra support.

A point-based reward scheme, like our ereward solution, is valuable because employees have the freedom to choose a reward that aligns with their needs and priorities via a catalogue of over 25,000 products and experiences. Kickstarting a scheme like this transforms a generic ‘thank you’ into something far more meaningful and memorable long-term. It will show employees that their hard work is appreciated and that the business values them as individuals and wants to give them the opportunity to buy something special at a critical point in the year. 

Drive year-end targets

Employees who feel appreciated and valued at work are more likely to be motivated to go above and beyond, repeat desirable behaviours and help your business succeed. According to Gallup, acknowledging an employee’s best work goes a long way toward making him or her feel valued and can lead to other desirable workplace outcomes. Introducing a reward & recognition scheme in December is, therefore, a great way to boost your employees’ motivation levels and incentivise them to hit their end of year targets or simply maintain their efforts right until the end of the year. 

Reinforce business goals ahead of a new year

With year-end performance reviews and preparations being put in place for the new year, December is a great time for your business to really drill down on its mission and purpose. What does it want to achieve? And, how can it reach these goals? Introducing a reward and recognition platform just in time for the start of a new year is an effective way to reinforce your business’ goals, mission and purpose. That way, your employees can come back to work after the Christmas period knowing exactly what your business wants to achieve and how they can be rewarded for their individual contributions. Whether it’s performance, behavioural-based or both, you can tailor your reward & recognition scheme to align with your business goals and encourage your team to start the year off in a productive, purposeful manner. 

Tried and tested

One of our clients kickstarted their ongoing employee reward and recognition scheme during the festive season by coinciding it with their Christmas rewards. They sent out personal thank you cards to their teams with information about the new rewards platform and, as an extra special gesture of appreciation, they also gave each employee reward points to spend on an item of their choice via an online catalogue. The scheme has been very well received and is popular amongst employees from all corners of the business. 

Final thoughts

In summary, Christmas rewards in isolation are very valuable but they should be part of a wider, long-term scheme that allows for in the moment ‘thank yous’ and demonstrates year-long appreciation. Even better, coinciding the launch of a reward scheme with a specific event, such as Christmas or even a significant anniversary, is a really valuable way to boost morale, drive engagement and ensure your employees and business get to reap the full benefits of the scheme. 

Read next: The importance of rewarding your employees in the moment 

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