Christmas is a glimmer of light for many employees as it marks the end of the year and the start of a festive break. While there sadly won’t be any parties or offices decorated with tinsel to look forward to in 2020, it’s important businesses don’t write Christmas off and instead make new memories and traditions.
Latest research illustrates how the pandemic has taken its toll on workforce wellness. 81% of employees have described themselves as having a low state of mind and 64% said their work-stress levels have increased. The results confirm a need for businesses to lift spirits, and Christmas presents the perfect opportunity to inject fun and spread festive cheer amongst peers.
Christmas related activities for a remote workforce could include home desk decorating challenges, black-tie award nights via Zoom or Christmas gifts for employees. Whatever you decide to do, make sure your business ends the year showing appreciation, understanding and gratitude to support your employees and help give their happiness levels a boost.
What is a good Christmas gift for employees?
When it comes to purchasing staff Christmas gifts it’s important to get it right so your best intentions don’t go amiss. A good Christmas gift is something that provides many opportunities to make your employee smile. For example, a gift card provides at least ‘three smile touch points’. It makes the recipient feel happy when they receive it, spend it, and when they enjoy using or experiencing what they bought with it.
Gone are the days when a cash bonus added to your wages is enough. Studies have shown while cash bonuses will give employees a boost when they are received, the money is often spent on bills and therefore the motivational feeling is quickly lost.
Other gifts that are good for employees are those that offer an experience. For example, a meal out, a relaxing overnight stay or an adrenaline type activity. Experiences can offer your staff a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you, the employer, can be the person to provide that opportunity, then that positive memory will stay with your employee for a very long time.
Most popular Christmas gifts for employees
Our ‘12 days of Christmas shopping forecast’ research shows that Christmas gifts employees want are those that give them choice. While it is nice to receive surprise gifts, people prefer picking presents based on things they need and will use.
We’ve collated our insights to share with you the top Christmas gifts your employees really want this year. It’s important to note that these presents can be adapted to suit all budgets. Christmas 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
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. This is the reason why Christmas food vouchers are a popular gift. Employees either use them to upgrade on their Christmas Day meal or treat themselves to their favourite indulgence or tipple.
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.
A shopping gift card that enables employees to choose where they spend it gives them complete control over their reward. 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 tangible card or an eGift card 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 makes people smile.
5. Restaurant vouchers
As a nation, eating out is one of our top hobbies. So, why not give your employees even more satisfaction from their dining experience at Christmas by footing 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 tangible gift 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.
Should Christmas gifts come from the boss?
Once you’ve decided what Christmas gift to give your employees, the next step is deciding how to hand them out to your workforce.
Christmas gifts should ideally come from the employee’s direct line manager. 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 has simply been dished out with no thought or meaning.
Other common questions asked about Christmas gifts for employees
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 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.
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.
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.
How can I send gifts to employees working from home?
Remote workforces 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.