It may seem a long way off, but it’s worth thinking now about the perfect reward to give staff during the festive season, Sarah Chesterton at Sainsbury’s Business Direct gives helpful hints of the best way to reward staff at Christmas

Sarah sainsburys

The festive season is a great time to reward your employees with a gift – something that suitably thanks them for all their hard work and loyalty whilst gearing them up for the year ahead. But what should that all important gift be?

The obvious answer that springs to mind is cash - who wouldn’t want a handful of cash at Christmas so you can spend it on whatever you like? Well think again, cash incentives and bonuses often get swallowed up by personal bills, disappear into Christmas spending or get added to an employees’ salary and therefore go unnoticed… which is exactly what you don’t want your Christmas gift to do.

A Gift Card on the other hand works three times as hard as simply giving your staff cash…


1. Firstly, it provides an instant acknowledgement of a job well done the minute they are given the Gift Card

2. Secondly when they go to spend the Gift Card, they have to go outside their daily routine to spend it, reminding them of why they received it in the first place.

3. And thirdly, it gives the person spending the Gift Card some sort of memory or positive association between the reward and the employer.

These three reasons alone make a Gift Card a far more effective way of engaging staff at Christmas.

Gift of choice

For many years Gift Cards have been referred to as the gift of choice as they can be spent on anything the recipient wishes. On the one hand a gift card can be used to help the family budget stretch further when spent on food for Christmas lunch and essentials like Christmas wrapping paper and cards. Or alternatively employees can treat themselves to larger ticket items like a bottle of Champagne or perhaps even a new iPad or TV, to watch all those Christmas films on - giving them the gift of choice, at such an expensive time of the year.

Experiences last forever…

Experiential and Ethical Gift Cards are growing in popularity as Christmas Gifts as they enable employees to make the most of their precious spare time or feel like they are making a difference. The long-lasting benefits of using a Gift Card in this way, is that employees will always associate the memory of the experience day or item they buy with your business, and that association is so important to staff morale and motivation.

More bang for your buck!

Another benefit of using Gift Cards over giving cash, is that employers can also make savings by bulk buying cards. Most card suppliers offer substantial discounts when buying a high volume of gift cards. Which means that giving a gift card can also work out cheaper than giving the cash equivalent. This is an attractive prospect in the current financial climate when budgets are tight.

Another benefit with gift cards is that they are easy to administer and take delivery of. They can be reloaded remotely, allowing them to be sent out without any value on them, guarding against theft and avoiding secure delivery charges for companies. This function also means that additional rewards can be topped up remotely by the provider, as and when the employer wants to issue a reward.

Other advantages include the management of cards by employees, who can often manage their cards online – checking their balance, transaction history – with the ability to cancel their cards if lost or stolen.

In Summary

So what is the perfect staff reward this Christmas? Cash may seem like the obvious answer, however, there is much evidence to suggest that using Gift Cards is a far more effective method for Christmas staff rewards; not only is it practical, offers huge choice for the recipient, and can offer cost savings to businesses.

But most importantly it helps to create a memory or positive association between the reward and the employer (not possible with cash) and it is this association that helps engage and motivate staff for the year ahead, which is the ultimate goal of a Christmas staff reward.

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