Sarah Chesterton, Sainsbury’s Business Direct, looks at what festive reward employees want


We all know that Christmas is the season of good will to all men and therefore the perfect time to show your staff how much you appreciate them; thanking them for their hard work and loyalty whilst gearing them up for the year ahead.

But what is the best staff reward to give them this Christmas? Cash seems like the obvious staff reward, allowing employees to spend their reward on whatever they choose. But is cash always the best option?

Well perhaps not. Cash incentives and bonuses often get swallowed up by personal bills or get added to an employees’ salary and therefore go unnoticed, especially during expensive times of the year, like Christmas.

A Gift Card on the other hand is a reward that works really hard –

  1. First, it provides an instant acknowledgement of a job well done when 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 this Christmas, rather than simply giving them a cash option.

Best of Both Worlds

Supermarket Gift Cards have also grown in popularity as a Christmas staff reward, perhaps due to the tough financial climate we’ve experienced over the last few years? On the one hand a Supermarket Gift Card can be used to help the family budget work harder and stretch further when spent on food for Christmas lunch and essentials like Christmas wrapping paper and cards. Or alternatively Gift Card recipients 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 their employees the wonderful gift of choice, at such an expensive time of the year.

Memories to Last a Lifetime

Experiential and Ethical Gift Cards are also growing in popularity enabling 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.

Making Savings

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 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.

Gift Cards 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

Cash may seem like the obvious Christmas staff reward and there will always be an employee who would prefer to receive Cash this Christmas.

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.

Contact Information:

Sainsbury’s Business Direct

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