The importance of giving employees gifts at Christmas
Christmas marks the end of the year and the start of a festive break for employees to relax and recharge, ready for the new year ahead.
Christmas is also an opportunity for employers to keep workforces engaged by spreading some festive cheer amongst peers. Research shows that the lead up to Christmas is the most stressful time for workers with October, November and December being among the most demanding months of the year. Working longer hours to meet end of year deadlines, coupled with social events of the festive season, it can all take its toll.
But, if you use this time to help employees end the year on a high, showing appreciation and gratitude, your workforce is more likely to take a break feeling happy and content, which will in turn, encourage them to return in January motivated and geared up for a successful year.
Read on to discover the best Christmas gifts to give employees, how to give your gifts, and what to do when most of your workforce is based at home.
What makes a good Christmas gift for employees?
It’s important to get gifts for employees right so your best intentions don’t go amiss. A good Christmas gift is something that provides lots of opportunities to make your employees smile. Gift cards are a great example because they provide at least ‘three smile touch points’. A Gift Card makes the recipient feel happy when…
- 1. They receive it
- 2. When they spend it
- 3. And when they use or experience what they have bought with it
Gift cards are also better for motivation than a cash gift. While cash bonuses will give employees a boost when they are received, the money is often swallowed up on household bills, particularly during a cost of living crisis, and therefore they don’t have any memorable experience and the motivational feeling is quickly lost.
Research conducted by Aberdeen Group, found that 63% of companies use non-cash awards in their loyalty programs because they believe the impact of this type of reward lasts longer. Another study, by the Incentive Research Federation, showed that two-thirds of employees prefer to have non-cash incentives instead of monetary rewards.
Other types of gifts that work well for employees include a meal with peers, a relaxing overnight stay, a day out to explore a new place or an adrenaline type activity. That’s because these are all experiences, and experiences can offer your staff a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you, the employer, can be the person to provide that sought-after opportunity, then that positive memory will stay with your employee for a very long time - providing lots of opportunities to make them smile!
Most popular Christmas gift ideas for employees
As discussed above, gifts need to be thoughtful, not a token Christmas pudding or a bulk buy of branded pens. In fact, our own research that explored seasonal gifting trends found a traditional Secret Santa doesn’t always hit the mark. Almost half (42%) of employees reported having negative feelings about Secret Santa, with many thinking it's a waste of money and a waste of time.
We’ve collated our insights to share the top Christmas gifts your employees really want this year. It’s important to note these presents can be adapted to suit all budgets. Thoughtful gifts for your workforce don’t have to be expensive. As long as you give each gift with genuine appreciation and a personal message, your employee will feel happy and valued.
1. Christmas food vouchers
A practical gift but a meaningful gift, nonetheless. Food at Christmas time always seems extra special, and many of us get a lot of satisfaction from enjoying festive treats with our family and friends. But it can be costly, especially as we see prices for most things shoot up. This is the reason why Christmas food vouchers are a popular gift idea. It’s the perfect gift for an employee with a sweet tooth to buy something special. Employees can also use them towards the Christmas food shop, buy something extra special for the Christmas Day feast or just treat themselves to their favourite bottle of wine for the holidays.
You can give your employees a Christmas food voucher for a specific retailer, such as M&S, or you can give them a multi-retailer shopping voucher which gives them the opportunity to choose a food-outlet of their choice. Whatever type of Christmas food voucher you choose, you can be confident the gift will be appreciated by your entire workforce.
2. Wellbeing experiences
Keeping fit, massages and wellness treatments are all good for our wellbeing and impact how we feel. Giving your workforce an opportunity to unwind and reap relaxation benefits is a gift that can be enjoyed over the Christmas break or in the New Year, depending on when your employee needs the boost most.
There are plenty of wellbeing experience gift cards to choose from and the best ones are the gift cards that offer choice. Flexible wellbeing gifts mean your employees will be able to choose from a number of experiences including a spa break, beauty treatments or a stay at a wellness retreat.
Wellbeing experiences can often be thought of as a gift for a female demographic. However, research shows men now make up 50% of spa customers as they are increasingly noticing the overall wellbeing benefits the activity brings.
