Maintaining an engaged workforce with an adequate employee reward has been more important than ever over the last 18 months. Businesses have been under immense pressure to keep the doors open. In amongst the turmoil, it’s easy to forget that employees too were navigating the impact of COVID on their personal and professional lives. Their jobs were made more challenging by the shift to remote working, which created new barriers and left teams feeling disconnected. 

Given the stress of recent months, it is important that employers give employees the recognition they deserve after all their hard work. Employees make up the heart of any business so keeping them motivated is the key to continued success, as we move out of the turmoil of the last year. The question is – what can be the proper employee reward?

Try a little gratitude

Sadly at present, 1 in 3 employees state that the pandemic has weakened their relationship with their employer. The same number also claim that they aren’t receiving the acknowledgement their ongoing efforts deserve. Turning around this state of affairs should be top of mind for businesses. Simple acts of gratitude are a powerful tool that can help improve relationships. In fact, a recent One4all study found that 68% of respondents would be loyal to their employer if they were regularly thanked for their efforts.

When it comes to incentivising teams, a little recognition goes a long way. Rewarding little and often is a great way to let staff know that you appreciate their work as it happens. Something as simple as a gift code can help make staff feel valued and appreciated. What’s more, if the value of the employee reward is up to £50, it is categorised under HMRC’s trivial benefits tax break. This costs less for employers and means that employees get to see the full amount.

The gift of choice as employee reward

Rewards and incentives are an impactful way to motivate employees; 80% of employees would choose additional benefits over a pay rise, according to research by Glassdoor. Meaning that cash is no longer king.

When it comes to rewards, some companies have a habit of defaulting to offering cash. The problem with this is that employees often see cash bonuses as a part of their compensation package, not an extra reward. Almost a third of employees also admit to spending cash rewards on everyday items such as bills, which decreases the feel-good, ‘treat’ factor.

This is where digital gift cards come into their own; gift card purchases are more memorable and create a long-lasting reminder of achievement. COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of gift cards, with 43% of people using them more frequently than before the pandemic began. Businesses can capitalise on this trend, which enables them to provide choice and flexibility through cards such as One4all as part of a reward strategy.

Happy employees, happy business

Employees have been under more pressure than ever during the pandemic. And they are a critical asset as businesses look to recover. Keeping them motivated should be a priority for businesses and a smart reward and incentive programme needs to sit at the heart of this. If businesses can keep their unsung heroes motivated and engaged this can lead to a happier, more productive workforce.

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