Why offering reward choice is the best way to say ‘thank you’

Why offering reward choice is the best way to say ‘thank you’

Feeling appreciated at work is incredibly important to employees’ levels of motivation, productivity and engagement. 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 employee rewards are so valuable. Throughout the year, they play an essential part in sustaining your team’s motivation levels, boosting their morale and showing them that not only is their hard work appreciated, but they’re valued as individuals too. 

One approach that’s increasingly popular among businesses and proven to have a number of benefits, is to deliver a flexible reward scheme that gives individuals a choice over their rewards. In the same way that flexible benefits cater to individual needs and preferences, flexible rewards give employees the ability to choose an item that’s personally meaningful and valuable to them. This ‘modern’ approach addresses emerging research that demonstrates the need for businesses to take a personalised approach to reward.

In fact, a study from CIPD revealed that organisations are finding it difficult to meet the reward expectations of employees, partly because preferences are highly individualised. It goes on to state that the appropriate response would be a flexible and dynamic system that reflects each individual’s diverse and changing needs. 

Giving your team the ability to choose their rewards is, therefore, the optimal approach – it’s completely flexible, caters to the personal interests and needs of your workforce and is also extremely cost-effective, as it eliminates waste from unwanted rewards. 

If you’re looking to change up how you deliver your end-of-year rewards, offering choice could be the ideal solution. Here’s why…

1. Caters to Employees’ different needs and priorities

Firstly, your people will all have different needs, priorities, and ultimately things that will motivate them to work to the best of their ability and go above and beyond for your business. Because of this, businesses should try and avoid a ‘one size fits all’ approach to their employee rewards. Impersonal rewards run the risk of having the opposite effect on engagement levels and employees’ sense of value, as they may feel as though their employer hasn’t taken the time or invested interest in their wants and needs. 

Of course, it’s often unrealistic, particularly in large scale organisations, for an employer to remember individual personal interests and therefore reward preferences. That’s the great thing about adding the element of choice to your rewards approach – your employees are the ones making the decision. They are empowered to choose a reward they’ll personally enjoy and get value out of, which means that the reward will be far more likely to boost their morale, motivate them and have a positive sentiment.  

Demonstrating flexibility within your rewards and benefits schemes is a fantastic way to enhance your Employee Value Proposition when competing with other companies for top talent. According to Get Living, three-quarters of employees want a more tailored benefits package, which reflects their different priorities and needs. By offering reward choice, you’ll be demonstrating that your company values and encourages individuality and supports the unique needs of each member of its team.

Offering flexibility holds particular value when delivering end-of-year and Christmas rewards when it’s likely some of your team members will be facing additional financial difficulties. In fact, a YouGov poll revealed that the festive costs of individuals in Britain add up to £1,116 on average. So, offering rewards with a choice factor could help them lift the burden a little. You could give your team a choice of digital vouchers, which they could use to pay for gifts or subsidise their food bill. This would have a hugely positive effect on morale, by supporting the financial wellbeing of your employees and showing them that you care. It will also show that you understand what may be useful and rewarding to one person, won’t necessarily have the same effect on everyone.

2. Demonstrates Employees’ worth as individuals

Employers should always be looking to enhance the day-to-day experience of their employees. Work is no longer just a way to earn a living and pay bills, many people now want it to be a rewarding experience and enjoyable culture that adds value to their life. A key part of this is cooperation between an employer and the members of its team, to ensure the right support is in place to meet their individual needs. In the past, it’s been common practice in the rewards and benefits space to take a ‘one size fits all’ approach for convenience. But this doesn’t take into account employees’ personal interests and their individuality.

A healthy culture begins with a team of people who feel valued as individuals and not just cogs in a machine, and a great place to start with this is by demonstrating flexibility. Reward schemes that offer choice truly enhance a general sense of belonging in the workplace. They will show that your business appreciates employees as individuals, values them on a much more personal level and that they are an integral and indispensable part of your business. As a manager, your rewards approach leads the way. If you show appreciation in a personalised way that adds value, your team will likely follow suit. Peer-to-peer recognition, particularly public ‘thank yous’ delivered with meaning,  play a huge role in the culture of your organisation and can add to your employee’s overall experience. 

Ultimately, it all ties back to the employee voice and encouraging self-expression in the workplace by creating a user-focused rewards experience. By offering reward choice, you’re giving your people the power to influence matters that affect them at work, and by doing so, significantly boosting their sense of value. Participating in decisions, in any sense of the meaning, in the workplace, is hugely important to employee wellbeing and job satisfaction.

3. Boosts the long-term significance of your rewards

A reward that’s been hand-selected, and therefore holds more personal value, will likely boost its long-term significance and act as a lasting reminder of the ‘thank you’ received. For example, an individual might like to use their Christmas reward points to purchase a special hamper to enjoy with friends and family over the festive period, or perhaps a gift set or product that’s been on their wishlist for a while. Every time they then use the reward it will evoke the same morale boost it did when it was first received and echo into the new year and beyond.

With our points-based Christmas reward solution, employees are also given the option to top up their reward points with their own money to buy something even more valuable and memorable. By offering your employees a helping hand to buy themselves something that they’ve been wanting for ages, you will demonstrate to them just how important their wellbeing is, and that you truly care for them as an individual, not just a member of your workforce.

Even better, by having a points-based rewards programme that you and your employees use year-round, your team can accumulate their points throughout the year. So, when they receive their Christmas points, they can top up their existing balance and treat themselves to something extra special, like a piece of jewellery or watch or a spa treatment or experience day, that signifies their hard work and your gratitude. 

Introducing flexible Christmas rewards

While rewards and recognition should be prevalent in your organisation year-round, it’s particularly important to show thanks at the end of the year. Rounding things up on a positive note with rewards that truly show your team how much you value and appreciate their hard work, will boost your employees’ morale and motivation into the new year and beyond.  

At peoplevalue, we believe that businesses should always strive to deliver memorable rewards that truly cater to the individual. That’s why we offer flexible Christmas reward solutions that give your employees the ability to choose. Each year, we work closely with our clients and other businesses across the UK to help them say ‘thank you’ when it matters most. From festive favourites like hampers and champagne to luxury gift sets and dreamy chocolate collections, as well as digital vouchers for a huge range of retailers, your employees can choose from plenty of fantastic rewards that will show them that they’re valued and appreciated. 

To find out more about our Christmas reward options, simply get in touch with us at [email protected] or visit our website.

Read next: Why employees need both financial and non-financial rewards

Watch: Why reward & recognition is a key engagement tool at Christmas

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