3. Shopping gift cards
Shopping is a pastime almost everyone gets pleasure out of, and multi-retailer shopping gift cards are always a hit with employees – no matter their age or personality, it’s like receiving a beautiful gift box, or a big gift basket, full of nice things!
A shopping gift card that enables employees to choose where they spend it gives them complete control over their gift. Employees like this freedom as they enjoy deciding where and how to use their gift.
Multi-retailer shopping gift cards can be spent instore or online and the value can be split amongst as many retailers as your employee wants. For example, they could spend £20 in Argos and then £30 in Waitrose on their Christmas shop.
Our One4all multi-retailer gift card comes as a physical card or an eGift which is sent to employees via email and can be delivered within 24 hours. The gift cards can also be personalised with individual messages which make employees feel even more valued.
4. Theatre gift vouchers
Live shows and productions create memories that last a lifetime. Going to the theatre is an experience many of us can’t regularly afford, therefore presenting an opportunity for your employees to see a performance is a gift they won’t forget.
Theatre gift vouchers, such as Theatre Tokens, allow your employees to choose what live show they see. It won’t always be possible to book a production over the festive period, however giving a gift of ‘something to look forward to’ will always make people smile.
5. Restaurant vouchers
Who doesn’t love being treated to a meal out? Why not treat your employees to a dining experience at Christmas and foot their bill?
Restaurant vouchers are the easiest way to pay for a meal for your employees. And vouchers that enable your employees to choose from a number of restaurants offers even more benefits as they can pick a cuisine they like.
Our ‘The Restaurant Choice’ gift card can be sent as a physical gift card or an eGift via email. It also provides employees with a variety of popular restaurants to spend their gift, including Pizza Express, ASK and YO! Sushi.
Common questions asked about Christmas gifts for employees
Should Christmas gifts come from the boss?
Once you’ve decided what Christmas gift to give your employees, the next step is deciding who should gift them and how to hand them out to your workforce.
Christmas gifts should ideally come from the employee’s direct line manager. This is important because our research found that almost two fifths (39%) of employees view gifts as recognition for their hard work and the same amount say that Christmas gifts make them feel valued by their employer. Your employee will already have a relationship with their manager, therefore the “thank you” will feel more genuine.
That said, it’s vital the CEO of your company also sends a festive note to your entire workforce. A heartfelt thank you on email or video message from the top will make employees feel appreciated, part of a team and that their hard work has not gone unnoticed.
All Christmas gifts should also be personalised in some way, so employees don’t feel like their present is just a corporate gift that has simply been dished out with no thought or meaning.
1. Why should I give gifts to my employees?
Even if you have a good reward programme in place that recognises your workforce all year round, you should still give a gift to your employees at Christmas. A gift at the end of the year holds a lot of worth to staff. It symbolises a “well done”, “you made it” and “thank you for your hard work”.
Many employees will also take a break over the festive period and giving them a gift on their departure will make them feel valued. If you show your employees they are central to your workforce they are more likely to stay loyal. Fail to do this and you could risk losing your top talent in the New Year as they search for new challenges and an employer who offers better benefits.
2. How much should you spend on employee gifts?
There is no right or wrong answer, however staying under £50 means your Christmas gift can be a non-taxable trivial benefit. Many organisations don’t offer Christmas gifts as they don’t have a big budget to play with, but even a small gesture will be received well by your workforce. A small thank you is better than no thank you at all.
3. How can I make employee gifts special?
Personalisation is key when giving gifts to your employees. A gift card sent in the post with a generic note is not going to feel very inspiring. However, a gift card received with a personal message from your immediate boss thanking you for your hard work and dedication, is much more motivational. These notes will often be kept by your employees too to remind them of what they have achieved.
4. How can I send gifts to employees working from home?
If you have a remote employee, or workforce, they should not be forgotten when it comes to Christmas gifts. Even if they’re not seeing gifts being given, they will hear about these gifts through colleague chatter. The easiest way to send Christmas gifts to employees working from home is by sending an eGift or digital reward. These can be sent in the form of multi-retailer vouchers that enable your employees to choose their own gift from popular retailers, restaurants and experiences. eGifts can also be easily personalised with individual messages from the employee’s direct manager and CEO.
If you’d like more ideas or support with your Christmas gifts this year, fill out the form to the right and one of our team will be in touch.