End-of-year recognition: why your people want it (even if they don’t expect it)

uploaded on 29 October 2019

Man smiling in Christmas jumper

End-of-year recognition: why your people want it (even if they don’t expect it)

Not so long ago, Christmas reward was as much of a fixture as the annual party in office life: a mark of appreciation for your all your people’s efforts through the year.

Today, it’s not unusual to question the idea of end-of-year gift for employees.

“A tradition that’s had its day”, “there’s no place for it in a multicultural workplace”, “people just don’t appreciate it anymore”: these are all arguments I have heard for doing away with an annual act of recognition.

The truth is none of them stack up.

Reward matters

Deep down, we all know that everyone appreciates a gift, particularly if it is given as a gesture of thanks, whether that it’s from friends, family or a manager.

What’s more, whether it is for birthdays, leaving presents, marriage or the annual secret Santa, gifting is still a core part of office life: it humanises our work places which are otherwise governed by targets, timesheets and rules.

For sure, there are plenty of organisations that can’t give Christmas gifts – schools and wider public sector fall into that group. But for the rest of us, the end of the year is the perfect time to celebrate the hard work, teamwork and times when people have gone that extra mile and gone out of their way to help the workplace tick over.

Getting it right

One of the golden rules of gifting that we’re taught from an early age is that it’s the thought that counts. Every employer that plans Christmas reward needs to know that applies as much to the giver as the recipient.

Although employees don’t expect big ticket items at the end of year – according to Edenred’s research into Christmas Rewards £21-50 is the right amount – the wrong gift can backfire.

Today, blanket gifts of alcohol, chocolate or food won’t be right for everyone for cultural, religious or personal reasons. What the majority (70%) of employees want is choice, and in a world where e-vouchers are common place that’s easy to offer.

Recognition matters

The end-of-year thanks should also never be just about the gift: individual acknowledgment for a job well done is critical. 

Planning what you want to say by way of appreciation, who you want to say it and how you will say it should all be part of your planning for end-of-year reward.

This kind of personalisation used to be time-consuming when managers had to sign and write cards. Today that’s easy to do through your own digital recognition platform or by asking a specialist in recognition to do the fulfilment for you.

Done the right way, end-of-year recognition helps cement the relationship between employer and employee and remind individuals that their discretionary effort and support is always appreciated.

Ask any employee what they think and I’m sure they’ll tell you it’s a tradition worth keeping.

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