Rewards for employees to motivate

02 Dec 2021

Best rewards for employees to motivate (especially after the New Year)

Christmas is a flurry of activity, excitement, and time off work. So, it’s no surprise that returning to work in the new year can be a struggle for many.

Re-adjusting to the everyday pressures of working life can seem overwhelming, with stress levels rising by a third in the period after Christmas.

Another factor is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is said to affect one in three people in the UK. Lack of motivation is just one of the symptoms of this depression caused by lack of light.

So, why is it important to help employees who are struggling to get motivated?

First up, they want to be motivated. Research has shown that over 70% of UK workers would like their employers to put more effort into motivating them.

And secondly, one study found that three in four workers plan to look for a new job in the new year. Which is why now is the perfect time to consider ways of offering benefits such as rewards to boost employee motivation and encourage retention.

To help you kick-start the new year with a bang, read on to discover our guide to the best rewards for employees to motivate.

The motivational power of rewards

Much research has been undertaken into the positive benefits of employee recognition, such as:

Motivated employees also feel more engaged which can also lead to them experiencing less burnout.

Reasons to reward your employees

So now you know the power of rewards, when and why should you use them?

Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the most common reasons for rewarding employees:

  • Performance

    When a member of the team completes a project, task, target, or all-important KPI, or is simply observed to have tried hard, rewarding them instantly is a great way to incentivise repeat behaviour in them and their colleagues

  • Milestone

    Whether it’s to welcome a new starter or to honour a workplace anniversary, acknowledging individual employee’s personal milestones with your company helps show they are valued and an integral part of the team

  • Wellbeing initiatives

    Encouraging staff to get involved with health and wellbeing strategies is particularly relevant in the new year when people tend to focus on self-care. Offering rewards is a great way to encourage involvement and boost engagement

  • Company culture

    An employee engagement programme that rewards employees for contributing to your company values is an effective way of building a strong and positive culture across your whole organisation

How often should you reward your employees?

When it comes to rewards for employees to motivate, more than 50% of employees say that a reward is less impactful if it takes ‘too long’ to receive, with 7% saying having to wait more than one day is too long.

Research suggests that it’s better to recognise staff with smaller rewards on a regular basis than to offer one large reward at the very end.

A study by Cornell researchers found that employees who received immediate, frequent rewards once they had completed small tasks showed more interest and enjoyment in their work.

Another interesting discovery was that employees who are frequently rewarded early on become ‘intrinsically motivated’ to remain interested and engaged to their workload and tasks even when the rewards are no longer being offered.

Tailor rewards to your employee demographics

Alongside getting the frequency of your rewards right, considering the demographics of your employees is just as important. The types of rewards that motivate employees will vary depending on the employee’s age.

For example, here’s a breakdown of generations who have used gift cards in the past year:

  • Boomers: 97%
  • Gen X: 96%
  • Millennials: 91%
  • Gen Z: 78%

When it comes to spending gift cards, younger generations are more likely to try new retailers:

  • Gen Z: 23%
  • Millennials: 18%
  • Gen X: 14%
  • Boomers: 7%

Further research on Millennials (who are estimated to make up over 50% of the UK workforce) has shown that 72% prefer experiences over material things.

So, as well as considering experiential rewards for your Millennial team members, you could also consider building experiences around gift cards by personalising them with messaging and photos, so they are more memorable.

The best rewards for employees to motivate

So, what are the best rewards to consider to see the most positive impact on employee motivation?

Gift cards and eGift cards

According to the National Retail Federation, gift cards are the most requested gift. Let’s take a look at some of the statistics around employees and gift cards:

As a fast, convenient, and easy-to-use reward, gift cards are a great way to motivate your employees. They can be given in low denominations, can be redeemed in-store or online, and can also be personalised with company branding or customised with the individual recipient’s details.

eGift cards have risen in popularity since the start of the pandemic, with 44% of employees saying that they prefer digital cards more than pre-COVID. This may be due to the fact that they can be delivered instantly and redeemed instantly, with no production or shipping costs.

Our diverse gift card and eGift card portfolio includes single and multi-retailer cards that can be used with a huge range of market-leading brands for dining out, entertainment and leisure, fashion and beauty, and home and garden. Our gift cards can also be bought in bulk so your business can deliver on-the-spot rewards and instant incentives without having to spend time re-ordering and waiting for delivery.

Unforgettable experiences

Whether it’s a relaxing spa day, exhilarating balloon ride, or delicious afternoon tea, another way to reward and motivate your employees is to provide an experience they’ll never forget. That’s because experiences engage the senses, illicit emotions, and become lasting memories.

The boost in motivation levels goes beyond the employee experiencing the reward as they’re more likely to talk about it with others both in the office and online, which can motivate other members of the team to strive to earn their own memorable experience.

Our Envy packages offer employees a range of over 5,000 real-life experiences from family days out to short breaks. Simply choose the price point and your employee can select an experience from any category. It’s more than giving an employee a reward. It’s giving a memorable experience that they will forever associate with your brand.

Multi-brand cards

There’s no denying that employees love to receive gift cards. Yet it’s also true that no two employees are the same. So, what’s the best solution for a diverse workforce with different wants and needs?

Multi-brand cards. They give your employees a choice.

These pre-paid gift cards can be used in multiple ways. They’re a win-win choice for both employers and employees as they’re quick and easy to set up and versatile to redeem.

Offering your employees variety can help to keep them engaged for the long-term, as it indicates that you appreciate that everyone is an individual who gets motivated in different ways. That’s why employees value choice more than any one specific reward.

Our One4all multi-store gift cards can be used at over 140 popular retailers across the retail, entertainment, and hospitality space both in-store and online. So three different employees can use their identical gift cards to choose their own motivating reward, whether it’s grabbing a bite to eat at Wagamama’s, enjoying the latest blockbuster at Odeon, or shopping at Primark.

It’s up to you how much value to add to each card (from £10 to £120) and we can also customise them with your branding and handle all the logistics of sending them to your employees.

There’s also the option to reward employees with tailored multi-brand cards that can be spent on certain interests such as dining out, gaming, or fashion. For example, each of our One4all Favourites brings together 12 well-known brands related to a particular theme including restaurants, home and garden, beauty and spa, and more.

eGift codes

No list of rewards for employees to motivate would be complete without eGift codes. Quite simply, eGift codes are a quick and easy way to distribute rewards to individuals and teams.

One reason eGift codes are popular with employers is that they’re instant and very convenient. So, if you want to present a last-minute reward or impromptu incentive, eGift codes can be delivered instantly by email and enjoyed straight away.

For example, our end-to-end reward and disbursement platform, Select, can distribute eCodes directly to your employees or to you in bulk for you to distribute.

Your employees can then head to a redemption website and swap their code for their choice of eGift from a huge choice of leading brands. There’s something for everyone as the Select range covers eating out, beauty and fashion, home and garden.

Plus, you can also track how your employees are using their eGift cards to give you a better understanding of what motivates them.

Would you like support with motivating your employees with rewards?

Get in touch with our team to learn about rewards that show your appreciation, boosting both the engagement and productivity of your staff.

Contact a Rewards Expert Today