Magic moments to optimise employee motivation

uploaded on 10 October 2023

As employers put plans in place to drive employee performance it’s important to consider how to motivate staff throughout the year and not just specific calendar events.


With employee performance a top priority for employers, HR professionals are planning ways to increase and sustain employee motivation. While research shows that employers who value staff have higher levels of staff retention, engagement and motivation, a common mistake is to rely on just a few points in the calendar year to show appreciation. Typically, this means a focus on end of year, summer party and the annual performance review.

Seasonal celebrations, a pay rise or bonus time will provide an initial spike in employee motivation, but this effect soon dissipates as employees return to business as usual. Organisations that want to drive the business benefits of staff recognition throughout the year will need to have a plan to continually motivate employees.

Creating a year-round recognition and reward plan can feel daunting. Although many opportunities are low or no cost, plans will be subject to financial scrutiny. Added to which, for plans to work, line managers need to be on board and understand the business rationale behind them. HR can stand confident in their plans using the following process.

Creating a year-round recognition plan

Start by identifying where you have a need to boost performance or recognise loyalty. We encourage our customers to think about any performance dips they might have or those optimum moments in the employee lifecycle.

Typically, in the current recruitment climate, employers are looking for ways to boost staff retention, bolster their employer brand to support talent attraction, improve and sustain year-round performance, as well as incentivise staff to meet targets for specific campaigns.

Next, identify opportunities to reinforce a sense of belonging throughout the year. In addition to birthdays and traditional holidays these might include life events such as exam success, moving to a new house, celebrating a civil partnership or marriage, welcoming a new addition to the family, wishes to get well soon, and long service awards. Use this list as a starting point to map out the touchpoints to recognise and reward staff throughout the year. Plus, why not add in additional opportunities specific to your company, workforce, or geographical region?

This will provide you with a list of opportunities to optimise motivation and performance throughout the year. Next map out how best to use these opportunities to reinforce positive behaviours known to drive business success.

To get you started here’s a list of our ten favourite magic moments to thank staff.


10 magic moments to thank staff


  1. Recruitment Referral
    In a competitive recruitment market encouraging employees to refer potential candidates is a win-win situation that can save employers a significant amount of money in recruitment agency fees. On the appointment of a suggested candidate, employers can show their gratitude for the recommendation with vouchers and social recognition. In turn this motivates other employees to actively participate in the recruitment process.

  2. Long-Service Awards:
    At a time when retention and recruitment is a challenge for most employers, holding on to good stuff is imperative. Longer serving staff have critical skills, experience, and knowledge to share with newer staff. By signalling the value leaders place on the retention of experience, other staff are motivated others to aspire to long-term service.

  3. Suggestion Schemes
    Employees often have valuable insights and suggestions for improving company processes. Implementing their ideas and acknowledging their contributions not only fosters a sense of belonging and motivation but keeps the ideas flowing.

  4. Monthly/Quarterly/Annual Employee Awards
    Roll out the red carpet and regularly celebrate employees’ achievements through awards and recognition ceremonies.

  5. Financial Support Payments
    During the cost-of-living crisis employees really appreciate their employer providing financial assistance for everyday purchases such as lunch, groceries, energy bills as well as big ticket items including personal development, health, and wellbeing. These can be a powerful way to motivate employees as it not only helps them achieve personal health goals but also shows the company's commitment to their well-being.

  6. Christmas Gifts and Bonuses
    Encourage staff to finish the year strong and make a fast start in the New Year. Staff will leave a traditional office party on a high, but for a longer lasting impact, give them a thoughtful gift or voucher that enables them to choose something they really want and can look forward to spending.

  7. Sales Incentives
    Get a bit of healthy competition going among sales teams and encourage them to hit targets with performance-based rewards. Done well, a sales incentive scheme reminds staff of their hard work each time they redeem their reward.

  8. Employee Rewards
    A reward system for achieving a specific target or milestone significantly boosts employee motivation. Here the trick is to offer rewards that cater to as wide a range of employee preferences as possible.

  9. Recognition Programs: Encourage staff to repeat behaviour known to result in successful business outcomes with a formal recognition program linked to specific values and behaviours. The discipline of giving daily, weekly, monthly recognition helps to nurture a culture of appreciation that motivates staff to perform.

  10. Personal Milestones: celebrating birthdays and life events such as becoming new parents, or weddings creates a sense of belonging. Thoughtful gifts or gestures during these special moments show that the company cares about the individuals behind the job titles.

Say thank you to your employees in several ways with Edenred

To find out more about ways to say ‘thank you’ to your employees with our quick and easy reward and recognition solutions book a free demo.

Latest Resources


Edenred in the public sector

At Edenred we’ve been supporting the UK public sector for over 20 years. Our new guide - available to download now – will help you to understand all our services and solutions you can use to facilitate your own public social programmes.

Read more
Case Study

How AECOM increased end of year gift voucher redemption to 92%

Discover why AECOM chose Select from Reward Gateway | Edenred to transform its end of year gift process.

Read more

Guest Blog: Tusker talks affordable salary sacrifice car schemes in a costly world

In this guest blog, Tusker explains how you can provide this sought-after benefit and make savings with a car scheme.

Read more