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How to use Christmas reward to motivate your people for better business performance

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Giving employees and the people you do business with a Christmas gift may be a longstanding tradition but that doesn’t stop many businesses getting it consistently wrong.

This is the insight from Edenred’s Christmas reward research, which has found one in ten employees have received inappropriate gifts from their employers in the past. We also found that around a third of Christmas reward budget goes to waste. And because many leave it too late to get something organised, they fail altogether to use the opportunity around Christmas to give a small gesture of thanks.


It’s a fact that most employers could do with rethinking how they approach Christmas reward and recognition. Here, based on our research, are four mistakes to avoid…and some ideas on how to get it right.

Same thing every year

It might be easy to place the repeat order every November for the wine or chocolates you give every year, but the law of diminishing returns applies to the enthusiasm with which your employees greet your predictable reward.

To make an impact, do something different and do something new. Don’t do things just because they are easy, and remember that today employees expect personalisation as a given.

The invisible cash reward

In the days when some extra cash in the wage packet for Christmas actually meant an extra note in a brown wage envelope, this type of reward may have had some sort of impact. 

Back then it was easy to squirrel the notes away and save them for something special. These days cash in the wage packet is the ultimate invisible reward. It lands in the bank account at the busiest time of year and is forgotten as soon as the wage slip is filed away. For reward with impact, keep it away from the wage slip.

No thank you

The idea of an end-of-year reward is to underline your recognition of a job well done - it’s all about the ‘thank you’. Fail to say thanks and your investment is wasted. Your gifts may be recognising something but your employees will be in the dark as to what and why that is. Maximise the impact of your end-of-year reward by making sure every employee gets a thank you. The thought really does count.

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A third of Christmas reward gets lost, given away, or thrown in the bin. The reason for that is the wrong gifts get given to the wrong people at the wrong time. Christmas reward needs proper planning if you are going to do it right. Make your plans early to have everything in place and ready to go before the end of November.

Christmas reward is easy to get wrong, but it’s just as easy to get right if you take the time to think ahead. So, don’t wait for the mince pies to appear in your local supermarket to know it’s time make your plans for Christmas get on the case today. 

You can read more about how to do this in our guide, which also contains all of the research - ‘Are you Christmas Future, or Christmas Past?’ (click here to download).